In Zombieland, Bill Murray has what's probably the single greatest cameo of all time. If you haven't seen the movie, you suck. But in the interest of not spoiling too much, there's a scene where Tallahassee (played by Woody Harrelson) pokes his finger into Murray's gaping chest wound, and Murray says, "Aaah...that's still tender."

Well, Cleveland fans can understand that sensation. Especially the ones who were at last night's Indians/Yankees game. And that tenderness made 'em mean.

From the Associated Press:
A fan wearing a Miami Heat jersey of LeBron James drew the ire of the crowd at a Cleveland Indians game and was escorted out of the ballpark.

Fans in the left-field bleachers chanted obscenities and pointed at the man Wednesday night during the sixth inning of the game between the Indians and New York Yankees. Hundreds of fans joined in before security led the man out of Progressive Field.

As he left, some fans followed him toward the gate with more derisive chants.
Here's some footage. The language is not so safe for work.

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As the poet / philosopher duo Matt Stone and Trey Parker once wrote: Freedom isn't free. No, there's a hefty fucking fee. And if you don't throw in your buck oh five, who will?

The NBA equivalent to the $1.05 they were talking about is practicing free throws. Some guys like Ray Allen do it. Others...don't. Here are my personal picks for the worst of the "don'ts."

The Winner: Chris Dudley

Christen Guilford Dudley once said: "So I wasn't good at free throws. Neither is Shaq. So really, you could describe my game as Shaq-esque." Based on how Shaq treated Dudley when they played against each other, it's probably a good thing Chris uttered this quote after retirement.

Dudley's career free throw percentage of 45.8 isn't the lowest among the players in this list. So why does Dudders rank first among my worsts? It's not simply because he 817 of 1,508 freebies over his (gulp!) 15-year career. What sets Dudley apart are some of his dubious fouls shooting accomplishments.

For instance, according to his NBA.com bio: "On April 14, 1990, he missed 17 of 18 free throws in a 124-113 loss to the Indiana Pacers. In that game he broke Wilt Chamberlain s NBA record by missing 13 straight free throws, one of them an airball. Dudley wound up with a league-worst .319 free-throw percentage."

Yep: 1-for-18 with 13 consecutive misses. Here's the box score.

But you know what? When that most bawful of charity stripe performances happened, it was only the second-worst free throw shooting moment of Dudley's career. From SportCenter's This Day In Sports:

January 29, 1989 — Cavs center Chris Dudley stepped to the free throw line and did something no one in the NBA had ever done. And that wasn't a good thing. Dudley, a celebrated defender, rebounder and shot-blocker, was a somewhat below-average free throw shooter. OK, he was a somewhat awful free throw shooter, with a career average of 45.8 percent, which is better than Ben Wallace but worse than Shaq. But in a January game against the Washington Bullets, he took poor free throw shooting to a new level.

Dudley got fouled, stepped to the line and missed both shots. NBD. But the ref called a lane violation on a Bullets guard, so Dudley shot a third. Which he missed. Another lane violation (this one by Bullets center Dave Feitl) brought another attempt and another miss (that's four for those counting at home). Amazingly, Feitl was called for another lane violation. And amazingly, Dudley missed his fifth and final (of the series) free throw attempt, becoming the first player to miss five free throws in one trip.
The bottom line is that when Dudley went to the line, the results were like jamming your hand into a running blender. You knew something bad was going to happen, but the variations of horror were nearly limitless.

The Runners Up: Ben Wallace, Shaq, Wilt Chamberlain

How did Big Ben miss out on the top spot? Well, for starters, he actually made significant non-foul shooting contributions to a Pistons team that made two NBA Finals and won a title. He also doesn't hold the two amazing records Dudley has.

Still, Ben earning top Worst Evers honors wouldn't have been a traveshamockery. After all, his lifetime FT% of 41.7 was accomplished by missing 1,501 of his 2,575 career FT attempts. It got to the point where NBA arenas started seriously considering handing out crash helmets and safety goggles to every fan sitting in the 100 level seats when Wallace came to town just to reduce their liability.

To top things off, here's a snippet from a Worst of the Night post I published in March:

When last we saw Big Ben, he was going 1-for-9 from the free throw line, which included consecutive airballs. Last night, he went 0-for-5. But it's even worse than that.

With just over a minute left, Paul Pierce seemingly committed a foul on Pistons rookie Jonas Jerebko. Only the Celtics bitched and bitched until the refs sent Wallace to the line instead. He missed them both, obviously, and then left the game almost immediately with a "knee injury" (it's a shame he didn't claim flu-like symptoms.)

Wallace is now 2-for-20 from the line in Detroit's last five games. And opposing coaches have gone to the Hack-a-Ben strategy twice during that stretch.

Said Pistons coach John Kuester: "Ben has been in this league for a long time, and he knows that he has to work his way out of this. It's certainly not a question of effort -- he's the first one in the gym and the last one out. He hits 70 percent in practice, but he's got to go to the line and make them in the games."

I love it. First one to the gym and the last one out. I swear, every player is described like that these days. Guy must never leave practice. I hope Detroit's practice facility is filled with cots.
Okay, I lied about topping things off. Here's Big Ben airballing consecutive freebies...with the game on the line:

Click here for a funnier fan-made video of those misses.

Then there's Shaq. His career FT% of 52.7 seems almost ridiculously high compared to Dudley and Wallace. But he's sure got them in sheer volume. The Big Clanky has missed an astounding 5,259 foul shots (out of 11,121 attempts) in his 18 NBA seasons. That's more than most players ever get to take. For example, Shaq's former teammate Derek Fisher has only 2,200 career FTAs despite playing 1,028 games over 15 seasons. At this rate, Fish will retire having attempted fewer than half of the foul shots Shaq missed.

Shaq's inability to convert freebies have us one of the great quotes -- not to mention one of the greatest fallacies -- in NBA history:

"I don't care about my [free throw shooting] percentages. I keep telling everyone that I make them when they count." - Shaquille O'Neal, in post-game interviews recorded by WOAI-TV on November 7, 2003
Yeah, right. Try to ask the 2007-08 Phoenix Suns whether Shaq hits them when they count without getting punched in the groin.

In a larger sense, The Big Misfire's inaccuracy at the line gave us the immortal Hack-a-Shaq strategy. Not only is it memorable, it can (and has been) transferred to other lousy foul shooters: Hack-a-Bowen, Hack-a-Dwight, Hack-a-Ben, etc.

Last but never, ever least, we have Wilt Chamberlain. Everything about this man was larger-than-life. Everybody knows about the 100-point and how he averaged 50 PPG during the 1961-62 season. And then there's the claim that he shagged 20,000 women. What people don't know is that, while he was still in the NBA, Wilt tried to miss one free throw for every woman he violated with what we have to assume was an enormous and terrifying penis.

The Big Dipper ranks second all-time in free throws attempted with 11,862. (Karl Malone is the all-time leader with 13,188, but he played four more seasons than The Stilt.) Unfortunately, Chamberlain ranks only 14th in free throws made with 6,057.

For those of you who enjoy simple math, that means Wilt had 5,805 clanks in 14 seasons. This means that even though he's played four more seasons than Wilt did, Shaq is still almost 600 missed FTs behind Chamberlain. Ouch.

Speaking of ouch, Wilt was such a turrible foul shooter that Chamberlain -- a true giant of a man -- was often forced to run away from players who were trying to intentionally foul him. And the NBA had to institute rules changes because of it:

Chamberlain was such a great player and dominant force that he would be certain to be on the floor in late-game situations if the score was close. However, he was such a poor free throw shooter (51% over his career) that if the opposition needed to employ intentional fouling late in the game, Chamberlain would always be that team's target. Just as the opposition was eager to send Chamberlain to the free throw line because of his ineptitude there, Chamberlain himself was reluctant to go for that same reason. This led to the spectacle of virtually an entire other contest being held away from the ball and almost completely outside of the basketball game being played, as Chamberlain essentially played a de facto game of tag with defenders, attempting to run from and dodge them as they chased him trying to foul him.

The NBA decided to address this undesirable situation by instituting a new rule regarding off-the-ball fouls—that is, committing a personal foul against an offensive player who neither has the ball nor is making an effort to obtain it. The new rule stated that if the defensive team commits an off-the-ball foul within the last two minutes of the game, the offensive team would be allowed to keep possession of the ball after the awarding of either one or two free throws. Since the entire reason for employing intentional fouling as a strategy was to quickly terminate the offensive team's possession, this new rule, when in effect, forced the team using intentional fouling to foul only the offensive player who had the ball. This brought an end to the need for Chamberlain, or any other poor free throw shooter, to play "hide and seek" with opposing defenders in intentional fouling situations.

"The reason they have that rule is that fouling someone off-the-ball looks foolish...Some of the funniest things I ever saw were players that used to chase [Wilt Chamberlain] like it was hide-and-seek. Wilt would run away from people, and the league changed the rule based on how silly that looked." - Pat Riley
So Wilt couldn't hit his freebies...so what? Chicks dug him.

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One was on a mission. The other was just along for the ride.

As my junior year ended and I transitioned into my final summer as a high school student, I was playing insane amounts of basketball.

The thing was, I needed a practice buddy. Somehow -- and I honestly don't remember how I managed to pull this off -- I convinced my friend Dave D. to become my practice partner. To the best of my knowledge, "Double D" never had any real interest in taking up basketball as an active sport. As a former almost-Clevelander, Dave followed the Cavaliers in a very casual way, but he rarely watched games unless we were hanging out and the Cavs happened to be on national TV.

You can guess how often that happened.

But the thing about Dave is that a) he enjoys physical challenges and b) he's a natural athlete. When focused -- and, to be honest, he's not always the most focused person -- Dave can pick up almost anything...and he can pick it up quickly. One summer break during college, my mom bought a badminton net, and within a few tries Dave had become a badass badminton player, diving around, spiking birdies, and winning every game. Football? He could catch, throw and tackle. Hard. After college, I went through a big running phase and began running half-marathons. I asked Dave to do it with me, and he'd jump in and run the 13.1 miles without training. These days, he trains for MMA-style fighting.

That's Dave.

Dave's natural speed, strength and endurance helped him compete, and his hand-eye coordination allowed him to master difficult skills in short order. One of the first times he wandered out to watch me practice -- while wearing a heavy gray sweatshirt in 80-degree heat I might add -- he wanted to try his hand at a half court shot. He missed his first try and then hit the next three in a row. And he hadn't even touched a basketball since middle school.

Again, that's Dave.

So he started playing with me. Dave's only about 5'7", so I had a somewhat unfair (in terms of one-on-one) height advantage on him. To compensate for that, we agreed on a "three-point zone" on the Boulevard court (there was no three-point line). That way, good shooting could potentially overmatch my height. In almost no time, Dave was drilling threes at (what seemed to me) a crazy rate. I'd been practicing three-pointers for months and he cracked the code in a week.

That rat bastard.

Over the next two months, we played basketball five, six, sometimes seven hours a day. We probably would have played even longer if we hadn't had jobs (I worked at the Ponderosa, he worked at Little Caesar’s). Our games were epic in length and scope. We would stage best-of-seven series, but instead of games to 11 or 15, we'd play to 100. Instead of playing 21, we'd play 121. We'd play 48-minute games, complete with timeouts and a halftime break. And we'd use the breaks to run sprints or jump rope.

We did all this in the dog days of summer, and we never, ever brought water with us. We'd usually play to the point of complete dehydration before we'd wander down the street to the Village Pantry -- a convenience store that existed all over Indiana at the time -- and buy a couple 32-ounce Gatorades. Man, those things tasted better than anything I had ever tasted in my life. Dave figured our dehydration was what made them taste that good, so we decided to keep dehydrating ourselves before getting Gatorade.


One day, we were drinking our Gatorades when I noticed Dave's bottle claimed that the flavor inside was Michael Jordan's favorite flavor. I immediately brought this to Dave's attention because his Cavaliers had recently been eliminated from the NBA Playoffs by Jordan's Bulls. Dave blanched and chucked the almost-full bottle against the wall outside the Village Pantry. "Fucking Michael Jordan," Dave said. "It's like he exists to piss me off."

For the record, I developed my Gatorade Conspiracy theory this summer during one of our trips to the Pantry.

A month into the summer, my friends stopped calling my house because they knew I probably wouldn't be there. If they really wanted to get a hold of me, they would drive or ride their bikes to Boulevard school. (Nobody bothered to call Dave because either a) they knew he'd be with me and b) Dave rarely answered or returned phone calls. As a friend, Dave either appeared mysteriously or he didn't. Even now, all these years later, he's still like that.) Gauvin in particular would track us down and ride his bike in circles around the court while me and Dave squared off.

So I played and I played and I played. I also trained by doing basic weight-lifting exercises (although I wasn't consuming enough protein to bulk up properly), running, and various other gimmicky crap. For instance, I heard or read somewhere that jumping on a mini-trampoline could help increase your vertical leap. I told Dave, who somehow produced a mini-trampoline. To this day, I have no idea where it came from or where it went after we were done with it. But then, Dave also liked to steal beef jerky from the Village Pantry, so I didn't really want to ask.

Anyway, we spent a week or two jumping on that stupid trampoline. Of course, we were teenagers with no experience, guidance or perspective, so when we didn't see instantaneous results, we abandoned this trampoline experiment for -- of course -- playing more basketball. That was my last attempt at enhancing my leaping ability until the White Man Jump Challenge (more on that in a future installment).

Dave and I would occasionally venture forth to other parks in search of two-on-two battles. They were surprisingly hard to find. It was usually pretty easy to start a one-on-one game, or a game of 21, or, if you really wanted to, a full court game. But two-on-two is a strange number. It usually requires two friends to find another two friends who are willing to play.

But still, we managed to stage a decent number of two-on-two contests. The problem was, even though he had picked up the sport at an alarmingly fast rate, Dave lost his confidence against strangers and would always defer to me, to the point of barely shooting or even refusing to shoot. Once our opponents realized that, they would just double team the hell out of me. It was becoming a sticking point and I couldn't seem to get through to Dave that I needed him to shoot.

Then one day we went to Highland Park, which had the second-most popular court in Kokomo. There were two guys who were pretty good there, and they were mopping the floor with various would-be challengers. Dave and I were shooting around at one end of the court while they went two-on-three and won. I didn't want any part of those guys because a) they were good enough to seem a little intimidating and b) I didn't trust Dave to step up and take shots.

Then they challenged us. Dave didn't want to accept the challenge, but I couldn't say no. Saying no would have felt like backing down. My pride wouldn't allow it.

I don't remember much of what Dave and I did on defense. At the time, for me, defense was just waiting to get back on offense. That's not to say I didn't try my best to stop people, only that I didn't take note of what happened on defense the way I dissected what happened on offense.

On our first few offensive possessions, I posted up and hit a couple short hooks. I had a slight height advantage against my man, and I was going to keep using it until they double-teamed me, which happened pretty fast. When it did, I passed back out to Dave who would hold the ball and wait for his man to come back out. Only he didn't. Dave still wouldn't shoot. He tried to lob in a few passes that were intercepted.

Normally, I was very patient with Dave in these situations. Part of that was me trying to be a good friend, but most of it was fear. Like I said, Dave was always a little mysterious. He was impossible to get on the phone and he showed up for things and then disappeared for reasons unknown to anyone (maybe not even himself). I was seriously worried that if I ever got shitty with Dave, he'd stop playing basketball with me.

But this time, I snapped. These guys were good, and they were talking trash to us. I felt I could score on my man one-on-one, but I was basically helpless against their double-teams even if Dave did manage to get me the ball. So, finally, while he was standing on the perimeter just holding the ball, I screamed, "Goddamn it, Dave, fucking shoot it!"

And he did.

Dave drilled it. On the next possession, he drilled another. Then another. Then another. And then another. Dave's five-for-five streak had swung the game in our favor. Now our opponents' defense was all discombobulated. They didn't know who to defend, the big man inside or the little man outside. On game point, Dave knocked down another jumper in his defender's face. I lost my head, screaming "Dave!" and running over to give him a double high five. We were laughing and jumping around, which caused our opponents to mock us once again.

We didn't care. It was a big moment. Dave had finally found his confidence. This had been his breakout game. I was sure of it.

Unfortunately, I was wrong.

During the final month of the summer, our high school was putting on a pre-tryout basketball camp. Kids who wanted to make the Varsity or Junior Varsity teams were encouraged to sign up, because it was assumed that this camp would make or break you. It was the best possible opportunity to get some real coaching and play against Varsity-level competition. It was exactly what I needed. No, it was, I thought, exactly what we needed.

See, I had become convinced that Dave loved playing basketball as much as I did. And after all the time we had spent playing, I was sure he'd want to try and make Varsity with me. It made sense. He had picked up the sport so quickly. He was a natural athlete, and trying to make the school team seemed just as natural.

But my enthusiasm had caused me to misjudge one of my closest friends. Dave was always the guy sitting at the back of the class. Usually, Dave didn't speak unless spoken too...and sometimes not even then. He was a high school ninja. If you didn't know Dave, you didn't know Dave. As in, you probably didn't even know he existed. A summer or two ago, I was hanging out with Dave and Gauvin in Indianapolis, and we ran into a woman who had graduated with us. She recognized Gauvin by his hair -- this is easy to do...Donald Trump has nothing on Gauvin -- and then recognized me despite my shaved head.

She had no idea who Dave was.

Dave said, "Uh, we sat next to each other in English class for, like, two years in a row."

“Weird,” she said. “I don’t remember you.”

Most people would have been insulted. Dave just shrugged. Even now, he was completely indifferent about whether people noticed him. In fact, he preferred that they didn’t. So even though I asked nicely, suggested strongly and eventually tried to force him to join me…he refused.

I was going to camp on my own.

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I love Larry Bird commercials. Maybe it's the fabulous scripting, or maybe it's because Bird always comes off like he's acting at gunpoint. At least that might explain those blank stares and the lifeless oration.

But this commercial -- which is from Bird's rookie year -- shows us Larry's playful side. Also his painfully dorky side. The commercial's climax features a hilariously fake dunk, shameless mugging for the camera and the most awkwardly delivered line in Bird's long and storied history of awkwardly delivered lines.

I hope that bottle of 7UP was worth it, Larry.


Fighting is the ugly side of athletic competition. In most cases, fighting happens when there are (rare) real or (usually) imagined threats to to someone's personal safety and/or sense of masculinity. In these situations, the person or persons involved feel the only sane reaction is to burst out in explosive "self-defense."

Of course, fighting doesn't always mean fighting. If you ask the average pickup basketball player, they will probably tell you they've almost been in a fight at least a few times if not many times. As someone who grew up in a neighborhood where fighting was the rule rather than the exception, let me tell you that fights don't "almost" happen. They either do or they don't. And when they do, they happen fast and end faster.

No, in pickup basketball, or pickup football, or even pickup hockey, people tend to threaten or even promise violence when the last thing they actually want or intend to do is actually fight. The important thing, it seems, is to appear willing to fight. This can serve the dual purpose of a) potentially intimidating someone who was accidentally or intentionally causing actual physical harm and/or b) restoring the perceived manhood that was lost.

Why do I bring all this up? Because I almost got into a fight this weekend.

But let me back up. My philosophy as a basketball player is to never go looking for trouble, but I also refuse to back down when trouble finds me. You can ask people like BadDave or Evil Ted about my various confrontations and near scuffles. Back in college, during an intramural game, somebody hooked me while I was boxing out on a free throw attempt. I swung him to the ground. He scrambled up and said, "After the game, you're dead, McHale!" (My last name was on the back of my jersey.) I told him, "Bring it. I'll be waiting right over there after the game," and I pointed toward the main exit. Oddly enough, he used another exit to leave the gym.

One time while playing ball at Lifetime Fitness, my defender kept grabbing my arm. Every play, he had a firm grip on my shooting arm...sometimes while I was shooting. Eventually, he did this while I was going up for a layup and I took a hard fall. On the other team's next possession, I let him drive past me then caught his arm and took him down. "That's what you've been doing to me every possession," I said standing over him. "Doesn't feel good does it?"

These are the things that happen during pickup basketball. They're ugly things that don't really have any place in the game. And yet, if you play often, they're almost impossible to escape.

My general approach has always been: If somebody screams at me, scream back at them even louder. If somebody gets rough with me, get rougher with them. Don't start problems, but never back down at any cost.

The problem with that philosophy is that you're flirting with danger every time you play.

To wit: Several years ago, I was again playing at Lifetime Fitness, I was engaged in a rather brutal series of pickup games. My team had won the previous game, and my offensive rebounding had been a big reason why. So as the next game was starting, this guy pointed at me and said, "I got this guy" in that pointed way that indicates he knows what I'm capable of and intends to shut me down.

He was an unusual sort of baller. On a very tall day, he might have been about 5'8". However, he was built like a power lifter. Although I'd never played against him, I'd seen this guy at Lifetime a few other times. He was always getting into "fights" -- by which I mean screaming matches -- with other players. Seriously, of the half dozen times I'd seen him around, there hadn't been a single time in which he hadn't gotten into a very heated dispute. And you know what they say about how "the only common element in all your bad experiences is you..."

Sure enough, this guy was all over me from the first check in. I tend to be in constant motion on the court. To slow me down, this guy kept grabbing my shorts and jersey. When I tried to box him out, he would give me a two-handed push in the back to dislodge me. When he'd box me out, his elbows would come flying back at me. Twice he caught me in the face. Once he got me in the throat. And these weren't casual elbows. These were Laimbeer-esque man-killers.

He was trying to hurt me.

Look, giving and receiving the occasional elbow is an unfortunate but unavoidable aspect of basketball. It has no place in the sport on any level, but it happens. My problem is when it happens repeatedly, intentionally, and without regard for other peoples' well-being. That's when the behavior becomes dangerous and irresponsible.

After his last elbow, I yelled at the guy, "What the fucking elbows!" He didn't respond. But a few possessions later, as I was finishing a fastbreak layup, he gave me another two-handed push while I was in the air. I managed to land without falling on my head or ass, but that was my snapping point. I swung my elbow with serious force into his chest to send the message that he needed to cut out the bullshit. Then I turned around and started sprinting downcourt because the action hadn't stopped and the other team was breaking the other way.

As I was approaching my top speed, two powerful hands grabbed me around the neck from behind. Because of the forward momentum, my feet slid out from under me. During the split second in which I had nothing underneath me, I was slammed hard to the ground by my neck.

What usually happens in cases like this is that adrenaline kicks in. Sure enough, I popped right back onto my feet, looking around and trying to figure out what in the hell had just happened. I saw my man glaring at me from about 10 feet away. I immediately realized he had jacked me from behind and sent me to the ground with the cheapest of cheap shots. I lunged at him but a small group of the other players had already surrounded me and held me back.

My attacker started screaming at me, "Come on! Come on! You know what you did! I will fucking kill you! I will kill you, man!"

I don't remember what I said in return, but I'm pretty sure that it was something similar. But five or six guys either holding me or standing between us. And, unbelievably, some of them were telling me I needed to calm down. "Hey, he attacked me," I yelled at somebody. Couldn't they see I was the wronged party here?

After the initial moment of rage had past, people started to wander back downcourt, and somebody said, "C'mon, let's finish the game."

"Are you fucking kidding me?" I said. "That fucker attacked me from behind. Fuck this shit." I pointed at my attacker. "This isn't over."

I stormed off the court and into the locker room to get my stuff. I was already forming a plan to wait for that guy in the parking lot when it hit me. The muscles in my neck tightened up so badly I had to sit down for a minute. The pain was suddenly so intense I felt light-headed and nauseous.

Obviously, I wasn't in any fit state to fight. Well, not fight and win at any rate.

But something about being hurt -- and realizing I might be seriously hurt -- turned my brain back on. The reality was, I'd been attacked from behind while trying to play basketball. And I'd been hurt. How badly I didn't know. I began to wonder whether I'd have to go to the doctor. Would insurance cover it? Would I miss work? Was the gym liable for anything that had happened?

This was important because at that time my health insurance was pretty shitty. The previous year, while playing pickup football, I had broken the ring finger on my left hand in two places and torn several ligaments, resulting in what is known as a Boutonniere deformity. This is "a deformed position of the finger, in which the joint nearest the knuckle (PIP) is permanently bent toward the palm while the furthest joint (DIP) is bent back away."

My finger was seriously effed up, and it took months of occupational therapy to make it look vaguely human again. And that therapy had been expensive. I didn't want to take another huge hit to my bank account...and so I wanted to find out if Lifetime was responsible for any injuries that happened on the premises.

I went to the manager to ask some questions. Of course, asking questions meant explaining everything that had happened, the escalation of physical play, the way I had responded by elbowing my attacker in the chest, and the way he had thrown me down from behind.

The first course of action was to find my attacker and question him. But by the time we went to the basketball court, he was long gone.

The manager claimed he believed me, but for legal reasons he had to investigate further. As it turns out, Lifetime has security cameras placed around the basketball court (and throughout the gym) to protect the organization from frivolous claims. He said the video wouldn't be available until the next day. He suggested that I see my doctor and then come back the next day so we could review the film.

I ended up missing the next day of work. I went to the doctor and found out I had suffered severely strained muscles and probably had a case of whiplash as well. He prescribed anti-inflammatories and rest.

The next day, I returned to the scene of the crim. The manager had isolated the game in question based on the times I'd given him. The attack looked as brutal as it had felt. Maybe more so. It looked like something you'd see in a staged WWE match, only it wasn't staged.

The manager told me that, first of all, the gym's insurance would cover any medical bills related to my injury. (I'm not sure that was actually gym policy or if the offer was made to avoid any potential lawsuits.) Second, he was (in his words) disturbed by what had happened. While watching the footage, he had seen the elbows my attacker had thrown as well as my retaliatory elbow.

None of those were a problem, he said. But the attack was another matter. After all, he pointed out, the video showed a few moments passing between the elbow and the time at which he attacked me. This suggested at least a short amount of premeditation. In other words, he had chosen to attack me.

"We can't let somebody who would do that remain a member of this gym," tha manager said.

He asked if I knew the man's name. I did not. "Then I need you to do something for me," he said. "The next time you see him here, you need to find me or one of the other manager's and report him. Don't confront him. Just come to one of us. We'll keep the footage on hand and deal with it accordingly."

The manager also suggested I file a police report, but I didn't do that. I probably should have, but that felt like too much.

A week or two later, I saw him. The funny thing is, I wasn't there to play basketball. I was there for a workout. However, you have to walk past the basketball courts to get to the locker room. I heard the familiar screaming...and, sure enough, it was him, getting in somebody's face.

The manager I had spoken to wasn't there, but the manager on duty had been appraised of the situation. He followed me to the basketball court, where I pointed out my attacker. The manager went in, pulled him out of the game, and led him to an office. My attacker saw me standing there and, based on the look on his face, realized what was happening.

I never saw him again, but the first manager I had spoken to called me the next day to tell me my attacker's membership at Lifetime had been permenantly revoked.

And that was that.

The funny thing is, somewhere inside, I felt bad about the outcome. I mean, I would have felt perfectly fine with kicking his ass out in the parking lot. But I felt some small measure of guilt that he was forever banned from the best gym in the area.

It was a very, very small measure, though.

At any rate, that experience changed the way I deal with conflicts that happen during basketball games. Rule number one? Escalation never solved the problem, it only makes things worse. Rule number two? Talk. Not scream or yell or cuss. Talk.

No, really.

So here's what happened this weekend. There's a pay-when-you-play pickup league near my house that plays on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. I've only ever gone once. It was a Wednesday night last fall. On that night, I got hit in the eye, my eye swelled up, and then I found out I had a tumor above the eye and had to have surgery. That's not why I never went back -- by the time I had recovered from surgery, my usual pickup league had started a new session -- but it didn't help.

Anyway, with my league out of session and my other basketball buddies unavailable, I decided to try the three-minutes-from-my-house league. I was the 10th guy -- and the only guy who wasn't a regular, by the way -- so we had five-on-five.

Here's the weird thing: Both teams played zone defense. Like, before the game, it was decided that both sides would play zone. I was, in fact, assigned my spot in the zone. I've played a little zone here and there, but zone defense is nearly nonexistent in pickup ball except in extreme circumstances (like if you're playing five-on-four or something).

Anyway, the opposing team had a fat guy at the base of their zone. They had him standing the the general area around the basket because (I presume) he wasn't very mobile.

Their zone was pretty soft and I was feeling pretty spry, so the first time I got the ball I drove hard to the rim. As I got there, the fat guy slid into me and I called the foul. Four or five possessions later, I drove once again, and the fat guy once again slid into me and committed the foul, only this time he screamed, "Goddamn it!" in irritation and kind of stomped around in a way that suggested he wasn't happy about the call.

Another half dozen or so possessions went by and I made another move to the cup. Only because I had been fouled on my previous two drives, I decided I should go a little stronger and try to finish through the contact I knew was going to come.

That fat guy and I collided pretty hard. He immediately yelled out "Foul!" by which he meant "offensive foul." He then adopted the age-old offensive-foul-calling strategy of stomping angrily in the other direction without pausing for debate.

Very calmly, I said, "Could you explain that call, please?"

Without turning around, he said, "Jesus Christ, you dropped the shoulder and rammed it right into my face!"

Again very calmly, I said, "You're my height. It would be impossible to drop my shoulder and hit your face."

Now he spun around, "Look, you put your shoulder into my face three times! This is a friendly pickup game and you're gonna hurt somebody! You know you did it, hell, you even called a foul on yourself last time!"

Still calm, I said, "No, I never called a foul on myself. I called it on you. That's why we retained possession."

"Fuck you," he said. "I'm telling you right now, you pull that shit again and I will fuck you up."

Now I walked right up to him. "Really?" I said. "You want to fight me?"

"Yeah, I fucking do," he yelled.

Very conversationally, I said, "Look, whatever you think happened, it happened by accident. I'm not a dirty player and I wasn't trying to hurt you. I think if you stop and think about it, you'll realize that. But you'd rather fight? You want to fight about it?"

"Yeah, I do," he said, "and I will fuck you up."

"Fine," I said, still in a conversational manner. "Then let's do that. I'm right here. I'm in perfect punching distance. If you want to fight, let's fight. You don't want to talk, so we won't talk. We'll fight."

The fat guy screamed, "You'd better get out of my face!"

"Why? You're the one threatening me. You're the one who wants to 'fuck me up.' You want to fight. Well, I'm giving you what you want. What are you going to do?"

Then he turned and walked away. Somebody else said, "C'mon guys, let's just play basketball."

On my team's next offensive possession, I lined up on the right side of the zone. The fat guy moved from the middle to my side. "I've got this side!" he screamed. I received the ball and drove right around him for an easy reverse layup (again, he was fat and slow). On the next possession, he gave me room and I drilled a three-pointer. I didn't score again, but my team went on to win the game. And winning goes a long way toward settling a lingering dispute.

Afterward, the fat guy was very quick to leave.

After he took off, I went up to the guys who were still there and said, "Hey, I hope everybody realizes I wasn't trying to hurt anybody."

"Yeah, yeah," one guy said, "we know that." Someone else spoke up and said, "I don't know what was wrong with [his name]. He's usually so chill."

Well, again, it all comes down to the perceived danger to self and sense of self. Not only was I challenging him physically, and challenging his masculinity, I was an outsider. Men are, by their nature, very territorial. This extends to pickup ball. Hey, when a new guy shows up to my regular league, I want to bust him. Not bust him up, but we like to give 'em their "rookie cookies," as my buddy Mister P says.

In the end, though, the fat guy didn't really want to fight me. I gave him every chance and he walked away. And that's how it usually goes, unless you run into a crazy psycho like the guy that attacked me at Lifetime Fitness (or unless you are that crazy psycho).

Is my somewhat revised method the "right" way to handle a conflict? I don't know. But it works for me, because it straddles the fine line between talking things out and not backing down when somebody tries to threaten you. It works for me.

Now, if the fat guy had punched me...

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Somebody call Wally "Straight Pimpin'" Szczerbiak...and fast! I've found his dream jacket on eBay for the low, low price of only $6,999.00. That's less than $7,000. And the shipping is free!

Put on a crash helmet. These pictures are going to kick your face's ass:


jacket 2
That's pure chinchilla done in crocodile, bitches.

In case you need more information than "This is the most awesome thing you will ever see" before emptying your savings account, here's the product description:

Authentic Jeff Hamilton CHINCHILLA Jacket With NBA Logos Done In CROCODILE. Absolutely Amazing. Lined In Heavy Bridal Satin With Silver Plated Snaps. Retail $14,000.00 It Is A Size XXL But Will Fit Someone 3X. Also For No Charge, We Can Cut It Down To Either An XL Or A L. Please Feel Free To Call Us With Any Questions About Additional Jackets. This Is A 1 Of A Kind.
Mmmm...heavy bridal satin with silver plated snaps. And wait, there's only one of these jackets in existence? I don't know whether to be disappointed or relieved.

In case times are too tough for you to afford something this amazing, don't worry. There are plenty of NBA-related bargains to be had on eBay. Take these game-used shoes that were once worn by former draft bust Eric Montross.

Montross shoes
Smell the sweat! Feel the history!

You know what the saddest part of this auction is? The S&H ($20) is twice what the seller is asking for the shoes ($9.99). Is that a fair price for shoes worn in an actual NBA game by somebody who -- according to Basketball-Reference.com -- finished the 1994-95 season ranked sixth in total fouls and has a Hall of Fame Probability score of 0.000? Of course not.

I should be able to get those shoes for $5.99 with free shipping.

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Once I made it my goal to play on the varsity team during my senior year, my training kicked into overdrive. Nearly everything took a back seat to working out, practicing and running drills. I was so single-mindedly devoted to this process that I couldn't imagine failure.

Of course, many things are clear in retrospect. I was working out, but my routine hadn't been designed by anyone with personal training expertise. It had, in fact, been designed by me, a high school kid who one short year ago hadn't been able to run down the block or carry a 100-pound box of weights. Furthermore, I was practicing and running drills without the benefit of an actual basketball coach -- or even a coach-like father figure -- to provide guidance.

The point is, I was working hard, but the results weren't nearly as effective as I imagined.

But I was training in a bubble of my own creation. I often practiced alone, or I played in the intramural league (which, as noted, was crappy crap basketball), or I went to outdoor courts where I was unconsciously or semi-consciously choosing competition that didn't intimidate me. That's not to say I didn't occasionally play -- and play well -- against solid competition. But I wasn't exactly being forged in the fires of adversity.

Frankly, I was winning too often against inferior competition. It inflated my sense of where I was as a basketball player.

Now, I said "nearly everything" came second to my obsession with playing basketball. There were a few things that managed to sneak in and wrestle away some of my spare time. One of those things was watching basketball. The Celtics had been struggling all season, due mostly to a) age and b) injuries to Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. But as the season was coming to a close, Bird and McHale seemed relatively healthy, and the Celtics went on a tear. They had won seven games in a row and were hot on the heels of Pat Riley's Knicks, who were leading the Atlantic Division.

On April 3, my mom took me and my buddy Greg to a Celtics-Pacers game at Market Square Arena, which was a great place to experience a live game. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of these new luxury arenas. They make the game feel like a sideshow. Market Square Arena, the old Chicago Stadium, the Boston Garden (although I never made it to the old Gah-den for a game)...those places were basketball Meccas. You went there to live a basketball game. The new arenas were built to attract as many people as possible, to make basketball seem like a family outing, or a place to take your date, or a venue to entertain clients. In short, they were built to make money, not enhance the basketball viewing experience.

Anyway, it was a great game. The previous season, the Pacers had pushed the Celtics to the limit in a very heated first round series. In the fifth and final game -- this was back when the first round series were best-of-five -- Bird, who already had a bad back, knocked himself out diving for a loose ball. He came back in dramatic fashion, scored 32 points (to go along with 9 rebounds and 7 assists in only 33 minutes), and finished off the Pacers in his last truly legendary playoff performance. Here are some highlights:

With that playoff series as a backdrop, every game against these teams seemed to have greater meaning. The crowd was electric.

Boston fell behind by 17 points early in the fourth before stating a late rally. The crowd was giving the Celtics absolute hell. That, in itself, was quite a turnaround, because Bird was from Indiana and therefore the Celtics usually got a lot of support in Indiana. (Former Pacers guard Vern Fleming once joked after a home win over the C's that "It was nice to come away with a win at the Garden.") Anyway, during a fourth quarter timeout, with everybody around us cussing and damning the Celts, Greg turned to my mom and said, "Thanks for taking us to the game, Mrs. McHale."

Remember: Kevin McHale was on the Celtics back then, and was still a major star in the league. The people around us went dead silent. They must have thought we were related to McHale. Hell, they may have thought my mom was Kevin's wife. Whatever they thought, the cussing and damning got a little muted in our section for the remainder of the game.

The Celtics almost stole the game. Near the end, Boston was down a couple points when Bird badly missed a three-pointer that might have won it. The C's were forced to foul, the Pacers hit their free throws, and Boston lost 101-97.

During the game, Bird had received a brutal shot in the back from wanna-be rival Chuck Person. Person -- who struggles that night, scoring only 8 points on 3-for-15 shooting -- had apparently decided the best way to make a name for himself in the league was to stoke this supposed rivalry with Bird, so he was always trying to go one-on-one against Larry, and occasionally that meant getting physical or taking cheap shots. Well, this particular cheap shot sent Bird to the floor.

Bird got up slowly and left the game, which was part of why the Pacers built that 17-point lead. But Bird came back and finished the game -- he had 16 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists but shot only 8-for-20 -- so I figured everything was okay.

It wasn't. Either the blow or the fall (or both) had aggravated his back injury. Bird missed the rest of the regular season. He returned for four playoff games, struggled through the Olympics -- that was the year of the Dream Team -- and then retired. So, although I didn't know it at the time, I had been there for Larry's last regular season game.

Bird's absence didn't hurt the Celtics. They finished the season with eight straight wins -- including a 97-86 home win over the Bulls, who were on pace for 70 wins at the time -- and stole the division title from the Knicks.

Another thing I had time for was my hopeless crush on my friend Cindy. Amazingly, I'd had a crush on her for over two years without making anything near what you'd call a "move." I didn't even have her phone number yet. This changed near the end of the school year. It went down like this. Most of the juniors in my school were set to take the SAT on Saturday, May 2. My entire class was on pins and needles.

I was extra nervous. Firstly because the Celtics -- who had swept the Pacers in the first round despite Bird's continuing absence -- were opening their second round series with the Cleveland Cavaliers that day, which meant I was going to miss the game. This really pissed me off. I couldn't believe my academic future was coming between me and a Celtics playoff game. Sure, I was going to record the game, but I felt like my inability to watch the game live could actually affect the outcome. No, really. I kind of believed it.

I had a second reason to be nervous. On Friday, I had been talking to Cindy about the SAT -- she was freaking out too -- and, for reasons unknown, I blurted out, "Heyyouwannagivemeacallsometime?"

"What?" she asked, apparently unable to decipher my word mush.

Haltingly, I repeated, "Do you want to...give me...a call...sometime?"

She gave me what I remember was a huge smile and said, "I'd love to!" I'm pretty sure something inside me either melted or exploded. Maybe both things happen. I don't really understand human anatomy.

So I went into the SAT thinking about everything but taking the most important test of my life to date. Would the Celtics win? Would Cindy call me? Could Cindy call me? Would the Celtics win? I knew I should be focusing, preparing myself for test taking. But those two things seemed more important than anything else could possibly be. Until the test administrator set the ScanTron form and question booklet in front of me. It hit me then, for the very first that, that "Oh fuck! I have to take the SAT!"

Sweat started to gush from my pores.

I don't remember anything about that test. Not a single thing. I blanked it from my mind. I walked out in a haze, just like everybody else who had taken it. Seriously, the image of stunned test takers shuffling out of my school looked like something out of a zombie apocalypse movie.

My buddy Dave D. and I shambled across the street to his house to find out the result of the Celts-Cavs game. During his early childhood, his family had lived in a little town just outside of Cleveland, so Dave was (and is) a huge fan of the Browns and the Cavaliers, two of history's most depressing teams. So whenever those squads were any good -- and the Cavs had tied the Trail Blazers for the second-best record in the league that season, so they were pretty good -- Dave got extra worked up.

As it turned out, the game was just ending. Well, technically speaking. It had apparently ended a long time ago, but even back then David Stern was forcing teams to play the full 48 minutes even in the case of a blowout. Which is exactly what this was. The Celtics lost 101-76.

I felt so incredibly low. The SAT had fried my brain and I was pretty certain I had bombed it. Then I walked in on the end of an ass kicking, where my team was the ass getting kicked. I drove home and my mom reminded me that I had to mow the lawn. Back then, because we had a dog, "mowing the lawn" meant more than just cutting the grass. Before firing up the lawn mower, I had to pull out the pooper scooper and clean up the care packages my dog, Pookie, had left throughout our giant back yard. (For the record, Pookie was named after the teddy bear owned by Garfield.)

That was my day: Eff up the SAT, see the Celtics get humiliated, scoop up shit and mow the lawn. Cue the confetti.

My mom brought me a glass of water when I was finished cutting the grass. We were talking about SAT when I heard the phone ring. I literally threw my cup aside and went running helter-skelter into the house.

"Hello," I said into the receiver, slightly out of breath.

"Hey, is this Matt?" It was Cindy.

"Yeah!" I said, sounding way too excited.

"I told you I'd call," she said, explaining why she had, in fact, called me.

"I know!" I said, still too excited. No, really, I was waaaaay too excited. You'd think I'd just seen a double complete rainbow or something.

I managed to not scare her off by being a complete and total spaz, and we had one of those stupid, teenage first phone calls. It was short, but felt totally sweet. For me, it redeemed what had been a pretty crappy day.

When my mom asked how the call went, I said something totally lame like, "It was a really nice call." I probably sighed in happiness, presumably with cartoon hearts circling my head. Did I mention I was a huge dork back then? (Some people who know me now would argue I should use a strikethrough on the "back then" part.)

With the SAT out of the way, I resumed my basketball über alles lifestyle, save for a) the occasional phone calls to or from Cindy, b) nights out with my buddies, or c) shifts at the Ponderosa.

I should also point out that I had to watch the Celtics get eliminated by the Cavaliers. The C's actually recovered from their Game 1 blowout by winning Game 2 in Cleveland 104-98 behind Robert Parish's game-high 27 points. Mind you, the Cavs had lost only six home games all season. Boston then won Game 3 too. Reggie Lewis was on fire. Team chemistry was great. It looked like the Celtics were on a collision course for an Eastern Conference Finals showdown with the Bulls.

Then Bird came back.

Here's the thing. The Celtics had been forced to play long stretches without Bird. They had found a rotation that worked. Everything was clicking. And, frankly, the team was feeding off Reggie Lewis, who had taken over as the team leader. But when Bird came back, things changed. On paper, Larry's return should have pushed Boston to the next level. Instead, Bird disrupted the flow that had been established while he was rehabbing.

The Celtics brought Larry back for Game 4, probably hoping to fire up the crowd and the team, and therefore take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Credit the Cavaliers -- who really were a very good team -- for weathering the storm. Bird didn't play well (4 points, 1-for-5, 2 rebounds, 3 assists), but Reggie Lewis was on fire (42 points, 16-for-28). The game was close all the way. It was tied at the end of regulation. The final play was drawn up for Lewis, who inexplicably dumped it off the Bird at the last second. Bird missed the shot and the game went to OT. At the end of OT, the Celts had the ball down two. Lewis again deferred to Bird...who again missed a buzzer-beater.

Boston lost 114-112.

The teams traded home blowouts over the next three games. The Cavaliers finished the Celtics off in Game 7 in Cleveland as Bird ended his NBA career by scoring 12 points in a 122-104 loss. And at the end of that series, I was (rather painfully) forced to admit (if only to myself) that the Celtics had -- in this particular instance -- been better without Larry Bird. It was one of the saddest days of my young life.

But life always goes on. And I had training to take my mind off of Larry's last game.

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cable guy ball

Update! I just added the rest of the reader submissions this morning, so I'm going to leave this post up for today.

Social activists and sensitivity trainers will tell you that it's wrong to stereotype people. But without labels, we wouldn't be able to tell the Plushies from the Furries, and let me tell you, there's nothing more embarrassing than accidentally coming on to someone with a giant, plush phallus when all they wanted to do was roleplay the werecheetah bodyguard of a noted archeologist/scientist.

So in certain cases, stereotyping is actually very important. For that reason, I've created a list of pickup player types so you'll be able to accurately discriminate against the various people you play with and against. Keep in mind that there can be crossover between player types.

If you think I missed a player type, submit an entry in the comments.

The Scorer: This player believes his one and only responsibility -- certainly in pickup games, and maybe even in life itself -- is to score the basketball. But you know, that might be understating things a little. More than a mere responsibility, The Scorer seems to believe that shot attempts are his birthright. Every shot you take is a shot you're stealing from him. Every time you don't pass him the rock, a little piece of his soul dies a horrible, gasping, shuddering death.

Okay, it's not always that bad. There's a spectrum of ball-hoggery. But when The Shooter touches the ball, his basic mindset is to always look for his own shot. Looking for an open teammate is a last resort intended for emergency situations only.

The Passer: The Passer is the polar opposite of The Scorer. Where The Scorer looks only to shoot the ball, The Passer wants only to dish off to someone else. This could be because a) he doesn't believe in his own offense or b) because he genuinely believes the best contribution to winning basketball is a good pass. It's a great philosophy, except for two things. First, The Passer is usually reluctant to shoot...and the defense knows that. This means The Passer's defender is free to play off him and become a defensive pest.

Second, The Passer wants so badly to make the assist that he will force passes that should never be. Worse, he may try to make spectacular passes when a simple pass will do. I can't tell you how many times I've been open on a fast break and a Passer has -- instead of a simple bounce pass -- tried to hit me with some crazy behind-the-back bullshit that misses my ready hands by feet. Not inches. Feet.

The Shooting Point Guard: Just like NBA players, pickup ballers rely on their point guard to bring the ball up court and initiate the offense. Of course, there's no real offense in pickup ball, so "initiate the offense" basically means "pass the ball to somebody...anybody." The problem with The Shooting Point Guard is that he's dribbling up the floor thinking, "I'm in rhythm. I should shoot it."

You can see it in their eyes. Passing PGs are glancing around looking for teammates. The Shooting Point Guard has his eyes up toward the rim. Evil Ted sometimes falls into this category. I always know when he's going to chuck, because his eyes get locked in on the hoop and he usually tells me, "Matt, go in for the rebound." I usually respond by saying, "Only take the shot if it's open." But by that point, it's already too late. That shot's going up, and all I can do is crash the boards.

The Shooter: Let's get this straight right up front: The Shooter and The Scorer are not the same player. The Scorer never limits himself to any particular kind of bad shot. He'll chuck it up from anywhere. The Scorer is just as likely to jack a lousy three-pointer as he is to drive into the paint and airball a layup. The Shooter, on the other hand, only takes shots from long distance. In most cases, The Shooter's shot of choice is the three, although he won't hesitate to take what I call "The Luol Deng" (a long-range, contested two-pointer).

If there is an open path to the basket, The Shooter will not use it, so don't bother to scream "Drive it!" at him. It's not going to happen. You might as well scream "Transmute lead into gold!" or "Make LeBron James a non-douche!" The Shooter will spend most of his time running from three-point line to three-point line, but in those rare occasions when he finds himself under the rim and in possession of the basketball, he will usually panic and pass it back out.

The Coach: This helpful fellow knows exactly what his teammates should do in every possible circumstance, and he won't hesitate to scream his advice:

"Shoot it!"

"Stop shooting and drive it!"

"You've gotta crash the boards!"

"Stay in front of your man!"

"You have the advantage down low! Use it!"

There are two kinds of coaches: The Bad Coach and The Good Coach. The Bad Coach spews nothing but bad advice. Everything he says is wrong. This man is soundly ignored. The Good Coach actually knows what he's talking about and his suggestions and tactical adjustments are usually on the money. However, this man is soundly ignored too. Pickup ballers don't want advice. They really don't. Which is why coaches are either secretly or openly hated.

The funny thing about The Coach is that he rarely follows his own advice or makes any adjustments to his own game. He will tell you to take better shots right before attempting an off-balance three-pointer from four feet behind the line with a hand in his face. Or he'll tell you to crash the boards while he stands at half court with his hands at his sides.

The Big Man: In pickup ball, any player taller than 6'0"-ish becomes The Big Man. This is never the player's choice. The role is forced on him due to the perception that better-than-average height should automatically translate into the following skills: inside scoring, rebounding and shot blocking. Teammates will become hilariously frustrated when it turns out that The Big Man can't do any of these things any better than anyone else. People will sniff, "He can't even score in the post. What a waste of being tall. Man, if I was that size..."

But you know what? It sucks being The Big Man because The Big Man is the only player who enters a game with specific expectations on him. It's generally understood that not everybody can shoot, or pass, or whatever. There is a basic understanding and an acceptance that not all players are created equal. But The Big Man is always expected to be good -- even very good -- at big man things.

And God help him if he actually is good at big man things. For instance, if you can score well inside, people will start to hack you. If you dominate the boards, people will start going over your back or trying to illegally push you out of position. After all, if you're that good, opponents feel they are entitled to "even the playing field" by cheating.

The Tall Guy: Once it has been confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that The Big Man doesn't have big man skills and probably won't ever be able to develop them, he becomes The Tall Guy. Because that's all he is: a tall guy.

The Point Center: This is a Big Guy or Tall Guy who -- possibly because he grew up watching Magic Johnson highlights -- wants with all his heart to be the point guard. However, unlike Magic, The Point Center doesn't have actual point guard skills. Despite having no handles, he'll try to bring the ball up court. Despite having hands that are as large and unfeeling as a Christmas ham, he will try to thread the needle through multiple defenders on the fast break, possibly going behind his back in the process.

You'll feel compelled to point out, either gently or with various colorful curse words, that he needs to give up the rock and get his ass in the paint. But you shouldn't bother. Nothing can convince The Point Center that he sucks as a ball handler/playmaker.

The Little Man: The opposite of The Big Man. Whereas people seem to think The Big Man was born with big man skills, The Little Man is expected to have developed specific skills to compensate for his lack of height. Specifically, passing and shooting. The Little Man is also expected to be faster than other players because, well, he's such a wee tiny man. It's physics, right? Smaller should equal faster. I think there's a formula that proves that.

The Little Big Man: Every once in a while, you'll come across a virtual midget who repeatedly tries to post up. The Little Big Man might even crash the boards. These guys are pretty rare and always freak me out a little. Kind of like a Bearded Lady.

The Role Player: There are certain pickup ballers who don't have a particular specialty, but they can do a little bit of everything. They aren't necessarily a high percentage shooter, but they can hit shots. They don't dominate the glass, but they will grab key rebounds. More importantly, they don't hog the ball or make obviously stupid mistakes. Generally speaking, they get along with their teammates...mostly because, as stated, they don't hog the ball or make obviously stupid mistakes.

The Hustle Guy: The Hustle Guy is like The Role Player after exposure to cosmic rays. He's as relentless as a movie serial killer and as non-stop as the Energizer Bunny. The Hustle Guy does all the right things while also a) sprinting on offense, b) going balls out on defense, and c) fighting for every loose ball. This is the guy everybody wants on their team and nobody wants to have to play against.

The Superstar: The Superstar is clearly and obviously the best player on the floor. Mind you, this can vary from league to league. In some leagues, I may be The Superstar. In better leagues -- the ones filled with guys who have played Division 1 college ball -- I may become The Role Player. So superstardom is based in part on the talent level of the league.

The 12th Man: Simply put, The 12 Man is a bad basketball player. This player has almost no discernable game skills. At times, you'll wonder if they have ever actually played basketball before that night. Worse, they never seem to et any better, no matter how long they play. (There's a 12th Man in our league that has been around for years. Evil Ted recently asked, "How is it even possible he's been playing with us for five years and hasn't gotten any better? It shouldn't take five years to learn how to hit a layup.) Unfortunately, in pickup ball you can't bench bad players. You have to let them play. You can try to shame them into leaving on their own, but it's harder to do that than you might think.

In general, The 12th Man doesn't add anything, but depending on the relative talent levels of the league, he may not take anything away either. Unless he's also...

The Handicap: These are the truly bad players. You know, the kind of player that, if he ends up on your team, you start preparing for a bitter loss. Having this player on your team is the equivalent of starting every game down by 5 or more points. The Handicap is just that bad.

The Handicap struggles to score from anywhere. His defender knows this and wanders around, disrupting passes and providing constant double-teaming. This means The Handicap is almost always open. Sometimes, out of the corner of your eye, you'll see a teammate open under the hoop. At this point, your basketball training kicks in and you pass the ball. A microsecond after that ball leaves your hand, you will realize you just dished to The Handicap. It's like one of those slow motion "Noooooooooo!" moments from a movie, because you know The Handicap is going to fuck things up. Maybe the pass will careen off his hands. Or maybe he'll catch the pass but then lose the ball on the way up. Maybe he'll try some fancy move and bobble the ball out of bounds (there's a Handicap in my league that we sometimes call "The Human Turnover"). If he actually gets the shot off, it's almost always either an airball or a brick.

The Handicap is also terrible on defense. If there's a Handicap on both teams, they usually get matched up and basically nullify each other with pure bawful. But if there's not an opposing Handicap, then the one Handicap will be victimized all night. Even bad offensive players can light it up when being guarded by The Handicap. And if you switch off to help or try to provide a double team, The Handicap won't rotate or provide any other help. Some people will say it's like playing 5-on-4. Well, it's more like 5-on-3. One or even two people on the other team will always be open. That's how terrible The Handicap's defense is.

Unfortunately, in pickup leagues, everybody gets to play, so you can't banish The Handicap to the bench. Well, not usually. However, if there's a situation where the teams are playing with subs, The Handicap is sitting out, and it's game point (or close), the team with The Handicap will try to let the substitution go by without getting him back in the game. The opposing team is usually wise to this, though, and they demand The Handicap sub back into the game.

From clicc916: "Lastly, I'd like recommend changing the Handicap Guy to the David Kahn Guy because this guy makes all the wrong decisions. It's like matter and anti-matter, just in terms of basketball. It's not that he's just incompetent; it's as if he's doing everything possible to purposely choose the most wrong decision. You can't blame him because it's not a choice for him--to him, it's just the way of life and there IS no other way to live it. He can't defend his actions because, frankly, how could you NOT see that Darko is one of the best passing big men of all time?"

The Lockdown Defender: The title says it all. God help you if you ended up being defended by this guy.

The All-Star Defender: This guy plays what I call "All-Star Defense." Basically, he completely ignores defensive fundamentals while going all out for blocked shots and/or gambling for steals. The All-Star Defender won't actually play any defense unless he thinks it would look good on a personal highlight reel.

The Specialist: This guy has one very specific, very honed skill. Maybe he can shoot threes. Maybe he blocks shots. But whatever it is, that skill is the only thing he can do. He literally cannot do anything else. And if he tries to do something else, it usually fails in somewhat spectacular fashion.

For instance, there's a Tall Guy in my pickup league that is pretty good at blocking shots. Don't get me wrong. He's not a strong defensive player...but he blocks a lot of shots. That may sound contradictory, but if you play pickup ball, you know what I mean. Anyway, this particular Tall Guy -- while strangely proficient at swatting the ball -- isn't a strong rebounder and his attempts to score are a tragedy. (Evil Ted calls him "Can't Hit Layups Guy.") He has no other definable basketball skill that ranks better than "below average"...but he can block shots.

The Deceivingly Athletic Guy: The DAG shows up looking like he just walked off a Men's Health cover shoot, which might lead you to believe he's a really good athlete and therefore a really good basketball player. Well, hey may be a good athlete, but athletic prowess in, say, carving out rock hard abs doesn't necessarily translate into jump shooting skills. It becomes glaringly apparent very quickly that The DAG has no game, and he rarely sticks around longer than a few games. After all, he has an appointment at the tanning salon.

The Transient: This is a person who has never played basketball and isn't interested in learning, but he decides to play for a game or a night to "loosen up" or "get some exercise." The Transient is actually worse than The Handicap, because Handicaps at least kinda-sorta understand the basic elements of the sport. (This is the ball...that's the basket...) And the Transient feels no shame whatsoever about how his disinterest is killing his team or even ruining the entire game...

...because everybody has the right to play, don't they?

Update! Reader submissions:

The Frequent Traveler: From Marc d.: "This guy travels so much on every play that eventually the other team stops trying to call him on it. Luckily, it doesn't matter anyway, because The Frequent Traveller has no discernible game to speak of, and his opponents actually want him to have the ball. Eventually, The Frequent Traveller's own teammates will begin to call him on it in order to get the ball out of his hands."

The New Gear Guy: From Mike: "The guy who shows up with the brand new jordans, shiny under armour/nike jersey and the like. You'd think someone who invests that much in basketball gear would have some skills but it is almost always not the case. The guy with the beat up shoes and sleeve ripped tshirt is the superstar."

The Crafty Old Vet: From Japes: "You know the guy who used to be good in his younger years but not so much anymore. You can tell that this guy used to have game because he has good instincts: always knows where to go, who to pass to, etc. Except he's gotten so old (usually in his 50s) that he sometimes he can't make the play anymore so he resorts to dirty little tricks like shoving your lower back on a rebound, pushing you during loose balls, warding off during layups, etc."

The Double D: From Heretic: "There's the Double D or the double dribbler who simply cannot understand that once you stop dribbling the ball you can't start dribbling again. Attempting to explain that to him is like explaining quantum mechanics to a bowl of chicken soup."

The Weird Shooter: From Heretic: "There is also the weird shooter who shoots the ball in the most weird and bizarre way imaginable but he keeps making them. There was a guy I used to play against who used to shoot the ball like a soccer player throwing the ball inbound but he was high percentage shooter especially from beyond the arc."

The Headless Chicken: From Edamamepyjamas: "This is the guy who is constantly moving without purpose in the offensive half-court, destroying open space and getting in everyone's way. Often, these guys will cut to the basket in front of a ball-handler who managed to beat his man off the dribble, inadvertently brining a help defender to cut off the drive. Also, never has and never will set a screen."

The Referee: From LotharBot: "Insists on calling fouls whenever he thinks he sees them, even if he's not involved. He might not be near the play or have a good angle on it, but he just knows there was a foul."

The Donaghy: From LotharBot: "All of his foul calls are for a nefarious purpose. He probably doesn't have money on the game, but maybe he wants to speed it up so he can get shuffled onto another team, or slow it down so he can stay on the court longer, or maybe he just wants to annoy you."

The Half-Gamer: From LotharBot: "Has plenty of skills, but doesn't have the stamina to finish the game. When he loses his legs, it's like going from game 2 Ray Allen to game 3 Ray Allen."

Sir Hacks-A-Lot: From David: "A defensive player who's "defense" consists of constant fouling whenever he's beaten by his man. Possibly a dirty player. Universally hated."

The Once In A Blue Moon Guy: From Bateman's Legal Counsel: "He plays but, like his name suggests, infrequently. Soccer, or some other sport, is his priority and he's been busy playing that for the last 6 weeeks. But he wants to get back to hoops, so here he is. He's rusty -- no ballhandling, shots hit nothing but backboard, telegraphed passes, etc. -- but he'll be damned if he's going to practice before actually playing. This rustiness usually results in him simultaneously playing the role of 'The Handicap.' He may show up for 2-3 sessions in a row, but then he's gone."

The Rock In The Stream: From an anonymous reader: "This is the guy who has no idea that he is supposed to move after he passes (or move without the ball at all on offense), or that he should switch if a pick occurs. Usually, he is large and slow too. These are the guys you love playing against, because you can run your defender right into them and they will not move."

The Rugby Player: From kaos021: "He's the guy who believes basketball is full contact and will hack, trip, and toss people whenever possible and not understand why it's a foul. After all, they're just playing hard."

The Unassumingly Good Basketball Player: From illogicaljedi: "He comes to the park looking like he's part of another subculture in which he probably is or at least dabbles in (i.e., hippie, surfer, rocker, artist, ect.), probably a basketball minority, always has the worst defender on him in the beggining ends up schooling the court with the best defender on him in the end."

The Crybaby: From an anonymous reader: "The guy who bitches about: the weather, the water fountain, the rules, the court, the wind, the net, the rim, his shoes, his socks, his health, each person there, his high school's coach who cut him or sat him, any play (calls something every time he's beat), etc. (To the crybaby, I say: GET STOKED! You are shooting hoops. Life is short.)"

The Rhythm Guy: From an anonymous reader: "Super talented, extremely quick, great hops and makes aesthetically pleasing moves. Makes that WOW play every so often. Can even be the hands-down best player on the floor for stretches, leaving someone who's never seen him play in awe. But really just an average player that lacks basic basketball skills necessary to be a consistent force at any level. This is a guy that when he hits that rythm (once every 10 games), can be devestating. But overall, he is constantly struggling, even again weak competition."

The Girl: From AK Dave: "Girls in pickup ball present a slew of issues, but the biggest one is the most obvious. If you are unfortunate enough to draw their defensive assignment, or if they somehow get switched onto you, its like driving in the 'double traffic fines' lane. Fuck up just THIS much, and you're going to pay for it. Any mistake you made will be greeted with an 'OOOOOOOOOOOoooooohhh!!! DAMN! SHE JUST SCHOOOOOOOOLED YOU!' Similarly, if she manages to hit a jumper, grab a rebound, or complete a pass in your general vicinity, you've been 'clowned.' By a girl!

"The girl might be really good -- I've seen girls who can fill it up from 3 and possess strong fundamentals. On the other hand, she might be really bad, in which case she is a sort of handicap, but the difference is, she also is a sort of 'built-in excuse' for the team she is playing on. Of course, whoever uses that excuse is a douche, but I think 'the douche' was one of your player archetypes as well, no?"

The Deceptively Good Jumper: From SirGirthNasty: "I'd call myself the 'Deceptively Good Jumper.' I'm only 5'10" and 170lbs. However, I suffer from Chicken leg-itis, and this somehow makes players think I probably can't jump. Through some bizarre twist of fate, I'll always be playing against someone with calf muscles that look like they were forged from iron and the suffering of children. But as it turns out, I frequently am a better leaper and as a result I get a lot of blocks in typical games. One night in my league, after about 17 blocks which made my ego become astronomically over-sized, someone commented 'How the fuck are you doing that with your skinny ass legs?' The answer: I have no fucking idea. It just happens. Now if I could just develop a better outside shot..."

The Zero Effort Guy: From an anonymous reader: "Although he has decent fundamental skills, he constantly refuses to show any form of effort. Not hustling after loose balls, not playing any defense or offense, trotting around the court, not setting picks or literally doing anything. Actually he is making his teammates wonder why he even plays the game. The only time you'll even notice him is when he chucks up a lazy 3-pointer or occasionally blocking a shot, which he uses as excuse for another 5 mins of doing nothing again."

The Excuse: From clicc916: "This guy has an excuse for anything he does, right or wrong (however, excuses are usually made for what he does wrong). Whether he can't run the floor because he just got done with a triathalon earlier in the day (barefoot!), or whether his shot is off because of that time his hand was broken from punching through a wall to save children in a burning house, he has an excuse for everything."

The And-1 Guy: From clicc916: "He has nothing but highlight reels in his head--which almost never really translates to the game. He's the one who dribbles through your leg just to miss the layup. He also trys to create overly exaggerated crossovers and spin moves en route to an almost guaranteed turnover. Every possession becomes his personal audition for the And-1 Mixtape Tour. Essentially, his only value is his moderate ball-handling skills. Everything else he does is laughable. He is often the New Gear Guy."

The Asshole: From clicc916: "He's like the And-1 Guy, but he can actually score/pass/defend/etc. He's different from the Superstar because he has no class. Every posession is a blank canvas to embarass his defender(s). Instead of humbling greatness, he just wants everyone to know that he is the alpha dog, and that nobody on the court can compare. winning or losing is secondary to him being better than others and letting everyone know about it. He will also be the guy who, after a dunk on/over a middle-school kid, will get the ball, set it down on the floor for the opposing team to pick up, then casaully walk away with his nose in the air. Nobody wants this guy because of his Level-10 Douchebaggist Attitude."

The Siamese Twins: From clicc916: "Technically, not one person, but two. They play on your "team" but effectively run the offense through themselves. They logically assume that you and the other teammates can not be trusted since they don't know your style of play and so exclude you from the game. Splitting the two apart will not do--they'll just go to another court, or leave if they don't get to play together."

The Overdribbler: From Hellshocked: "Every league I've played in has at least one. This is the guy who has every single And-1 mix tape memorized and whose sole purpose on the court is to cross people over. He is not happy unless he is playing point guard even though the only pass he knows is the no-look turnover. If he actually manages to drop someone he will howl for 30 seconds about the breaking of ankles and act as if he has just hit the game winning shot even though his team is down 20. In my experience, these guys are typically bad shooters. It is almost as if they were given a basketball but lacked access to a rim so their ball handling is all they ever worked on."

The Good Fat Guy: From Hellshocked: "Deceptively quick (at least for the pickup league), decent in the post, good shooter. Can use his bulk to defend taller players in the post and to get his shot off. Think Glen Davis."

The Bad Fat Guy: From Hellshocked: "Never runs on defense, barely makes it to the free-throw line on offense, a foul waiting to happen. Can set a damn good screen if he ever gets in position, however, and his profuse sweating makes him a pain to defend. Think Michael Sweetney minus all the skills that got him to the NBA."

The Resident Tough Guy: From Hellshocked: "For some reason, every league has a dude that most people just try to avoid upsetting. It could be that every time he is fouled it leads to a needless argument, it could be that he is bigger and stronger than anyone else, he might have killed a man with his bare hands or maybe he just takes any opportunity available to out-shout everyone. He is generally not very good but is treated like a star. As in prison, a good, quick, hard foul on this guy is a quick way to earn respect."

The Stranger in a Strange Land: From Hellshocked: "The guy who isn't from the area, the city or perhaps even the country who is playing at that specific court for the first time. They don't know the tacit norms that govern the style of play (he might be a much more physical defender than is typically tolerated in the league, for example, or the very opposite). He is typically quiet, rarely makes calls and does his best to blend in and become "the roleplayer". He is typically afforded more leniency, especially if he does not speak the language."

The Jargon Abuser: From Heretic: "The guy who has no idea WTF he's saying but will yell it out regardless of the situation. Examples include:

"Watch the weak side!!" when the team is just trotting up the court

"Zone! Zone! Zone!" When clearly they're playing man to man

"Watch the pick and roll!" when a guy is posting up

"They're coming at us with the Triangle offense!" when 3 guys in a row make passes without dribbling.
The Fat Guy/Smoker/Terribly Out-Of-Shape Guy: From BleedingHeartPessimist: "Even by the often-low standards of the pick-up court, this guy loses his wind embarassingly fast. Often interesects with the Tall Guy, and will quickly morph into The Handicap."

The Hell-Just-Froze-Guy: From Geert: "A player who can't play, never knows where to run, barely knows the concept of screens but not how to set or roll of them and can't play defense. His assigned defender can play of him to doubleteam or play help defense a lot, and still he never gets the ball. But then suddenly his teammates get him the ball (out of pity or emergency) and he suddenly hits a weird long range shot or makes a spectaculair drive with an awkward spinmove or backwards layup, and his defender feels stupid because he left him alone once again."

The Highlight Reel Guy: From gebwel: "The guy who insists on recreating/imitating ESPN's recent Top 10 plays, regardless of his ability and/or the situation. he'll throw a behind the backboard shot - just because kobe did it the night before - when a simple layup will do. or he'll try a jason williams-style no look pass from halfcourt, even if there's not a single opponent between him and a teammate waiting under the basket."

The 1-Layup Wonder: From an anonymous reader: "Does one type of layup -- in our league, it´s a young dude with no skills always going for the reverse layup -- which is really nice, since it´s like once you figured him out, he gets easy to defend."

The Bad Breath Guy: From an anonymous reader: "It seems that this bastard cannot resist eating a tuna sandwich minutes before playing. Or, worse, he's one of those coffee drinking guys who never ever brushes teeth, resulting in that foul deep deep deep rot air that gets expelled into your face because, of course, you will have to guard him."

The Crossover Carry Guy: From an anonymous reader: "Another clown who watches too much Mixtape reruns. The ball magically floats shoulder high, cradled between palm and forearm for a 2 count (maybe a 3 or a 4) as he shakes and bakes, oblivious to the infraction he's blatantly committing. He gets sour when called on it, stops doing it for a few possessions, but then, of course, reverts."

The Sweat Bomb: From an anonymous reader: "Dude the flow from your sweat glands is rivaled only by the flood sluices on the 3 Gorges Dam. It never dawns on you to bring more than one shirt does it. No, didn't think so."

Mr. Swag: From an anonymous reader: "This guy walks around like he's God...He doesn't really say much to anyone. He is clearly the best player on the floor. He makes an effort to make every move look effortless. He constantly looks like he is disintersted and merely going through the motions. He routinely passes up wide open looks. He can seemingly take over the game whenever he pleases, yet he waits until game is in duece to exert any effort and typically he is pretty successful. No matter what this guy always acts like he would rather be somewhere else and he is just killing time. He never calls a foul no matter how hard he is hacked. He always leaves it to the opponent to call the foul for him."

The And 1 Faux Prophet Clown: From an anonymous reader: "Guy gets fouled while shooting, calls out AND ONE no matter how poor a shot it is or how remote its chances of actually finding the hole. Great fun is had by me pointing out every single time that 1) we are not shooting foul shots in this particular game but if he likes we could take a minute to vote on changing the format of the pick up game to accommodate his wishes to shoot foul shots and 2) his shot has to actually go in for it to qualify for the claim of AND ONE, which, because of his clear lack of skill, did not happen."

The Line Hawk Last Touch Hawk: From an anonymous reader: "Even if this dude doesn't have a decent angle to make the call of ball in or out, he makes the call. In his team's favor. He could be lollygagging up the court trailing on a fast break but will, with great conviction, declare that the ball was dribbled on the baseline or went out off an opposing player 60 feet ahead of him. The probability of one of these bullshit calls increases logarithmically as game point nears."

The Cherrypicker: From clicc916: "Assuming you're playing in a full-court game, this is the guy who makes a half-ass effort to get back on defense (when really, he's just tooling around near half-court line). He's going to wait for his teammates to get the rebound then demand it be passed to him cause he's, like, totally open. He could be considered a lay-up all-star, just don't make him play defense."

The Escaped Prisoner: From an anonymous reader: "I play in a league with some interesting dynamics. The Escaped Prisoner is a product of one local Native American Crime Family. Every once in while one of the family gets outta jail after knifing somebody or stealing fish from the fish ladders. They hone their bball skills every day and pack on a ton of muscle while locked up. The Escaped Prisoner delights in punishing us softies and releasing their years of frustration on the court in violent fashion. If you want to win you must shoot jump shots. Going in the lane means losing teeth."

The Martyr: From an anonymous reader: "When you go thru the whole game getting everyone involved making sure theyre actively engaged, then when game point comes, you drop everything, full court press old ladies, undercut priests and prepare to eat everyone's children if that's what it takes to seal the 'W'." See also Pickup Martyr.

The Shelless Turtle: From an anonymous reader: "Kind of like the Stranger in a Strange Land but instead you stop playing to your strengths and continuously try to do all the things you don't normally do to either a) display your well-roundedness and/or b) because some ahole said you couldn't do those things and you hate stereotypes."

The Samurai: From TransINSANO: "Think Kobe Bryant when he's doing his Black Mamba act. This guy takes things way too seriously, basketball is his way of life and he is super focused at it, or at least he wants you to think so. Even if his friend suffers a bad ankle sprain and can't play anymore, instead of offering to help or take him home, he'll just say, "you ok?" and keep playing. Good or bad, he's playing every possession as if it's the most important thing you've ever seen."

The One-and-Done: From Clifton: "Guy who looks, at the start of the game, to be one of the less-favorable stereotypes on the list. However, he gets the ball on the 2nd or 3rd possession and nails a long jumper or executes a great drive to the hoop for a layup. You think your initial impression was wrong, and try to feed him the ball on the next few possessions, but your initial impression was right -- he actually has no game -- it just so happens that his "Hell froze over" moment came the first time he touched the ball."

The Shaver: From an anonymous reader: "The guy who is so sickened by having to play on the same team with the scorer or the siamese twins that he will do anything in his power to make sure his team loses. He will often resort to matador defense coupled with no offensive effort. He has been known to run down the court and keep running right to the showers without uttering a word."

The Brother: From an anonymous reader: "The brother tags along with his kin very infrequently. They play as a pair, and the brother bringing him along has an apparent 'mothering' need to teach him the fundamentals during play. The brother IMMEDIATELY fills the role of the traveller and the handicap simultaneously, however worsened by the fact that big brother will consistently pass him the ball to give him the chance to shoot, effectively bringing the level of effort in game to a 0.2. People usually like the the guy who brings his brother, as he may often be the role player. The tragic tandem seldom leads to any satisfying gameplay, and is an auto W for the opposing team."

The "I Score Or It's A Foul" Guy: From pl: "My friend is this guy. He will debate you, show him the skin where you slapped him, and bitch until you want to go home if you don't give him the foul. Funny because he's also the "Superstar" too being a former college player."

The Decoy: From Blue Mouse: "This is the guy that has something weird about him -- maybe a hairy mole on his forearm, or blood trickling down his shirt from his sensitive nipples -- and it distracts you from the game, allowing him to get the drop on you."

The Wil Wheaton: From Blue Mouse: "Generally a new player that is eager to impress the vets. He usually yells, "Good D!" after getting hacked and will call a foul on himself despite only grazing his man."

The Honest Abe: From LA Huey: "He willingly calls violations on himself that nobody suspected (ie. reverse possession call because he actually touched it last). He also only calls fouls that the NBA called in the 80s. But even then, its usually because the foul was so obvious or painful that other player insist he take it.
btw, good work here. The pick-up ball guides and narratives have always been my favorites."

The Glue/The Difference From Cody A: "The Glue is the guy that makes a team work. He's usually not the best at anything but he sees things that other guys don't and brings the team together. In a 3 on 3 game with rotating teams, his team always ends up winning, even though he's not the best player. Can often be negated by The Cancer."

The Cancer From Cody A: "A good player in games of 21 and 1 on 1, but struggles in a game situation due to his own inattentiveness. Can score well in patches, can't play help defense and misses guys who are wide open. Can be helped by having good passing players on his team."

The Kamikaze: From JKain: "This Guy hits the floor on the end of every head-down-drive to the hoop, always chucking up a shot during the fall- more often than not resulting in an airball. Most of the time without any contact like he stumbled over his own feet. Think of a talentless D-Wade without foul-calls.
Sometimes looks like he fought a hell-of-a war out there afterwards...just without really contributing anything (other than hurting his team...and himself)."

The I-Have-This-Old-Injury Guy: from milaz: "He sits back on defense because he has an old ankle injury, of course from playing basketball. He gets the rebound and throws the ball down to offense like its american football and expects his teammates to score. If they don't he whines and looks at them like they failed him. He comes down court for an occasional three that he misses... due to that injury. He can't move much, but wants to play. He won't play all out but the rest of his teammates should."

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