There are at least one or two of these guys in every pickup league: Hackers. They suck the fun out of the game the way Michael Bay sucked the soul out of the Transformers movie. The following list describes the commandments by which these jerktards operate. To provide you with the proper perspective, each commandment is accompanied by its rating on the Basketbawful Douchebag Scale (TM). Not familiar with the BDS? Here's the scale, with examples, where 1 is the lowest rating and 10 is the highest.

1 = Ross from "Friends"
2 = Scrappy Doo
3 = Your high school valedictorian
4 = Buddies who don't buy a round when you go out
5 = Paris Hilton
6 = The French
7 = The New England Patriots (prior to Tom Brady's injury)
8 = Kobe Bryant
9 = Tom Cruise
10 = Clay Bennett

Now, on to the commandments:

1. Thou shall slap, grab and hold at every opportunity: Hackers often take immense pride in their ability to play "defense." And, indeed, it is often difficult to score against Hackers, but not because they adhere to fundamental defensive principles like moving their feet and keeping a hand in the offensive player's shot pocket. It's because they've usually got a paw on your back and a knee up your ass. If you're holding the ball, they'll slap your arms. If you beat them on a drive, they'll bump you and maybe grab your jersey. If you try to move and cut without the ball, they'll try to hold or push you. Basically, it's like ballroom dancing with an angry, autistic octopus. With rabies. BDS Rating: 4

2. Thou shall protest every call: There must be a hospital somewhere that provides specialized lobotomies in which the human sense of shame and basic grasp on reality is surgically removed. I can offer no more reasonable explanation than that for the fact that Hackers believe, with every fiber of their twisted being, that they are completely and wholly incapable of committing a foul (except in some rare circumstances; see Commandment 5 below). They will moan, they will groan, they will call both your intelligence and (more often) honor into question. Furthermore, they have perfected the frustrated headshake and incredulous look. If these actions don't make you want to spend the rest of your life punching them in the genitals, it's only because you don't have hands. BDS Rating: 6

3. Thou shall call terrible fouls thyself: It's bad enough they have to strenously object every time a foul is called on them, but you cannot touch these people. Looking at them harshly during a jump shot will result in a shriek of "Got one!" They are also the undisputed Kings of the embarrassment don't even bother trying to block their shot, because it can't be done cleanly, no matter how cleanly you do it. But Hackers take this superdickery to an even more insideous level in that they make calls that are never, ever called in pickup ball, like offensive fouls, three seconds, and palming. Why, I've even seen these guys call over-the-line violations during inbounds plays. In many cases, these people spend more time officiating the game than playing it. And it that doesn't make you want to stomp their genitals into paste, check your pulse. You might be dead. BDS Rating: 7

4. Thou shall mumble under thy breath: Although most Hackers are supreme idiots, even they realize -- either through experience or some primal instinct -- that they can't argue every foul called against them, or call every foul they imagine. So, in those rare cases where they "swallow their whistles," they instead try to sow the seed of doubt by turning away, lowering their head and mumbling something so that everybody in the gym can hear it. "Man, that guy travels every time. " "Jesus Christ, that was a foul." "Boy, I should have called that one." "Oh, so that's how they play here." "Well fine, I'm really going to foul him next time." So on and so forth. The goal of these utterances is two-fold: To get into their opponent's head and to make the other players believe that there's something wrong with that person and not the Hacker himself. I know it sounds crazy, but it totally works. Once people here that someone "travels all the time" for instance, people start calling that person for steps every time they make a good move. I've been victimized by this several times. It shouldn't work, because Hackers don't have much clout, and yet it almost always does. Probably because some of the pickup players aren't familar with the Hacker, and others get so gassed they don't remember who said it, they just remember it was said...and therefore must be true. BDS Rating: 3

5. Thou shall commit "flagrant fouls": The official NBA rule book defines a flagrant foul as one "where unnecessary and/or excessive contact occurs." Well, that's what a Hacker does when he's been beaten so spectacularly that he can't do anything but foul in a very obvious way. Example 1: You're running down the court on a fast break and they grab you in a bear hug. Example 2: You beat them off the dribble for what should be an easy layup, but they grab your arm and pull you around as hard as they can. Example 3: You work your way to an easy shot and they hit you as hard as they can while trying to make it look like an attempted shot block. To cover for the blatant nature of this action, they will usually call the foul for you and pretend as though they're sorry. But they aren't, because see, most people who are truly remorseful for something don't repeat that thing. Hackers, on the other hand, pull these types of shenanigans over and over again. BDS Rating: 10

6. Thou shall woefully overestimate thine own abilities: Hackers can never quite grasp the true level of their talent (which is usually exceptionally low). They typically believe, very sincerely, that they are among the best players on the floor...if not the best. As a consequence they pass rarely and shoot without remorse. These guys lack conscience to the degree that a search of their basement or crawl space would probably lead to the discovery of multiple decomposing bodies. I'm not saying for certain that every Hacker is a heartless serial killer, but if local cheerleaders start disappearing, the investigation should start with him.

Hackers are exceptionally damaging to teams that are trying to play sound, fundamental basketball. See, the opposing team knows the Hacker will gun from anywhere and everywhere, so they just lay off and leave him open from long distance. Then, if you get double-teamed and pass to the open man, you will be betrayed by fate because the Hacker is always the open man. BDS Rating: 3 (under normal circumstances) or 10 (in game point scenarios)

7. Thou shall disparage thy teammates: The flipside of a Hacker's bizarre and inexplicable megalomania is the condescending manner in which they treat their teammates. They question their 'mates shot selection and complain loudly when someone makes a mistake or fails to pass them the ball when they're "open" (which is always). They'll try to coach their team while mocking them openly (and often loudly) to members of the opposing team. ("Can you believe these guys?" "Man these guys are awful." "They never give me the ball." etc.) Hackers are the pickup basketball equivalent of the lockerroom cancer. BDS Rating: 5

8. Thou shall exercise creative scorekeeping: Since I don't have the power to read minds nor the authority to administer painful torture to their genitals, it's impossible to accurately determine whether Hackers are deviously cunning or simply ignorant. Whichever the case, scoring "irregularities" tend to follow them the way a Secret Service agent would tail the president's daughter at a frat party. And, of course, the mistakes always seem to favor their team. Whether they're adding a point or two to their score or subtracting a point or two from yours, Hackers always seem to take advantage of the occasional lull in which the score is not called out for several possessions. The typical strategy is to then call out the new, adjusted score just loud enough for a few people to hear, so that when the inevitable argument breaks out, they can say, "Hey, I just called out the score a minute ago." And sure enough, those few people who heard them will grudgingly admit, "Yeah, I did here him call it" even though they won't be totally sure if it was correct.

Best case scenario, somebody was smart enough to keep track of the real score and is beligerent enough to out-scream the Hacker. Worst case, your team just gets screwed. Although, more often than not, some middle-ground compromise will be reached ("Let's just call it 9-8" or "Let's say it's tied at 12-12"). BDS Rating: 8

Note: Think I missed a Commandment? Email me or leave it in the comments. If our panel of experts agrees, we'll add it to the list.

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Blogger Unknown said...
Thou shall overreact when pulling a move.

When they do occasionally score or make a sound defensive play, they tend to yell and pump their fists and trash talk. Usually they are the only ones to do so.

There is also the non-hack variety of BD's. Yes they are better than you, and yes they tell you so every g'damn second. And when you pull something, they attribute it to luck or the fact they weren't in the vicinity. They don't do this to trash talk, because they keep behaving this way when the game is long over, or even you meet them somewhere in some non-basketball setting. And somehow, these players always tend to have curly hair.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You forgot on number 6: The scream after every missed shot "What is wrong with me today! I usually make those!"

As for 1 - I can't remember how any shot to the nuts I've taken while boxing someone out so they can get the rebound. It's always the guy who is too old to play but won't realize it yet.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
On #6: Someone actually won a Nobel Prize for this idea.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I love it! I love all of it! I LOLed!


I know this is reminiscent of the high school valedictorian, but,
1) It's "thou shalt." Subjective.
2) You typed "DBS rating" instead of "BDS rating" for your ten commandments.

And I'm going to request that Rachel from friends be inserted instead of "the French." Because, frankly, Rachel was a bitch. Not nearly as bad as Ross, who makes every scientist ever born cringe, but a bitch nonetheless.

And while the French, as a generalization, can be quite irritating, can the same not be said of, erm, Americans? Because, trust me, you haven't cringed until you've been in Europe and heard an incredibly loud Texas accent inquire "Parlez vous English?!?!" I swear to God that woman's question must have peeled paint off the Eiffel Tower. In subsequent years, when annoyed by the French, I remind myself that they have not cornered the market on pig-headed obtuseness.

Besides, while annoying, they also brought us lingerie, French food, French wine, and pornography. So let's not be too harsh on the French, OK? Rachel is a suitable target for ire. Though I'd accept Chandler-when-not-on-coke.

Blogger Five Pound Bag said...
Thou shalt wear an excess of protective gear. Hackers come to the game with a duffel full of ankle braces, knee pads, shooting sleeves and two pairs of Rec Specs (one indoor, one outdoor) and spend ten minutes putting all that crap on while explain why they need it ("yeah, strained my Achilles a couple years ago when I was fighting through a screen - total moving pick, had to call the foul on that - but I can't change the way I play, it's the right way, fundamentals man, fundamentals..." etc. etc.).

Anonymous Anonymous said...
No 9: Thou shalt always have "next" regardless of when thou arrivest at thy gym. Upon losing, as it was clearly not thy fault, thou shalt have "next" anyway.

No 10: Thou shalt blame the basketball, gym floor, rim, backboard, teammates, Sarah Palin, or anything but thyself for egregious errors thou hast committed. Even in the case of a blatant double-dribble; it was not thy fault.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
2 more:

Corollary to #6: Thou shalt shit-talk incessantly, even when thou hast done nothing to improve thy team's lot. Hackers are often the ones talking the most shit, acting the most smug after winning, basking in a glow of superiority, even though they've scored one basket all game. On a cherry-pick layup. Which rolled around the rim three times.

They're often also the one guarding you, but seem to not notice how you've been lighting them up all game.

2: Thou shalt call offensive fouls on the other team. Yes, I've seen it happen.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
to anacondahl:

according to your link, they won an "Ig nobel" prize, which is vastly different from the actual thing.

Blogger m. Alana said...
12: Thou shalt not ball on hot asphalt without wearing thine Melo's, because if thou jumps unshod thine soles will be shredded up for like a week, verily.

Oh, wait. That's just me.

Blogger BJ said...
Would injury-related fuckery count? The guy who (loudly and repeatedly) stresses that he's playing a month after slipping on some ice and straining his knee; includes calling timeouts to fiddle with Ace bandages and swallow aspirins. Square it if they sneer at anyone who actually does go down with an injury, and cube it if that anyone is their own teammate or is hurt by a hard foul they committed.

Blogger Sky P said...
Ridiculously awesome post!

There's a guy that just started playing with us that embodies most of these traits.

He's not bad on offense, but his sole contribution on defense is to intentionally foul because he can't keep his guy in front of him. And he feels this is a perfectly acceptable course of action, every single time, regardless of the fact that it's really easy to get injured when he does that.

Thankfully I subscribe to the Charles Barkley school of basketball, and next time he tries that on me I'll make sure he feels it.

I don't have time to put it as elegantly as you, but here's something else that I think should be added to the list: You made mention of the fact that they'll continually criticize their team-mates, and this is an extension of that.

Part of being a good basketball player is recognizing who you are playing with, and what their particular talents are, sometimes these hack specialists will throw a crazy "and-1" style pass and it'll bounce off the intented recievers hands and go out of bounds. Then the specialist will loudly curse the intended recipient, even though he should have known that the person doesn't have anywhere near the hands needed to catch a pass like that, and it is in fact the passer's turnover. This drives me up a wall. I don't care if the pass was right on the money or not, if the guy cant catch that kind of pass and you know it, why then did you do it? You can basically call it a turnover before you even pass it! Then the guy who's hands it bounced off of, his confidence is down for the remainder of the game, mistakenly believing it to be his fault, and is of no use whatsoever to the rest of his team! Ok that was long, but do your magic and add it to the list.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@ Wormboy-

Please- the texan in Paris is old-hat and cliche. And besides, there is nothing wrong with speaking with an American accent- even if it's Texan. And most of the time if you try to speak a foreign language in Europe, they will reply in (often horrible) English just to show how smart they are, so why bother trying if you're only there for a few days/weeks? I'm just sayin'....

I have seen French act just as offensively while abroad. Most notably in South America, where a group of coked-up French douchenozzles were harassing some Brazillian travelers for drinking "bad wine out of the bottle". This was in a youth hostel, mind you, where you are SUPPOSED to drink bad wine out of a bottle in the company of foreigners and have fun- not get a cultural hair up your ass and act all indignant while visiting somebody else's country (and completely skied up).

The french invented porno? What? Proof?

And while they may have invented lingerie (at least I'm convinced they invented the word), it was Sisquo who brought the thong to the far corners of the earth and completely replaced all other forms of female undergarment.

Let's hear it for Sisquo!

Anyway, if it were me, the French would have been moved up to number 9 on the list.

Watch any Olympics? They were blatantly talking shit to the US Men's swim team before the 400fr relay, then they choked in the last 5 yards of the race, losing to the very team they promised to "crush".

That is consistent with Commandment #6, my friend, which is where the frenchies are on the douchiness chart.

So, while you may enjoy champagne, berets, brie, and pasteurized milk, I think just as strong case can be made for the french being on that list as the US.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Can somebody photoshop that image to show Moses holding a basketball instead of the commandments? That would look like the most epic dunk since that really long-titled one that Darrell Dawkins threw down back in the day.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
On number 5: Nothing makes me want to slaughter an entire family more than the DB put plays the "Bruce Bowen defense" and puts their foot under you on a jump shot. Maybe cause I f'd up my ankle playing ball, I'm extra sensitive about that, but really want to "Tom Brady" anyone who does that and gets pissed at you for calling them on it.

Also anyone who pulls on your shoulders to prevent to from scoring a putback should ahve their children fed to them in a bowl of chili.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I admit, I used to intentional foul guys if the game was close in pickup ball. I didn't realize how much of a douche I was at the time.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I think this post deserved a picture of Jim Carey playing basketball in The Cable Guy. Or even a link to the scene on youtube. Fitting, no?

*gets burned* "Oh, we are playing prison rules, ha?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I don't subscribe to the 'intentional-foul-as-defense" mindset that some people do. In fact, I very rarely see it at all. You've got to play with the same ballers all the time, and the last thing you want to get is a reputation for being a hacker and an asshole. That is, unless you like being an asshole and/or can willingly take the resulting dirty retribution fouls or cheap shots.

The only time that I can recall defending with that mindset was at a small 3-on-3 tournament, in which you were done after you lost. My teammates told me to give up no layups, and I obliged. This worked in the first game, which we won, but I sort of forgot about that policy in the second game. The guy I was defending was also a lot stronger than me. My excuse for this was that I barely ate anything that day, and I was sort of surprised I even made it through the first game.

Blogger Stephen Robbins said...
A few things . . .
I was playing today and we had a total gunner on our team--a guy who probably couldn't pick out his own teammates in a police line up because he's too busy shooting all the time.

Now, I don't mind having a gunner on my team if he's going to consistently hit open shots, or if he at least SEEMS like the kind of guy who might normally hit those shots. But this guy had a weird, funky release and zero all-around game. He kept klunking them off the backboard, and yelling things like "Damn it, I can't PLAY today!" He hangs his head in defeat, making no effort to rebound or defend. I'm sorry, maybe your shot isn't falling, but I'm pretty sure anyone with two working legs and a pulse can at least TRY to rebound and defend. If you can't hit a shot, trying locking down your guy on D, or boxing out.

Inevitably, by the way, these are the guys shouting for the ball at half court when you pull down a defensive board. Why are they at half court? Because they decided to walk back on D and that's as far as they got. It is my personal policy to NEVER PASS TO CHERRY PICKERS, no matter how wide open they are. I don't care if all we need is a basket to win, I'll just pretend like I don't see them.

Another personal pet peeve--I used to work out at the biggest gold's gym in north america (it's in Orem, Utah). There were some former BYU and UVSC players (Ronnie Price), along with other former JC guys who would play there, so occasionally you'd get some good games. There were also a LOT of not so good players who LOOKED like they would be good, but weren't. They were really good at shooting high volumes of low percentage shots, and NEVER PLAYING DEFENSE, then of course bitching about how horrible their teammates were.

Anyways, I would track down the guy who had "next" and ask, "Do you have five?" To which he'd reply, "Uuuuuh, yeeeeeah." Inevitably one of these guys from the losing team who "looked" like a good basketball player would end up playing on that team that supposedly already had five. That means basically that I had to sit out another game and walk around like a pathetic begger looking for whoever had the next "next."

It was just funny to me how there could be 20 people who'd been waiting for hours to play, but if a black guy walked in, the guy with next would find a place for him on his five man roster. And that's without ever having seen him play!! A lot of times the guy would end up being from Ghana or Mali or something, and not know how to play at all. Honestly, there is a lot of reverse racism when you are a white guy trying to get on a pick up team.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
As a Frenchman, I am a little annoyed regarding your targeting of us as a people. I am fairly certain the ratio of idiots and arrogant bastards is pretty equivalent in France and in the US, as in most countries around the world.
I think there is a large amount of jealousy following the wedding of TP and Eva.
Remember that the last wave of anti-frenchism came just before the US invaded Irak because we were against it. Just think about it.
Last thing, I do not think we invented pornography anymore than French fries...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
There are also those "moral hackers", who are usually streetballers or over-the-hill old-guys without good fundamentals, and can't comprehend how a skinny white guy with floppy blonde hair can get position every time, and make good intangable plays, so that they feel compelled to play dirty back. I once had a guy box me out past the 3 point line for the entire duration of our offence out of pure frustration. The thing is, he was a perfectly nice guy. I guess he used to be a better player, but he was getting fat and old. Maybe this is also part of no.6.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
What about the guy that constantly talks about how he "missed a shot he makes all the time," and he isn't lying. He really is the best player on the team, but he's having a rusty day or is genuinely pissed that shots that are not ill-advised aren't falling? Is he still a douche for expressing his true feelings?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
yes. man up and play defence

Blogger Lord Kerrance said...
As an addendum to #5, a lot of guys justify this because they "take care of you." For example, I was driving in for a layup past an overweight, immobial opponent last night. Instead of putting a hand in my face or moving with me for the block, he brought his one arm down across my forearms for the hard foul and then wrapped me up.

When I shot him a look, he said "I had to contest the shot, but at least I took care of you."

Take care of me by going for the ball or moving your feet.

Blogger Unknown said...
let me guess, the anon post to wormboy is by some non euro white guy. first, bbawful is just kidding and using stereotypes for humor. second, wormboy is right. there are as many obnoxious americans as snooty frenchmen. same goes for the chinese, argentinians, egyptians, indians, etc. doesn't matter where you go there are douches. just don't be one yourself and think you're better than "those" people.

and when you play ball, doesn't matter what color you are, play it the right way. i don't care if you're a 6-8 tall athletic black guy or 5-3 short mexican banger, play tough clean d, hustle for loose balls, move without the ball, set screens, pass to open teammates, etc.

as for commandment #5, i would say the only time i think it should be allowed is if it's a tied game, next point wins, everyone should understand that it's a "foul if you have to" situation. my group everyone knows each other anyway so we're not trying hurt the other guy but we should expect tight physical d and definitely a lot of incidental contact. and if you have to foul someone, do it before they actually go up for the shot so they wouldn't land on your foot or fall after the layup.

Blogger Brandon said...
I'll leave the wording of this commandment up to your litterary genius (love your blog, BTW).

But there is an undeniable law under the heavens that states that when a doucebag gets blocked or gets thier pocket picked, they suddenly turn it into supreme overdrive and run around frantically trying to re-steal or re-block from the very opponent who has embarrased them. This usually leads to them tripping and/or fouling. Frequently, it ends in an injury, where they limp off the court.

Note: This phenomenon can also be triggered by a blown lay-up.

Blogger Dunpizzle said...
Except for the claims that the hacker is usually low in talent, most of these rules describes Kobe.

He hacks, puts on a semi-Duncan face when whistled, throws his teammates under the bus, gets fouled everytime he gets the ball, mumbles whenever a call doesn't go his way, etc.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You can also add the guy who calls foul, but not loud enough and if a teammate gets the ball after everyone stops and scores, he pretends that he said "fuck" and not foul...and says that the basket is good.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I wanted to mention the other extreme to the example cited in the 5th commandment.

I play pick up ball in Korea, where the game is a lot less physical--on both ends.

There's an unspoken etiquette here that the defenders call the fouls--it's supposedly good manners. You admit to your own mistakes. Fine, whatever.

It gets to be a problem when these guys start calling fouls to stop potential baskets. I mean, ticky tack fouls. Bitch fouls that you'd get crucified for calling in the States.

One time, I beat someone on a cross. I was full step past them when they reached out and tapped me on my right arm (the ball was in my left) and called a foul. He even had the nerve to smile apologetically. And you couldn't even get mad, because he was being a good sport.

It's the most passive-aggressive thing I've ever seen.

It's a thousand times worse when you get out on the break and the defender sheepishly calls a foul from the other end of the court (which mirrors the whole punk-ass mentality of international teams fouling to stop the break instead of getting the hell back on D).

So my take is, if you're gonna call a foul, then make it a real foul. Go for the ball aggressively, and if you happen to foul, then so be it. Check the ball and move on.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
How about: "Though shalt, even after gross hacking and complaining, stop trying in the event of a game put out of reach and declare that they were never trying in the first place."

Blogger Drake said...
As for the "and one"s: are they considered fouls or not? I mean, when someone drives to the basket for an aggressive layup and they call out "and one", do they get the ball back if they miss? And if they make the layup, shouldn't the basket be discounted?

I think that once upon a time, somebody decided to create a pickup-ball foul call that would encompass embarrassing the defenders if his shot went in, and get a face-saving foul in the process if it didn't. From my recent pickup ball experiences, "and one" is no longer considered a foul: if you want to call a foul, either say "foul" or get hacked badly enough for others to say foul for you (either teammates or your defender).

Anonymous Anonymous said...
don't forget that hackers don't play defense, and if they are they are probably covering the wrong, which makes you cover his guy who is mostly the worst on the team, and then he gets schooled by the guy you were supposed to be covering.