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Imagine walking into a bar, going up to a couple dancing and saying “I got next.”  If your lucky, you might just win a trip to the hospital.  In pick-up basketball however, it is totally acceptable.

The entire concept of a place where total strangers meet and engage in an organized activity sounds a little strange, but nowhere else can you really meet new people with such ease.  Characters of all different sizes, shapes, languages, and beliefs can come and participate in this universal sport.  Even though you may only share a game or two with someone, basketball provides a glimpse into their personalities.

Here are some of them that I’ve encountered in my experience…

Pick-up Basketball Personalities:

The Selfless Defender – This guy will play hard-nosed defense and hustle for every board.  He hates to shoot and much rather pass if off than having to finish.  Sometimes he hurts the team by not taking open shots but overall, they are excellent for team chemistry.

The Black Hole – Once the ball goes in, it never comes back out.  The person that most people hate to play with.  Whenever he touches the ball the urgency to shoot is so great that resisting it will result in a heart attack.  Usually the other team will intentionally leave the black hole open because they love it when he gets the ball.

The Casual Player – Coming out to get exercise.  The casual player knows that basketball will provide an excellent cardiovascular workout.  They usually demonstrate some athleticism, but don’t count on winning.  He is not here to really compete.

The Old Man – Usually a very intelligent player, he is well aware of his limitations.  Craftiness is the name of the game.  The old man will mind fuck you into submission.  With an arsenal of tricks and deception, he will have you muttering no mas.  When you are up against the old man, be ready for bank shots, pump fakes, and long conversations about the good ol’ days.

The Speed Demon – This guy can run up and down the court with lightning speed which is perfect for fast breaks and the full court press.  However, often times he is out of control and is easily countered by the old man’s deception.

The Hero/Zero – This guy will demand the ball when the game is on the line.  He perceives himself as ultra clutch and will put up low percentage shots.  The positive spin on this is; they will always shoot it with confidence, giving their terrible shot selection a better chance of going in.  They can easily slide into a zero just by missing consistantly.

Mr. Muscles – This guy is not here to play basketball, he is here to take off his shirt.  Extremely jacked, they will try to bully people on the court.  Not knowing that strength does not equate to athleticism, he will get owned.  This is fine as long as he can show off how jacked he is.

The Long Bomber – Found near or around the three point line, the long bomber will stand around the perimeter and chuck up 3s all day long.  He has never been inside the paint, so when you spot him there don’t pass them the ball.  He is most likely lost; asking for directions to the perimeter.

The Hypocritical Foul Caller – This guy will usually get worked up over every foul call and the one that is most likely to start an argument.  He will explain that he didn’t touch you and that you made yourself bleed by dribbling too much.  However, if you lay a finger on him, he will instantly call foul with no hesitation.  Unable to see the irony of his existence, this person is the most annoying to play with.

The Team Player – This player is very basketball savvy.  He has an extremely high basketball IQ.  He knows when to shoot, when to pass, and has excellent decision making skills.  He is usually lacking in the athletic department but more than makes up for it with their smart plays and strategy.

The Comedian – This guy is just here to talk, meet friends, and just have a good time in general.  He loves watching basketball, but participation is a whole other story.  He will crack jokes and is probably a huge fan of And1 Mixtape.  He may have small flashes of brilliance, but this will eventually subside as he becomes more interested in conversations.

The Bully – This guy actively searches for inferior competition and emphatically dominates them.  This provides a huge ego boost as well as praise from the inferior players.  Once the better players come to challenge him, he’ll quit.  This is the type of guy that only plays basketball to impress girls.

The Social Hazard – This guy has no fear.  He plays with no regard for human life.  He throws his body around in a reckless attempt to score or rebound.  This player will eventually end up hurting themselves, someone else, or both.

The Bunny – This is the guy that jumps out of the gym.  With “moon shoes” embedded into his feet he is able to finish near the basket and grab tons of boards.  This gives him a huge advantage in basketball.  Often times he falls in love with their hops and is highly susceptible to pump fakes.

The Hot Head – At the drop of a dime (unintentional), this guy will flip a shit and start screaming.  Often times, this will result in him punting the ball over the fence.  Then everyone will stand around feeling awkward until he cools off and quietly goes to retrieve it.

The Shit Talker – This guy will run his mouth all the way home.  He is constantly in your face making comments to throw you off your game.  Never actually doing anything on the team, he will relentlessly deliver a barrage of insults until you want to punch him in the mouth.  He will usually be bigger than you since he is clever enough to pick on those that are smaller.

The Headless Chicken – This guy will excessively dribble around in circles with his head down in order to display his “mad handles.”  He will usually end up tiring himself out or turning the ball over before he can get a shot off.

The Accessorizor – Covered in basketball gear from head to toe, the accessorizor comes dressed to impress.  Symptoms of an accessorizer include arm sleeves, head band, finger bands, tights, leg sleeves, wristbands, the latest shoes.  This player is never any good because he is constantly trying to fix his gear so that it looks hip.

The Shy Guy – Itching to play but lacking the balls to ask, the shy guy is often found shooting around by himself.  Constantly eying the other people on the court, he is just begging to be invited into their game.  Typically he will never call for the ball, but when he gets it, he will often surprise you with his hidden talent.  Despite his skills, his timid demeanor is his greatest flaw.

The Baller – An ex-Division I player that plays just for sheer and absolute domination.  After getting bored of displaying their vast array of skills and making everyone around him look like 3rd graders, he will simply shift into pass mode where he stops shooting and starts passing 100% of the time.  There is nothing you can do to affect this guy in any way.  Like a drunken hobo, you just have to let him reek havoc until he gets bored and leaves.

These are just the ones that I can think of.  If you know of any others, please do not hesitate to leave them in the comments below.

My friend also wrote a terrific post on fantasy basketball personalities.  Check it out!


One Comment

  1. Haha, this is so amusing. Now do one for dragon boating!!

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