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Real Players Don’t Say “Glass”

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on May 29, 2008

Last night, near the end of the first half of the Celtics thrilling 106-102 Game Five playoff victory over the Pistons, Kevin Garnett banked in a desperation three-pointer from straight out to beat the shot clock. The shot was replayed by ESPN numerous times. Lucky shot. Big three points. I’m pretty good at lip-reading KG and what he normally says is not reprintable here, but what he didn’t say after knocking in that shot was “glass”. Cuz he didn’t mean to bank it in. But you know what? Had he intended to bank in a shot (Tim Duncan anyone?) he would not say it then either. Real players don’t say “glass”.

In a previous post, “The Great Ones Use the Glass“, we tried to help players understand that shooting the ball off the backboard is an enormously worthwhile skill to develop. What we didn’t say was shoot the ball off the backboard and shout the word “glass” as if it was the first time you ever did it. Why, I mean, what an odd and totally insecure habit. Stop it now! The reason recreational level players shout glass when they put the ball off the board is they want to make sure that everyone knows it’s not a mistake. Lord. If your game up to that point hasn’t established that you are capable of shooting the ball with some clue as to how it’s gonna get in the hoop, then maybe you should be yelling “glass”. Or “I’m new at this game!”. Or “I’m pretty sure you think I’m not very good so let me try this gimmick of announcing what I am doing. Some day, when I grow up, I won’t have to do it”.

Bank it in. Run down court and play defense like you know that they know that you know exactly what to do and how to do it on the basketball court. 


6 Responses to “Real Players Don’t Say “Glass””

  1. JeanM said

    As usual, Hilarious…

    On a similar subject, what are your thoughts on shouting “short!”
    or “off!” when one knows that his/her shot isn’t going in?
    Is doing it intended to give your teammates a clue as to where to
    go for the rebound? If so, does one assume that the opponents
    don’t hear what is shouted and are therefore at some kind of
    imagined disadvantage?

    I do it and I’m not sure why. Maybe because I’ve seen others
    do it?

    Or, is it similar to saying “Glass” in that, on a shot I’m sure
    isn’t going in, I can tell everyone that at least I KNOW that
    it’s off?


  2. When I was in a high school, I lived about a 1/2 mile from Siena College, near Albany NY (now a perennial “Dance” invitee and often a good upset pick in the office pool; then they were DII or III but, even then, a basketball crazed campus). Anyway, my like-minded academically inclined friends and I used to skip school and just play all-day and night at their gym with their students and players. There was the one guy, little guy, a freshman at Siena when we were freshmen at Shaker High, Mike Farley, from Boston who we used to play with. He was the first person I ever met (or heard) who had a Boston accent. Because I was especially short when I was a kid, I’d always be matched up with him. When he shot and the ball was short, he’d say, “shaht”, meaning “short” but my friends and I thought he was saying “shot”. Shaht? Shot? We were like, why is he saying “shot” when it’s obvious what’s he’s doing? So, we then use to goof around in our pick-up games amongst ourselves and yell “rebound” and “pass” and “dribble” and every little thing we did just to goof on Mike Fah-ley.

    Back to your question: I am opposed to saying “short” or “off” or “right” or anything about the expected outcome of your shot. Actually, I hate it. Because its negative. It’s saying something negative about yourself. (You might as well say “I suck”.) Whether it’s short or long should be able to be discerned by everyone the second it leaves the shooter’s hands, and saying some perceived information about the result or direction or whatever gives no possible advantage. Instead, concentrate on your form, your follow-through, the finish of your shot. Saying “off” is giving up way too early.


  3. JeanM said

    Thanks Steve, your comments are right on tahget.


  4. John Klein said

    But you can still say something like, “The bank is open” when you’re playing Horse and toyig with your opponent, who can’t shoot a bank shot, can’t you? I seem to remember someone doing that during the halftime Horse competitions they used to have on televised NBA games in the 70’S.


  5. Funny. I just heard Mark Jackson say “the bank is open” after someone knocked one in and I thought, “yeah, that’s a fun thing to say”, in a goofing around, talking trash kind of way. Heard it a million times (and said it more than a few times); it’s certainly got its place in the world of basketball talk.


  6. Steve Watkins said

    I disagree that this is a bad thing to do. A shooter will occasionally struggle to decide wheteher or not to use the glass, especially if he is slightly outside close range or not quite at the right shooting angle. Calling “glass” eliminates indecision in the shooter’s mind. Every ball player faces this problem, not just pick-up game players.


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