pick-up basketball: a gentleman’s guide

this gentleman’s guide will cover the three most common scenarios involving pick-up basketball.


1)  a gentleman shooting baskets by himself while another, non-associated, gentleman shoots on a different goal within the same direct vicinity of the first gentleman.

example:  the author is shooting baskets on a goal on one end of a court while the non-associated gentleman shoots baskets on the goal at the other end of said court.

2)  a gentleman shooting with other non-associated gentlemen on the same goal.

it is common for scenario 1 to slide into scenario 2 as the court crowds or school lets out.

3)  a gentleman will play an actual game of basketball, be it with compatriots, non-associated gentleman, or a mixture of the two.

terms and definitions:  for the non-basketball player and/or my mother.  some definition have youtube links to videos.

pick-up basketball:  non-officiated/league associated games of basketball.  games of pick-up basketball are usually scored with baskets being worth one point and two points, (as opposed to the respective two and three point shots) because the public school system is failing our young gentlemen, who cannot seem to count by two and/or three.

screen:  When an offensive player without the basketball reaches a spot  and remains stationary, forcing a defending player to maneuver around him.

box out:  when a gentleman gains inside position against an opposing player while a shot is taken and uses his body to prevent the opposing gentleman from rebounding the basketball.  (skip to the 35 second mark in the video)

general étiquette of pick-up basketball:

-the rules of the game of basketball may be shifted slightly by the preference of the gentlemen playing, especially if it is their ‘home’ court – a court on which they often play and have adopted expected standards of behavior, such as whether or not they will be calling traveling, which line is actually out-of-bounds, whether the wall is in play, etc.

-it is wisest, according to the gentlemanly author, to allow either the offense or the defense to call fouls.  otherwise, martial law will likely erupt as the teams near game-point.

-if a basketball has a name on it that is not yours, it is not your f***ing basketball, sir.  please return it to the gentleman whose name graces it, even if he missed his last shot.

-a made shot with a ‘neutral’ basketball (one belonging to no one in particular) is always returned to the gentleman who made the shot.

-if a gentleman does not call screens for his teammates, he may find himself dropped from an airplane over the arizona desert.

-i am, and will always be, open.

-if a gentleman makes a stellar defensive play, he must be rewarded by taking the next shot on offense, no matter the score or how many previous shots he has missed in a row.  you give that gentleman the ball and demand he shoot it.

-if an unacquainted gentleman shoots an air-ball in shoot-around before or between games, do not make eye contact with him.  allow him to suffer his shame in silence.

-if an acquainted gentleman shoots an air-ball in shoot-around before or between games, ridicule him mercilessly and mention that your memaw has more upper-body strength than he.

for the love of everything, gentlemen, 



though many gentlemen approach boxing-out with the utmost of trepidation,

a gentleman cannot get aids from boxing-out.  he will not have his house foreclosed upon if he boxes-out.  his children will not weep and say, ‘i hate you gentlemanly father, i hate you!’

no – a gentleman who boxes-out in pick-up basketball will be rewarded with greatness, fist-bumps, and,

dare i say,

a shit-ton of rebounds.

-a gentleman who does not return down the floor to help his teammates on defense

and then has the audacity to demand a pass ahead while he has not yet crossed half-court,

can properly go f*** himself.

-throw bounce passes.

-reward the cutter.

-i am still open.


gentleman baller

2 thoughts on “pick-up basketball: a gentleman’s guide

  1. 1. You’ve been plenty not open before.
    2. What should one do when one plays with a gentleman who makes cat like sounds when calling for the ball?
    3. What should one do when some @$$ hole tears a ligament in a teammate’s hand?

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