5 Most Annoying Things About Playing Pickup Basketball

Of course, rec ball is not without it’s failings. It’s raw, unrefined. People slack on D and smoke stogs on the sidelines. It’s a trade-off. You sacrifice order and intensity for more frequent runs and games only confined to fellow Sigma Chi alumni. Pickup shenanigans, I hate but tolerate. I didn’t do stereotypes about the players, because that’s played out, but here is my list of the 5 Most Annoying Thing About Pickup Basketball.  

5. Rule Uncertainty

Is the game to 11? 21? 6-minute eighths?  Is the wall out? What about the lines?  The lines are there for a reason, aren’t they? Win by 2? Win on a 2? Listen, last week Greenie hit a 2 and we all signed notarized forms that included a clause stating you can win on a 2! RESPECT THE NOTARIZED FORM!

4. “We should just do lay-ups, huh?”

Teams are often formed by the first five players to make a free throw. Naturally, there will be missing streaks. If there weren’t, we would have all gone pro and not taken soul-crushing jobs at Ernst & Young. Without fail, one prolific jokester will announce, “ I guess we should have taken lay-ups”. HAHAHAH! Listen man, I’m sure you’re booked, but there’s a 9 o’clock slot at the Comedy Cellar and we’d love to have you. This is the same guy in your office that asks if it’s “hot enough for you?” in the summer and still uses the phrase “…said no one ever”.  I make sure he takes a charge at least 4 times once the game finally starts.

3. Call Disrespect

Remember the WWE back in the day when Vince McMahon would be talking shit in the ring and OUT OF NOWHERE came Stone Cold? The glass crashes. “NOW YOU WAIT JUST A GODDAMN MINUTE, MCMAHON.” Vince would get bug-eyed and scan the crowd as if to ask them how somebody could possibly interrupt his promo.

That’s what it’s like when you call a foul in pickup. There’s a debate, sideline players are consulted. Hands are stretched to the heavens. “WHAT?” “HOW?” “AND?” My favorite is when the contesting player will just pick up the ball walk to his team’s side. That’s the adult equivalent of taking your toys away from the other kids.” I’ll show him, next possession I’m calling a five-second violation.” The worst.

2. When the Ball Gets Stuck Between the Rim and the Backboard

If you are white and/or Jewish, you know exactly what I’m talking about. A white game tends to include far more haphazard shots than a good game. As a result, someone will inevitably chuck the ball into that little crevice betwixt the iron and the glass. Then comes the onslaught of five guys in frat pinnies swiping at air. A sad display, indeed. I always feel like Atticus Finch putting the dog out of his misery when I grab another ball and knock that bitch out.

1.Nobody Knows The Score

“It’s 7-5”


 *everyone erupts into banter, somebody shoots a half-court shot for some reason *

“Alright, who scored?”

Then we know, because pickup is a selfish game. We do it for the runs and victory. Fuck a score.

However, I do often find that worst kid on the court always knows the score/everybody’s FPG. He’s gotta do something, right?

That wraps it up for me, got any other absurd pickup moments? I don’t wanna hear player stereotypes, we got those to a tee. See you at the elementary school in Murray Hill.

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