Top 10: Things to NOT do in a pickup basketball game

Posted on February 7, 2014
By: hminami

Pickup basketball is entirely different from organized basketball.

The rules are completely different.  In fact… the rules will actually change depending on what gym you play in.  But at HoopConnect we believe that there are some guidelines that should be universally accepted.

Pass this along if you’re a pickup baller and agree.

#10: No More Watches, Hats or Long Pants 

obama basketball

Please… oh please!!!  Stop wearing those long pants when you play!  Unless you’re the President… those long pants should not be allowed.

They look so uncomfortable that it makes me uncomfortable.  And the same goes for those wearing watches and hats too.  Well… maybe those backwards flip caps will come back into style if Billy and Sidney have anything to do with it (White Men Can’t Jump reference).

P.S. Hey Mr. President… fashion faux pas… Adidas sox with Nike shoes… tsk tsk!

#9: No More And1 Moves

OK streetball is cool.  And1 is awesome.  Hot Sauce is dope.

But unless you’re at Rucker Park or you’re in the new Uncle Drew commercial… throwing the ball off somebody’s head or bouncing it through their legs is just plain cheesy now.

There really is nothing more frustrating than when you’re trying to have a competitive run and some idiot is getting all jazzy with these stupid moves that work about 1 out of 10 times.

You don’t prove that you’re a good basketball player with these moves… you prove that you’re stuck in the 2000s.

#8: No More Out-of-Bounds calls from 10 Feet Away

This might be a generalization but… doesn’t it seem like it’s the slowest guy on the court making the most bogus out-of-bounds call?

It doesn’t matter what angle, how far away or who is in the way… these out-of-bound callers apply their x-ray superman vision to emphatically shout… “he’s out… he’s out!!!”  Sometimes… they might even push the guy out… see gif above.

If you see it… then call it.  However, please be advised, your credibility goes way down when you call it from a ridiculous vantage point.  Besides… it might be an optical illusion from your angle.  I refer you to Snell’s Law of refracting light.

#7: No More Phone Calls During Games

Alright… we get it!  It’s an important call.  Have somebody else sub in for you already.  No need to stop the entire flow of the game.  Now we all have to wait for you to finish your conversation about… well we have no idea what it’s about… all we can hear is soft muttering.

Can we get that substitution already?!… yeeeesh!

#6: No More Shooting for the Next 5 When You Just Played

I swear there’s always 1 or 2 guys that don’t get the concept of waiting their turn.  You just played the last game and your team lost.  There are 12 people waiting… how in the world do you think you should be able to play in the next game?  These are probably the same people who ride the roller coasters twice at Disneyland… you sick bastards!

Cue George Karl shaking his head in disappointment.

#5: No More Hand-Checking

I’ll admit… this one is more of a personal wish.  If hand-checking is illegal in the NBA… why not make it illegal in pickup.  Purists would probably disagree with me because hand-checking is still a big part of street basketball.  But it makes everything so much more difficult.  I can’t imagine how Jordan felt in the 90s.

I mean would you want the guy above putting his hands on you?

#4: No More Ridiculous Intentional Fouls

This is pickup ball… not the NBA finals.  If somebody beats you on a play… they beat you on a play.  No reason to clobber a player on game point.  I get that you want to make a play at the ball on a crucial possession, but hacking the heck out of somebody like its a playoff game is a little too dramatic.

Be physical… not malicious.

#3: No More Trying to Draw a Foul

Dude… this is pickup.  You don’t get free throws out here.  That’s cool that you know how to draw fouls… but you’re really just wasting everybody’s time out here when you recklessly throw your body into a crowd.  Now we have to watch you put up your circus shot, hear you scream like a wilder beast, and finally check it back up top… only for you to do it again… and again.

When you have nowhere to go with a crowd of 5 defenders around you, just pass it to one of your teammates.  By this point, they might want to join the defenders in hacking you.  Remember… you don’t get free throws and nobody fouls out.

#2: No More Taking Charges

It’s just not worth it my friend.  First of all… I don’t think I have ever seen a charge call in any pickup game that I have ever played.  There is of course the extreme cases where you have to make a point to the guy running through like a bulldozing train.

For the most part… you either risk getting injured or looking completely foolish for trying to take a charge in a pickup game.

#1: No More Yelling “FIRST!”

What are we in recess? On a jump ball play… ball goes the team that didn’t start with it at the beginning of the game.  The other team will get the next one.  Calling first is childish and we need to all stop doing this.

It’s like saying:  “last one there is a rotten egg!”  True, nobody want to be the rotten egg, but I assure you… if you really are the last one there… you probably won’t turn into a rotten egg.  Ok maybe you will.

And Remember…

There is absolutely no crying in basketball… well… maybe a little.

Did we miss anything?  Add a comment and tell us your pickup ball no-nos.

Share if you like these pickup basketball guidelines and spread the word.

And make sure to follow us at HoopConnect on Twitter and Facebook.  App launches Spring 2014.

6 Replies to "Top 10: Things to NOT do in a pickup basketball game"

  • matthew shevitz
    February 7, 2014 (11:49 am)


    • hminami
      February 7, 2014 (12:26 pm)

      LOL… that’s right… I forgot headphones! Seems to be a growing trend though.

  • Scott Gröschel
    February 7, 2014 (3:47 pm)

    When there is argument about a foul or travel don’t be the guy thats not playing that tires to act like the judge and jury. Your not playing so your opinion doesn’t matter. Don’t be that guy. Your not a referee and this is pick up basketball. Don’t be that guy

  • Scott Gröschel
    February 7, 2014 (3:49 pm)

    #6 is the best one on this list. Don’t you just love those people. They always act like they don’t know that the just played

  • Monte Warren
    February 10, 2014 (6:36 pm)

    hand checking is my only move! how you gonna outlaw it?

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