Pickup Basketball Guy is the corollary to Softball Guy. For the majority of us amateur weekend athletes, the game is a game — a chance to get out of the house and away from chores, a lame attempt at grasping the last straw of youthful dreams, a half-hearted attempt to stay in some semblance of a shape that doesn't resemble a pear. It's not a game to Pickup Basketball Guy, and he most assuredly possesses any number of the following characteristics.
Pickup Guy never met a shot he didn't like. Running half-court fade away in the middle of three defenders while wearing only one shoe? He's got it. Acrobatic reverse lay-up 360 with his eyes closed and a seven-footer standing in the way? That's all him.
You? You can't shoot. Pickup Guy will let you know that. You could be standing under the basket with the closest defender twenty feet away, and Pickup Guy will be triple-teamed in the corner and he'll want the ball.
When Pickup Guy does decide to include his teammates, you will screw something up. You'll pop when he wants you to roll. You'll roll when he wants you to pop. You'll cut to the wrong spot, set the screen on the wrong side, or be unable to grab his 100 mph pass that is at least five feet above your head.
Pickup Guy never wears a shirt. Ever. Which is even worse because he sweats more than any human should be physically capable of, and this is complicated by his copious amount of body hair, which traps the sweat like a Sham Wow. When you guard him, it'll feel like someone has thrown 100 pounds of soaked seaweed at your body. You will smell like his sweat for two days.
Pickup Guy likes to talk even more than he likes to shoot. He will talk to himself when he misses a shot — "Come on, Brian! You can make that," or "Stupid shot, Brian. Stupid shot." He will talk to his defender — "You can't guard me. Come on, watcha got." And he will randomly scream directions with no qualifiers, as if shouting, "Left!" means anything. When the other team shoots, he'll instantly give feedback — "Long," "Short," "Deep," — which inevitably means that shot will go in.
Pickup Guy always guards the opposing team's best player. Clearly, he's the only one on the court of tackling this assignment, and his lock-down defense is the only reason your team has any chance of winning. Of course, when his guy scores, it's because you didn't rotate with help, not because he bit on a weak crossover.
Pickup Guy likes for you to rebound for him. Yes, he missed the shot, but you should have had the rebound. "Gotta block out." "Gotta go get that."
Pickup Guy will drink three full one-gallon jugs of water. Water fountains, Gatorade, and regular bottles of water are not sufficient to keep this juggernaut hydrated.
Pickup Guy will ask you, in between games, if you played in school merely as a way for him to tell you that he did. Of course, you're 4-feet tall, can't make an open jumper, and are wearing the same shoes you wear when you mow the lawn, so there's no reason to think you played anything above CYO. But he wants to tell you that he played varsity once.
Pickup Guy fouls everyone but never believes it when it's called. He'll be giving a guy a prostate exam and smirk like Dwight Howard and shake his head when you call a foul. That was clean. That was all ball.
Pickup Guy believes that you foul him on every play. It's why he missed his shot. It's why he dribbled off his foot and out of bounds. It's why he fell down when he tried to jump into your chest. It's why he tripped walking to his car.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.