By now, most (if not all) of you are probably familiar with how London street ball legend Stuart Tanner recently "hustled" Devin Harris in an abbreviated game of one-on-one. But here's the video anyway. I may never get tired of watching it.

This now-famous smack down has been explained in detail on Basketball 24/7 by Stu's brother Greg, who insists that they weren't hustling anybody. They were there to cover a court dedication ceremony for their site. That's why Stuart was wearing a sweater and jeans. What a dirty trickster, huh?

What should Tanner have done differently? Introduce himself? "Hello, Mr. Harris. I am London street ball legend Stuart Tanner. I once beat Tony Delk in one-on-one!" The fact is, Harris hustled himself. He saw a nondescript white dude dressed like he was on his way to a bar called something like The Yacht Club or The Uppity Scotsman and immediately assumed he could beat the guy. Easily. And he probably would have thought the same thing even if Tanner had been decked out in AND 1 gear and gold chains. (Maybe even more so.)

It's hard to fault Harris, because he probably had a 99.9 percent chance of being right. Still, this kind of thing isn't limited to showdowns between NBA players and street ballers. I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me, usually when I'm just shooting around or running drills at my gym. (Yes, I run drills.) The scenario is almost always the same: A young black man challenges me to one-on-one. He plays rather casually in the first game and loses badly. He ups the intensity in the second game, but still loses. This cycle continues until he becomes angry and/or disgusted and leaves. And I would estimate that I have been accused of a hustle in 60 to 70 percent of these situations.

So...white guys aren't supposed to be able to play? That fact that I'm pretty good (for an amateur baller) constitutes a hustle?

Here's an example. A few years ago, a guy challenged me to one-on-one and I won in a route (something like 11-3). He then announced rather loudly -- so that the other people in the gym could hear -- that he only played "serious" if money was involved. It wasn't the first time somebody had wanted to play me for money. Normally, I turn these challenges down, but on that day, I accepted because his attitude really got to me. (You know how it is when somebody's looking at you like you're some kind of lower life form.) "Fine," I said. "Ten bucks." He tried to get me up the bet, but I refused. Finally, he smiled reeeeeally wide and said, " You're on."

I beat him 11-5, and two of his points came off one of those garbage banked threes from the top of the key (if you've played a lot of pickup ball, you know what I'm talking about). He was pissed. He stomped off the court to go to the drinking fountain, then stomped back onto the court and paced around for a few minutes with his hands on his hips. Finally, he turned to me and said, "Let's go again. Double or nothing." I not only agreed, I said that, for me to win, I would have to hold him scoreless.

"You're gonna beat me 11-0? Seriously?" He laughed and called me a sucker. But I beat him 11-zip in what turned out to be an incredibly physical game. Bruises were given and received. He did not request a rematch, so I followed him to the locker room to collect my $20. And, to his credit, he paid up. Grudgingly, but he did it. However, as I was walking away, he said (to no one in particular), "Damn! I just got hustled by a white dude!"

You'd think I was the one who challenged him.

Mind you, I'm not trying to make this a black versus white thing. I've received similar challenges from white guys, including this one dude I like to call "Fat Shaq." One night we played over and over because he insisted he was not leaving until he won a game. He even kept modifying the rules to his advantage -- one game had to be played exclusively in the paint -- and couldn't win. And after all that he called me a "hustler."

But that's life in pickup ball. I've talked about it before. People make immediate assumptions about how good or bad someone is based on physical appearance. There's definitely a Hierarchy of Presumed Ability, with black men at the top, white men in the middle, and various other ethnicities (Asian, Indian, etc.) at the bottom. Although, admittedly, there are adjustments based on size. (It is widely assumed that tall guys and muscular guys will be really good. But, in my experience, the really muscular guys are almost never any good...although they seem to believe they're better than everybody because they look like the Hulk.)

Anyway, I don’t want to go on and on about these things, but this is what I think we should take from Tanner versus Harris: Tall, short, black, white, young, old, basketball is all about playing the game. Never make assumptions.

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Blogger Cortez said...
"I'm just shooting around or running drills at my gym. (Yes, I run drills.)"

OH MY GOD! Yos run drill to improve/maintain your skills playing a game/athletic event you obviously love?

What kind of fucking loser are you?

"That fact that I'm pretty good (for an amateur baller)"

Jesus H. tapdancing Christ! You must be a self absorbed ego-maniac trying to relive your failed high school days!

"I accepted because his attitude really got to me."

Imagine that, being a little perplexed (and agitated) because someone makes an incrediblely short sighted assumption based on a, not so well thought out, reasoning system.

You must have an attitude problem.

"But I beat him 11-zip in what turned out to be an incredibly physical game."

You're a fucking liar! You lost 11-zip.

Welcome to the club brother.

I knew we were related (meta-physically, of course!)

Blogger Unknown said...
When I was in the States a long time ago, I saw a 6'2" white dude with a hunched back win the dunk contest.

He jumped over 2 people who were kneeling + 2 who were a little more upright. The third guy in the row threw the alley-oop pass.

Amazing. Everyone expected this guy to just miss a plain dunk.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Kimbo Slice should read this blog...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The key question I have for you is "how do you get them to keep playing after you get to 7 or 8 to zip?"

In my experience they start out all confident like they are doing you a favor by playing with you.

Then very quickly they realize you actually have game, and start to up the defensive intensity.

Then they realize no matter how hard they play they still have no chance to beat you.

Then the evolution of the game almost always turns into them either quitting, pulling up gimpy, or letting you score so they can later say they weren't really trying.

This has been my experience.

Now if you're lucky they will remember you and a week or two later show up with a friend who will make the same mistake they did, and when that happens the power of not wanting to be humiliated infront of one of their boyz will keep the opposition motivated for the entire 11-0 drubbing.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I usually gauge how good someone is off of shot form and amen to the big muscular guys being bad...

At least in my experience they seem to love the perimeter a bit more than they should, clog the lane up REALLY BAD becuase despite working out they have never really played basketball, and make simple layups look painfully bad looking.

Blogger m. Alana said...
Bawful, you know the site's good and all, but I just don't think you can ever be funnier than Cortez. I mean, yeah, you've got the stories and the manlove and the ability to format without making your readers want to stab themselves in the eyes, but he's got the clever. I think you should just hang up your sneakers now. You can't compete with that kind of wit.

Blogger B-Will said...
I actually thought Devin Harris was exceptionally cool about it afterward. I give him credit for that. The great thing about hoops is that at the end of the day you can't hide behind anything. Race, Religion, Stature, Muscular build. You are exposed playing ball to your true ability (ON that particular day, in hoops you can be incredibly on and get the hot hand, it happens, and then have just one of those incredibly off days) This is especially dramatized in one on one. A team can hide talent, and the lack thereof at times. Great post. Keep it up.

What does THE BALL DON'T LIE mean? Find out @

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Since I'm Dutch, English isn't my first language and I don't really understand the meaning of the word hustle in this. I only know the gangsterrap type of hustling but I don't think it's the same here, I hope someone can explain :).

Blogger Cortez said...
"...but I just don't think you can ever be funnier than Cortez."

Yay! I have a fan!

"...and the ability to format without making your readers want to stab themselves in the eyes"

OH NO! You can't do that!

Then how would you manage to watch C. Parker beat Shelden Williams in a knockdown, drag out game of one-on-one?

"You can't compete with that kind of wit."

Correction: half-wit.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Hi Geert,

Hustling is a way of cheating or fooling another into losing a contest (usually for money). The typical way to do this is to appear bad at an activity for the first game or round.

Then one of two things happen. The other guy gets so cocky he challenges you to a rematch and puts money or larger amounts of money on the game; OR you have to initiate that second game with a bigger bet. Then, in the second game, you show that you are in fact, an expert, and win very easily.

It's common in many informal sports, but especially known in billiards or "pool" in American culture. Someone who hustles others in pool is often referred to as a "pool shark." Someone who can't resolve his issues from getting called out on a post a week ago or more is called a "douche" or "spaz."

Blogger Cortez said...
The disconnect from good sense is running rampant I see. Similar to the fool who thought he could win simply because his opponent was white.

"Someone who can't resolve his issues from getting called out on a post a week ago or more is called a douche or spaz."

Who sez, buster? I am in intense therapy right now to "resolve my issues" on being "called out", (although none of you idiots made anything close to a correct interpretation of anything posted).

The doc says that my preference for people who make logical and consistents comments will be my downfall.

Someone who comments on such an individual without any reference to the actual post is a shinning example of everything right with this country and clear thinking!


Mr. Douche/Spaz


My little brother (8) beat me playing basketball yesterday. It was a hard earned victory for him.

Blogger Dustin C. said...
Long time reader, this is my first comment, though. Great post. I hate the guys that act like tough shit and then get beat and pout about it. I've never been accused of hustling - nowhere near that good - but I have pulled off an upset or two. Since I am only 5'5", I am usually the shortest or next-to-shortest guy on the court at any given time. Always makes me feel nice when some tall douche decides to be an ass and call me out, only to drill a few Indiana-boy caliber deep threes in his grill. Good times. So... have you had any instances of beating people you maybe shouldn't beat?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Thanks Baddave. It reminds me of White men can't jump, when Wesley Snipes says he will play with anyone and then he and the other players suddenly semi-accidentally see Woody Harrelson walking towards the court...

Blogger Unknown said...
Oh yeah, oh yeah, me me me, I got another story.

Again, this happened in good ole us of a.
Me and a pal, both like 6'2", pretty decent game, were looking for some 2-on-2. And there were two brothers, twins, pint sized. A bit overweight, no athletic ability whatsoever.
We started the game being confident, and doing our customary plays and moves, but damn these guys where everywhere.
Well, they beat us 11-zip and 11-1 two times in a row without even breaking a sweat.
They only had one or two plays - and a funky two handed shot - but were so effective executing that we had no chance.
That was the day I vowed to never underestimate anyone again.

I've been playing ball since I was 12 so I can claim I can hold my own on the basketball court. I spent 7 years in the USA...Being a white 6 feet tall kid with a Jim Morrison haircut and a strong Eastern European accent always helped on the court. It's always nice to establish yourself from the bottom and get people's respect for what you are really worth

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Devin Harris saw the gray socks, the backwards hat, the funky outfit and he thought he was a geek. A f***ing chump. But what he didn't re-al-ize, is that it's hard, g*dd*mn work to make something that pretty, look like geek. Or a chump.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
What's a hustle?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm a tall black guy (6'4) who loves playing pick up, and it's crazy how many people think I'm supposed to jump as high as dwight howard and have the ball skills of a young Kobe Bryant or something. In reality, though, I have never played organized ball (I was a track guy) and am not very good, though I can perform a wide assortment of dunks. All I can do is get out on the break, or block shots.

But because of my appearance, whenever I'm in the gym trying to improve my shitty jumper, white guys especially call me out in one on one. Most of the games are close because of my athleticism, but skill always prevails, and hence I am a consistent loser.

This is, oddly, why I love the game, it doesn't matter what race you are, you're just defined as a good baller or not in the eyes of the basketball gods.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
My old man (the constant coach) says it best... In basketball, anyone can score on anyone. no matter how good you are... you can be scored on.

Pops claims to this day that he could score on Michael Jordan.

...he also claims that if he was 6'7" he would've been in the NBA... so who knows?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
all i wanna know is (and apologies if this was addressed when the video was originally posted), are they using a WNBA ball in the clip????

and, cortez... "shinning." hahaha. classic. now you're a douche that ALSO looks exactly like groundskeeper willy in my head. thanks for that.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Nice article, although it's a bit strange to me that everybody here (except for a few guys, in a certain way) is the "nice guy", the underestimated one. I still haven't seen one comment that says: "Hey, that is SO ME!!! I always act like a jerk and disrespect people on the court, only to get my ass handed to me." I guess cocky assholes don't read this blog.
Oh, and I just have to respond on the remark about the big musclebound guys. I think it's probably true some of the time, but not enough to be considered a valid reason for such a generalization. As one dude said, muscular guys usually suck because they never really played ball. Guess what? Anybody who never plays any sport, or does it rarely, has about a 90% chance of being awful at it. I'm a 6'2", 200 pound guy - of which at least 150-160 pounds are pure muscle. I put that meat on my bones when I stopped training basketball and limited myself to shooting hoops in my free time. I can honestly say that the muscles have only made me a better player. Yeah, sure, at first, they slowed me down a little, but I greatly improved my shot, rebounding and blocking ability. And, yeah, I get underestimated a lot of times, because people just assume that I can barely move or jump =)
BTW, this wasn't a rant, and it definitely wasn't a verbal attack on someone, so please, spare me the "look at the big crybaby" comments.

Blogger Cortez said...
"now you're a douche that ALSO looks exactly like groundskeeper willy in my head. thanks for that."

No problem broseph. Lucky for you (and unintentional comedy) my internal spellcheck is broken.

"That's my retirement grease!"
Groundskeeper Willie a.k.a. Mr. Douche/Spaz

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Indian is Asian you idiot.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yo Bawful. What sin did you commit in a previous life to get stuck with a donkey like Cortez?

Nothing like an internet troll to ruin a good thing. :(

Blogger Unknown said...

Im Indian and although it is part of Asia, a lot of us also designate ourselves seperately as specificly south east asian. Regardless, just saying mendoz, that I dont think basketbawful made a dumb comment.

As for being bottom on the basketball totem poll. them's the breaks.

Blogger Cortez said...
"What sin did you commit in a previous life to get stuck with a donkey like Cortez?"

Dumbass, an internet troll is someone who posts content that goes counter to the spirit and theme of the site.

Almost always this person has an objective that runs counter to the philosophy of the site.

Seeing that your less than stellar definition of "troll" is so far off base I'll assume that you are one of these idiots that thinks a WNBA player can matchup with and NBA power foward.

Furthermore, based on the content of the "hustle" post, I feel confident in assuming that the owner of the site completely got my original point in the first place.

Go slap your educators and parents. They did a piss poor job in educating you properly in terms of reading comprehension and logical thinking.

So, until the next time you post and ignore the actual post (like an actual troll!)


Mr. Douche/Spaz/Donkey

Blogger m. Alana said...
Hey Cortez.

Putting yourself forward to be abused won't make your mommy love you more.

And, yes, you are a troll.

Trolly troll troll troll.

It's a broad term.

I like to provoke trolls.

It's a bad habit of mine.

But you need to go back under your bridge.

Oh God.

Your learning-disability typing style is catching.

I can feel my IQ dropping with every unnecessary paragraph break.

Blogger B-Will said...
I have seen the muscular guy thing go both ways. I remember playing some pickup with this african american fellow who had the body of hercules. He had that amazing muscular body that just blows you away (His shorts were also always falling off which was just really weird) He also talked a lot, and followed it with the hard, "I am as mean as fuck" stare. When if finally came to playing he had no cardiovascular skill at all so he would only play offense and really had a poor showing, to counter that, we have a guy that plays in our pick up games who has played in Europe and College, he is now 41 and to counter-act aging his is a real gym rat. His body is in amazing shape and he is solid and powerful. His musculature does nothing but help him and it makes me want to get in the weight room (However I picked up weights once and I put them down, those fuggers where heavy!!) So long story short, yeah it is a stereotype, and I would say in my experience most of the time the muscular guys are more show, then they are skill (Same goes with the fat guys, they usually have some real skill, don't ask me why)

However someone who is a good basketball player and works out is truly formidable.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Everyone -- Regarding the muscular guys...I'm talking about the true muscleheads, guys who look like they belong in a body-building magazine. Someone mentioned being 6'2", 200 lbs and muscular. Well, those match my stats to a T. But no one would ever think I use steroids, and I can still, like, bend my arms and stuff. The men I'm talking about are abnormally muscular.

Blogger Cortez said...
"It's a broad term. "

Really? In that case why have definitions at all for anything?

"Putting yourself forward to be abused won't make your mommy love you more."


*Paging Dr. Nick

"I like to provoke trolls."

~G.W. Bush

"But you need to go back under your bridge."

I live in the forest.

"Your learning-disability typing style is catching."

Welcome to the club!

"I can feel my IQ dropping with every unnecessary paragraph break."

Oh...they're necessary. There is nothing like reading a bunch of sentences in a big bunch on an illuminated white screen.

Plus, nothing could drop your (basketball) I.Q. lower than seriously thinking C. Parker can beat her brother in a game of one-on-one.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I don't mean to butt in Cortez...but isn't it about time you drop the whole WNBA vs NBA thing?

I'm sure we all got more important things to do, even if that means doing nothing.

Blogger Cortez said...
"I don't mean to butt in Cortez..."

No problem.

"...but isn't it about time you drop the whole WNBA vs NBA thing?"

My reference to this topic isn't "WNBA vs. NBA" at all. This particular reference is used simply to illustrate the near complete irrational thought process a few of these people are using.

"Yung'uns ice-grilling me, oh - you're not feeling me?
Fine; it cost you nothing - pay me no mind"
~Jay-Z from Heart of the City

Blogger K.A. said...
number 1: i dont think devin got hustle, he seems pretty cool actually.
number 2: ive seen bawful post similar tales before and never minded them, and while i believe them, this one for some reason comes off as a bit full of himself.
number 3: cortez is hella annoying. i think hes trying to be funny. operative word, trying.
p.s. damn that dude schooled tony delk? delk can ball for real, i think delk scored 50 one time.

Blogger Cortez said...
"cortez is hella annoying."

That's probably becasue you have a lot in common with an over-sensitive little girl.

Anyway, people who type out the word "hella" annoy me...we're even.

"...operative word, trying."

Things I am a failure at...



Anonymous Anonymous said...
imagine what it's like to be a short asian guy who can play some decent ball.

Blogger Cortez said...
"imagine what it's like to be a short asian guy who can play some decent ball."

I went to school with a asian kid named Mario. That kid used to give guys work.

He was playing against Tim Hardaway (early to mid 90's) giving him everything he could handle on the offensive end.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dear cortez,

Shut the fuck up.

The Readers of Basketbawful

Blogger Cortez said...
"Dear cortez,

Shut the fuck up."

It must be frustrating for you sitting at home screaming about someone "shutting the fuck up" on a public forum on the internet.

In an odd sort of a way, I'm assumed that I have become such a focus of your bitch-made rants with no reference to the topic what-so-ever.

How about this dipshit...

Petition the administrator of the site to cease approving my comments if they offend you so much.

In which case, I will go take a nice long dump to mask my pain.


Blogger K.A. said...

yes, yes I know. don't feed the troll. groan.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
seriously, Cortez, could you please stop commenting on this site?

Blogger Cortez said...
"seriously, Cortez, could you please stop commenting on this site?"

Could you do some self evaluation and comment on the actual posts and stop worrying about some random moron on the internet? Please? Problem solved.

Because, trust me, when a post goes up that I'm interested in...

I'll be leaving a comment.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Nice, Cortez. Nice!

Seriously man. You're not simply a troll, you're a really poor quality troll.

Your own Wikipedia link::
"An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, INFLAMMATORY OR IRRELEVANT or off-topic messages IN AN ONLINE COMMUNITY, such as an ONLINE DISCUSSION FORUM or chat room, WITH THE INTENTION OF PROVOKING OTHER USERS into an emotional response[1] or to GENERALLY DISRUPT normal on-topic discussion."

Caps added to help you with your reading comprehension. ;)

Fits you to a T, bro. So good game, thanks for playing, and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Blogger Cortez said...
All the those phrases highlighted by you fit together to form ONE COHERENT IDEA which you seem to have COMPLETELY OVERLOOKED.

Every initial comment posted by me has been related to the ACTUAL TOPIC.

The mindset that leads you to this nonsensical position is puzzling as I AM NOT trying to elicit an emotional response from anyone.

Plus, this commment by you is one, in a long line of comments, THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ACTUAL TOPIC.

I've told you several times now that if you don't like my attitude (and believe me, you're not the only one!) your solution is simple...

Ignore me.

The real problem is your reading comprehension. I challenge you (or anyone else for that matter) to produce anything posted by me that wasn't preceded by a misreading of what I wrote in the first place.

I'll be waiting forever for that...

...because it never happened.

You nitwits pissed your panties because I don't like the WNBA based on the fact that I don't think their players are particularly entertaining to watch.

I find your dismay over make-believe slights and falsehoods entertaining though.

Carry on...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Perhaps your comments are somewhat on the negative side..certainly for something like a blog where one goes to be entertained..or something of that nature.

It almost seems as if you don't enjoy reading this blog?

Blogger Cortez said...
"Perhaps your comments are somewhat on the negative side"

If you go back to the WNBA post I didn't insult anyone or even address anyone on the site, initially. I assume people didn't like my personal references to playing basketball, which for the most part, were tounge in cheek.

(i.e. I don't wipe my ass with mountain lions!)

All of a sudden I'm a "bully" or my "manhood was insulted". I found these claims odd and the further it went the more people diverge from what was actually said.

If anyone is upset that women are, in large part, lesser athletes when compared directly to men in the same arena then blame evolution and reality, I had little, (if anything!) to do with it.

"It almost seems as if you don't enjoy reading this blog?"

I love this blog and I find the author insightful and entertaining. And it's rare to find anyone, under the age of 50, who would pick Larry Legend over any basketball player when picking a dream team. That's a sign of someoen who truly understands basketball.

Plus, with all of the photos of crotches in the face, personal ridicule of looks and intelligence, and the denouncing of asshole pickup basketball players I figured my tone was right in line.