I'm putting up shots in my local gym when a group of guys walk onto the other end and start playing some 3 on 3. Excited for the possibility of some good hoop action, I decided to watch while I warm up. After watching some pointless over dribbling, very few passes, no screens set, a lot of missed shots taken and missed and did i mention ZERO defense, I come to the conclusion that this may not be ball I want to be a part of. Just as I come to this conclusion another couple of players walk in and somebody yells, let's get a "full" going. Being 6' 5" they all come to me first and ask if I want to run. Remembering what I just saw, I politely decline, much to the disdain of the guys asking who now are looking at me as some sort of "basketball snob", who's too good to run with them. Could they be right?
Dictionary-reference.com defines snob as "a person who believes himself or herself an expert or connoisseur in a given field and is condescending toward or disdainful of those who hold other opinions or have different tastes regarding this field". Well though i know a bit about this game having played this game for over 35 years and have been teaching and training players for over 20 years, I wouldn't consider myself a huge expert, but I definitely would be a connoisseur of the game. Because of that, I have learned the difference between good and bad basketball. In it's purest form basketball becomes about a team where all the members function as one. That happens through passing, screening, off the ball movement etc. Unfortunately, what I encounter when I see most basketball today (even at the high levels) is the total opposite. It's all about the individual, a lot of trying to showcase one's "skills" in a lot of one-on-one play. Nothing wrong with 1v1, (just ask anyone who knows me, i'll go 1v1 with anyone) but when it's team ball, one-on-one needs to be left for the point where the team is ready to score.
I'm a huge San Antonio Spurs fan and one of the reasons I love them is their philosophy that no player is above the team. They believe in fundamental basketball that some have nicknamed "The Beautiful Game"
I constantly get into arguments with people about how "boring" they are as a team. I don't see pure basketball as boring, especially when playing the game. As we saw in last year's finals, a well executed offense is very capable of destroying any team full of all-stars. It's not that any of the Spurs are all-stars but they have taken all of their talents and have brought them to a system that works. Now within that system, any player is capable of exploding for a MVP type performance, but it doesn't rely on one or two guys who just do everything.
When it comes to us average folks who just love the game, we want to walk into a gym and get some exercise and play a game we love. The problem is that most pick up ball ends up being about every player trying to "do his thing" whether it be a lot of dribbling, trying to cross someone up and "break their ankles", or someone who just wants to "get their Steph Curry on". What you get is a bunch of one on one and the rest of the guys watching the guy with the ball and the person who "might" be playing defense, (hahaha.....I just cracked myself up) wait a minute.......there's no "D" played in pick up ball! Ain't nobody got time for that!!
To a basketball addict like me, I need to be playing not watching. When I step on a court, I expect to be able to play not just run up and down a court watching someone else play the game. I don't have to be "the guy" I just want to make my contribution and when the moment presents itself put the ball in the basket and help my team win. Now to me that's fun, winning as a team! If I want to be the only one scoring and making plays, then I will head off to another court and find someone who wants to play some 1v1. So if having this desire makes me a "basketball snob" then I guess I am, but I suspect that I am not the only one out there!
Stay Forever Strong!