points negotiator

points negotiator (pointz ni-goh'-shee-eyt'-uhr) noun. The player or players in a pickup basketball game who are trusted and allowed to pass judgment on any scoring discrepancies.

Usage example: Many times, older players are given the role of points negotiator.

Word usage: It never ceases to amaze me how difficult it is for people to keep track of the score during a pickup game. As far as I've been able to determine, the whole 1-pointer/2-pointer scoring system was invented for the sole purpose of making it easier to score the games. Despite the use of the most basic math possible, scoring discrepancies occur with ridiculous frequency...and few things cause more heated conflict on the pickup court.

When a scoring discrepancy happens, both sides feel they're getting screwed. Nobody ever just laughs it off as a simple mistake that can be easily remedied. The interpretation is that points are being stolen, and with the way people behave during the ensuring debate, you'd think the fate of humankind was riding on the outcome. And I'm not even talking about the outcome of the game. I mean who gets to win the argument about what the "correct" score is.

Many times, these disputes are settled by which team screams the loudest or acts the most ready to solve things through a fistfight. Other times, both teams choose to abide by the ruling of a points negotiator. The points negotiator typically is someone who is known, liked and respected by most of the players. As such, points negotiation usually happens in weekly pickup leagues. It can also happen in generic pickup games with savvy players who give off an aura of authority.

Points negotiators are usually older players, the general assumption being that they are wiser and more mature, and therefore better able to think and react logically. This isn't true whatsoever, but cultural ideology often takes over when conflict resolution is necessary.

Aside from the age factor (which isn't a constant), a points negotiator must have a reputation for making fair calls most of the time. Furthermore, they should have a history free of being on the wrong side of point shaving incidents. Once a player has bungled the score a few times, they lose all point tracking credibility until player turnover reaches 80 to 90 percent.

Moreover, points negotiators must have the ability to remain calm in the face of conflict. If they start cussing and yelling, the other players will lose faith in their ability to remain logical and emotionally detached from the eventual outcome. A single sneer or chuckle of disgust can appear sinister, which will lead some players to conclude that the points negotiator has some specific vested interest in the final decision. And even though that is often the case, people are often comforted by the delusion of impartiality.

Now this final point is very important. A points negotiator will many times be forced to make a ruling he either isn't sure about or knows is incorrect. Dubious decisions are made because a points negotiator is, after all, human and might not have been closely tracking the score. Incorrect rulings are made because sometimes the only way to keep the peace is to let a given team have their way, either because they've been losing all night or because most of the calls have been going against them. Sometimes making everybody happy is more important than the final score.

Unless you're on the team that got hosed.

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Everybody and his or her little brother has covered Stephon Marbury's rambling Web stream, so I won't bother to provide additional commentary on his continuing decent into babbling madness. What I will provide, however, is a few of my favorite quotes from World Wide Steph. I invite you to submit your own favorite quotable(s) from his recent Internet rant. I'll collect the best submissions and append them to this post in a special fan section.

"No, I'm not the best player in the NBA. Kobe Bryant is the best player. I don't care about the NBA Those days are over with."

"I'm going to set up a foundation for the world. I'm going to take the money and start building cities all over the world. I'm a comet. My man told me I'm a comet. I said, 'I’m a comet?'"

"My kids are like: Daddy, why are you on the bench? Why ain't daddy in the game?"

"I had to overconversate."

"Where would I want my jersey retired? Boston."

"Chris Paul, he got power and he slither, he slither...he move real silky like a snake."

"I'll be a bum for seven dollars and a blowjob? Hahahahaaha. They tryin to put me in a box! Its impossible!"

"Jeanie Buss, I love her with all my heart. I’d take my heart out and give it to her. That’s how ill she is. I love that lady."

"I love Canada. Ohhhh Can-a-da.... I love that song. I love your anthem. I love hearing it. Its fresh."

"You've gotta thank 'em for a bowel movement. You've gotta thank 'em for a bowel movement."

"Am I jealous of Tracy McGrady and Jason Kidd? Jealous of what?"

"Marbury you suck and won't win a championship? Ok, you still talking about basketball and I'm talking about LIFE."

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I should really be in bed right now, but Basketbawful reader Utahraptor sent in this video of the Lakers' contract negotiations with Lamar Odom and I had share it. I don't have many rules in life, but one of them is that if a YouTube video makes me giggle like a little girl, I post it. So...here you go.

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What a bawful summer this is turning out to be. Antoine Walker is facing three felony counts for writing $1 million in bad checks to three Las Vegas casinos, Eddy Curry showed up in Vegas to work out for the Knicks but forgot his shoes, and the Clippers want to sign Allen Iverson.

And I didn't leave work until after 9:30 last night.

It goes without saying that I had no energy to write another Livin' Large post last night. By the time I got back to my flat (that is, apartment), I crawled into bed and softly cried myself to sleep. So...this is what you get: an old video of the Clippers former mascot, the San Diego Chicken, trying to distract Larrry Bird with swimsuit posters. Oh, and of course the Clippers get hosed at the end of the game by a superstar call that goes in Larry's favor. Even in the past, they were who we thought they were.

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I was away from any and all things Interweb and could not publish comments. My bad. Publishing them now.


A while back, we here at Basketbawful pondered a list of the worst NBA video games. And by pondered, I mean stole the list from another blog and put it on this one. Anyways, those that know me know I'm all about the irony and schadenfreude, so I set out to play some of these games. And by that, I mean I'm too lazy to fire up an SNES emulator, but that's okay since the only actually free game on the list was the one who's presence on a worst ever list was most questionable.

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Have you ever thought to yourself: "Self, wouldn't this thing would be way more awesome if it had basketball somehow involved"? Then do I have an epic something for you. Tales of Game's Studios Presents Chef Boyardee's Barkley, Shut Up & Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa (yes, the G is capitalized) does just this with the classic Square-Enix RPG video game formula. So if you're bored from the summer NBA off-season, or tired from stealing chairs from sorority houses, and need to zone out away from your geeky roommate, read onwards.

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Once again, if you haven't already downloaded this free game, here's the plot introduction courtesy of Wikipedia. I should mention that right when you load it up, the game clearly states that this story IS canon:

The game takes place in a post-cyberpocalyptic New York called "Neo New York", after a "chaos dunk" causes the death of millions.

Twelve years prior to the game, Charles Barkley, in an attempt to impress his son Hoopz Barkley, performs a Chaos Dunk -- and inadvertently kills almost everyone present. As a result, basketball was made illegal and nearly all great players were killed in "The Great B-Ball Purge of 2041" (a.k.a "B-Ballnacht").

In 2053, another Chaos Dunk rocks Manhattan, killing fifteen million, and the blame falls on Charles, who is believed to be the only human capable of performing the Chaos Dunk. With the help of the Ultimate Hellbane, Charles escapes his pursuers: the B-Ball Removal Department, led by ex-NBA all-star Michael Jordan. Charles follows Ultimate Hellbane through the B-Ball Catacombs to the tomb of LeBron James, discovering that the Ultimate Hellbane is actually Balthios - the Octoroon great grandson of LeBron James. James contacts Charles from the B-ball dimension, offering him a warning which tells him to "seek the Cyberdwarf."

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Protip: Remember the game is canon, so don't waste money upgrading Vinceborg's gear. He's obviously going to desert your team after moderately trying.

The combat system was simple and fun, considering the last RPG I played was Chrono Trigger like 8 years ago. You'll meet and battle plenty of other characters along the way:

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Luke Walton was cut last second as a playable character.

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Even videogame KG is still an ass.

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Thousands of epic years.

In addition to the epic basketball tale, there's an underground town of furries, diabetes sugar land, racist genies, Incan gold, and even a horrifying dating sim section. Of course, what would an RPG be without those few unforgettable moments:

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Final verdict: If I had to give any existing videogame the prestegious award of being named Basketbawful: The Game, it would be Barkley, Shut Up & Jam: Gaiden, hands down.

About the author: AnacondaHL is the Chief Internet Media Relations and Security Officer for Basketbawful and a grizzled Internet veteran who watches in despair as his favorite team, the Phoenix Suns, prepare for the Pavlovic/Ben Wallace era. When not wasting time at his Clark Kent job to read BasketBawful, he can be found playing the Internet computer game du jour, still watching animes about robots in Nikes playing basketball, wondering why the Diamondbacks have seven team colors, living vicariously through other people's way cooler stories from college, and browsing other obscure things on the Internet. He hopes someday to learn four languages, name the largest number in the world after himself, and to eat a crab grown in Akron.

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Execute order 66! Or something like that. This one is straight from the "couldn't make it up" files: According to Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, Nike is supposedly blocking any and all taped footage of Xavier's Jordan Crawford posterizing LeBron James, which happened at the LeBron James Skills Academy earlier this week.

Turns out, there were at least two cameras rolling Monday night when Crawford dunked on James during a pick-up game here at the LeBron James Skills Academy. It was a two-handed jam, the kind that would've circulated quickly on YouTube. But Nike officials eliminated that possibility shortly after the dunk happened by allegedly confiscating tapes from various cameramen.

Freelance photographer Ryan Miller was one of the cameramen shooting the game.

He told CBSSports.com that Nike Basketball Senior Director Lynn Merritt took his tape.

"He just said, 'We have to take your tape,'" Miller said. "They took it from other guys, too."

Worth noting is that there is no policy against filming at the LeBron James Skills Academy, and Miller said he had been filming all day without incident. Nobody ever told him to stop. Nobody ever said there was a problem...until after Crawford dunked on James.

"LeBron called Lynn over and told him something," Miller said. "That's how I knew his name was Lynn. LeBron said, 'Hey, Lynn. Come here.'"

Minutes later, Miller said Merritt demanded his tape.

"There's nothing I can think of besides LeBron just not wanting it online," Miller said. "It's a good story to tell people, I guess. But then again, I'm kind of pissed. I lost my tape."
Wait, what? Mr. Check My $tats, Mr. Look-At-Me-I'm-The-MVP doesn't want video circulating on YouTube of him being jammed on by some college kid?! I can't tell you how NOT shocked I am. Let's just say that sound you just heard certainly wasn't my jaw hitting the floor. Between this situation, the egomania t-shirts and that whole "I'm a winner and winners don't have to shake hands" thing, LeBron sure is coming off as kind of a douche lately.

[Hat Tip: Brandon Hoffman of BallerBlogger.]

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