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What’s Your Pickup Personality?


Despite what Matt may claim on Live Blogs, it is well known around the KSR Compound I’m the baddest baller of them all.  I usually run the show when we play our nightly games of 5-on-5 while Kate practices her dunking off to the side (she’s getting better!).  But this morning I took my skills to a local church when I played some pickup with some good dudes.  While playing, I realized that no matter if you’re at the Johnson Center, city park or local gym, most pickup games have the same composition of players.  Here are the different types of guys you’ll find in a pickup game:

The Talker- this guy gets under your skin because he just won’t shut up.  And he’s not even that good.  From smack talk to chit-chat, this guy just keeps going like the Enengizer Bunny.  You find yourself demanding the ball in hopes that you can finally shut him up.

The Grandpa- this guy is typically balding  and has a knee brace.  His singular goal is to show the young pups “how it’s done”.  In remarkable shape for his age, the Grandpa likes to shoot- a lot.  His distrust of the youngsters leads him into taking a disproportionate amount of shots.  He’s crafty because his body is failing.  Will usually surprise.

The White Chocolate- named after a former NBA guard (the white version), White Chocolate is smallish and has unfortunate facial hair.  You can usually find him standing at the top of the key dribbling, looking to drive where he will throw up a terrible shot only to claim he got fouled.  You hate this guy.

The Sweater- easy to spot this guy because he is drenched in sweat after 5 trips up and down the court.  Tough to guard, not because he’s good, but because you just slide right off his slick, sweaty body.  You sag off because you don’t want to touch him and he realizes it.  Will drive on you and create contact.  HERE is a perfect example of this guy.

The Looker- this guy is a little taller than most on the court, has a solid body and looks quick.  He’s dressed head to toe in Nike and wears an ankle brace, suggesting he’s been through some on-court battles.  You decide it’s best if someone else guards him so you don’t look like a fool.  Only one problem- he sucks.  His quickness is used to dribble only with his right hand around the perimeter where he throws up errant threes with consistency.  It’s almost like he believes he’s good, too.

The Goofoff- almost every game has one of these.  A guy who’s just out for the fun and doesn’t take the game too seriously.  Usually just runs around and sets screens but never rolls to the basket.  Will shoot on occasion, but misses badly and runs down the court, laughing it off.  Usually, but not always, fairly hefty.

The Big Man- every game has one.  Ranging from 6’3″ to 6’8″, the Big Man varies in skill level and can be a game-changer or a dud.  You never know until the game starts.

The Good One- then there’s always that guy who can actually ball.  He probably could have played at Alice Lloyd College or Kentucky Christian, but gave up his college basketball dream in order to make you look silly on Court 1 at the Johnson Center.  More than likely this guy is better than you in every phase of the game.  Accept it.

The Zero- this guy is terrible and you question why he’s even on the court.  Probably wearing basketball shorts with a polo shirt and looks like he should get some sun.  You can’t help but like him, but wish he weren’t on your team.

The Wanna Be- this guy couldn’t have played at ANY college basketball program but truly believes he could have.  Similiar to the Looker, but has much more misplaced confidence in his abilities.  Very well known for calling fouls when he makes a bad decision. 

So pay attention next time you play pickup and be on the lookout for these guys.  I’ll guarantee if you play more than 5 games, you’ll encounter all these types.  And if you can’t find someone to match up, perhaps that guy is you.  Just sayin’.

Article written by Patrick Barker