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Sins of the Recreational Basketball Player (4th in a series)

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on November 14, 2013

Sometimes in a scrimmage in our NTL Weekly clinics in Boston or at our Saturday morning Play Forever League (PFL) or even at one of our Weekend Camps, I’ll see a player get a perfect in-stride, on-the-money pass which they then turn into a two points. That’s nice, but the problem comes when the player who scored ignores the fact that the basket would not have happened were it not for that sweet pass. It is a sin, a cardinal sin, a venal near mortal sin, not to say “nice pass” or slap five or do a face-to-face wiggle. Something.

My understanding is that the whole notion of reconnecting with the passer after the score started with Red Auerbach and the Celts of the 50s. (Yes, I know there are a lot of California people reading this but, I know they know, if they really think about it, that neither Pat Riley nor Phil Jackson invented the game or even one good thing about it). Red on Roundball‘s idea was that it built camaraderie, trust and encouraged the repetition of that good thing that just happened: sharing the ball; a virtue central to the success of any basketball team. Think about pick up basketball, especially with people you don’t know (the best pick up games): saying “good pass” reinforces that and it’s more likely to happen again. Which means you’re more likely to win which means you’ll be happier, too.

The dark or darker side is that person who just won’t say it. A basketball pariah; a troglodyte. A selfish, enabled, pathetic and lost soul who thinks we should all worship him. Or her. I don’t know much about Rick Barry except he was a prolific scorer and it seemed players, both the opponents and his teammates, didn’t like him. (I remember a game in the late 70s when the Celtics were at their worst; they had Sidney Wicks and Curis Rowe and they were playing the Warriors. Wicks decks Rick Barry, just lays him out. Boom to the chin and he’s down. Not one player from the Warriors – Barry’s team! – went over to pick him up or confront Wicks.) I have feeling Rick Barry never said “nice pass”.

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3 Responses to “Sins of the Recreational Basketball Player (4th in a series)”

  1. Josh K. said

    Rick Barry must really have been some jerk, since he himself was reputed to be one of the better passing forwards (4.9 assists per game for his career, with 5 seasons of more than 6 per game).

    Like

  2. Greg Herr said

    Sidney Wicks was a character himself. Story is that someone told him “There is no I in team,” and he replied, “They don’t put Ws and Ls on paychecks.” No wonder Hondo retired rather than play another year with the Wicks/Rowe crew and then maybe play with LJB.

    Like

  3. You didn’t have to say “good pass” to Rick Barry, he already knew it.

    Like

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