i’m not an athlete whatsoever. i played two years of jv football, one year of varsity baseball, and way too many years of rec league basketball yelling at the refs like i was lebron james. it’s safe to say i don’t have an athletic bone in my body, yet at this point in time i still love to play pickup basketball.
i consider myself a poor mans marco bellenelli. a player that takes radical shots and plays minimal defense. it’s the perfect composite of a pickup basketball player because who really gives a fuck at the end of the day.
i play pickup in two main places. the suburbs and north philadelphia. two opposite ends of the spectrum, and two completely different games that are filled with completely different characters. in the ‘burbs you can call a foul and you may or may not get called a pussy. in north philly you don’t call fouls because you might get shot. it’s a big difference.
lets meet the characters i’ve encountered playing pickup basketball.
the guy that calls a ton of fouls – this is clearly a suburb thing. this guy is softer than a pancake and has minimal friends. he often cries when he is alone. stop calling fouls fuck face.
the dude that talks to himself – this guy is currently playing in game 7 of the finals (in his head) and every little thing matters. the words, “i have to hit that shot!” and “i need to slide on defense” routinely come out of his mouth along with a slew of other phrases related to the play. this guy is annoying as fuck. comes in both suburb and north philly form.
the biggest motherfucker on the court – this guy is usually an absolute tank of a human being. it doesn’t mean he’s the tallest, but god damn he is thicccc. trying to grab a board on this guy is like going up for a rebound against a king sized mattress. this guy often has a shitty shot, but his peak performance makes up for it so he often gets garbage layups. suburb and philly versions apply.
the tall guy that doesn’t play basketball – honestly, fuck this guy. usually, this dude clocks in over 6’2, but he played like tennis or water polo in highschool. fucking waste of height. you can throw the ball inside to this guy every time, but he just doesn’t have enough skill to finish. he also grabs a ton of rebounds but god forbid you let him dribble. he looks decent in pickup games, but he should be much better than he looks. only a suburb version of this fucker.
lebron james – yeah, this dude is just nice at ball. he will cross you up and hit a shoot in your grill. then he’ll steal your bitch because he’s probably in great shape. just relax, man. both versions apply.
the guy that came as another guys friend – yeah this dude doesn’t want to be here. yet, his boy came and he didn’t want to be a loner so he rolled with. this guy often doesn’t touch the ball and is kind of a waste of space on the floor. it’s great to guard this guy on defense because it’s ultimately a break for you. both versions.
the guy balling on his lunch break – this is only a north philly thing. i kid you not, yesterday and older man pulled up to the park in his work clothes, ripped off his dockers and dress shoes, threw on gym shorts, and just hopped in the next game. he ran about 2 games and then headed back to work. utterly wild move to break a sweat like that and then proceed to go back to work. i respect it, though.
the kid in a jersey, arm sleeves, leg sleeves, and fresh kicks – this kid thinks he’s kobe. he often sucks dick at basketball but will hit the occasional lucky shot. i usually want to punch this kid in the throat but that would be a bad look because he’s probably a little slow. anyway, i’ve actually seen this in north philly and the ‘burbs.
the guy calling plays – “cut, cut!” often comes out of his mouth along with a million other things nobody gives a fuck about. look dude, i’m just trying to throw up shots and get some cardio in, so fuck off. both versions apply.
the guy going way too hard – this dude often wears a knee or ankle brace and is aggressively sweating. he also is going 100 mph and probably played football in high school because he drives to the hoop like a battering ram. it honestly just isn’t fun to play with this dude, and the odds are you’re going to get hurt. avoid this guy. both versions apply.
i could go on for days about this, but i think i’ll stop here and pretend to listen to my professor.
-not, not true.