Played pickup hoops this morning at the nearby courts, where the Saturday runs have rejuvenated my spirit.
I love the rhythm of hoops.
I love the banter of hoops.
I love the sweat trickling down my forehead. I love the sound of ball into concrete. I love travel calls. I love layups. I love 13-13, next bucket wins.
I don’t love that guy.
If you’ve played pickup for any duration, you know that guy. He might be the one who shows up wearing an NBA jersey. Or he might be the one who talks nonstop shit. Or he might be the one who thinks he’s LeBron but plays like Yinka.
In this case, that guy arrived wearing XXXL stitched UCLA shorts and one of those Los Angeles Lakers T-shirts where the players are sketched as cartoons. A bunch of his fingers were taped, he was a good 80 pounds overweight and he was probably, oh, 5-foot-9.
He coached the best players and the worst players. He told us why we missed and why the other guy made. He explained proper defensive stances and how footing makes or breaks a successful career. At one point, after missing yet another six footer, he talked about his days playing college ball. Which clearly meant either:
A. His intramural days playing college ball.
B. His imaginary days playing college ball.
C. His days playing Sega college ball.
The game went on and on and on and on, and his banter provided nonstop soundtrack material. Finally, when the final shot went through the twine, I grabbed my bag and headed for the car.
“You got one more in you?” that guy said
“Nah,” I replied. “I’m good.”