The Definitive Guide of How to be Petty in the NBA

Let’s say you have a falling out with someone – either in person, on the internet, over the phone, whatever. It’s happened to all of us. The interaction of the divorce is civil – you go your separate ways, but, deep down in your soul there is an animosity brewing that is indescribable.

All you want to do is unleash your true disdain for the individual and wish failure upon them. But, for whatever reason, you can’t do it to their face. Instead, you settle for the alternative: petty warfare. These tactics include but are not limited: unfollowing/blocked them on Twitter when muting is an available option, drinking the last of the milk and putting the carton back into the refrigerator, seeing their car in the parking lot of the grocery store and oops my cart accidentally went rogue while putting the bags into my trunk and crashed into their grill, not responding to text messages after sending a read receipt, posting emo song lyrics to facebook which allude to your tiff without actually saying it, and many more…

Now, believe it or not, these sentiments ring true on the hardwood as well. With so many extreme suspensions, fines, and in-game penalties in place for physical altercations in today’s NBA – players just can’t afford to settle their differences the old-fashioned way: with their fists. Instead, the testosterone has been re-distributed to … you guessed it … petty warfare.

Below are the ways NBA players (and basketball players everywhere) exert their disparagement, ranked, using the following scale:

  • Disrespect: How disrespectful is the act?
  • Shock Value: How obvious is that the act was petty?
  • Effectiveness: Does the petty warfare actually have an effect? Did it make the opposition think ‘that was petty’.
  • Instigation: Does it make the opposition want to throw down regardless of the consequences? Is it something that the opponent will remember for the next time the two teams play?

—–

Clapping as opposing teammates argue with each other

clap-troll

DISRESPECT: 3

SHOCK VALUE: 5

EFFECTIVENESS: 6

INSTIGATION: 6

TOTAL SCORE: 20

Made famous by Joakim Noah on LeBron James, this is the basketball equivalent of when you and your friend are arguing which Star Wars movie is the best Star Wars movie and then some random dude from across the bar comes over, stands about two feet away from your conversation, and starts yelling “THE PHANTOM MENACE THE PHANTOM MENACE THE PHANTOM MENACE THE PHANTOM MENACE” at the top of his lungs until either your debate dissipates or he is acknowledged.

—–

Goaltending an opposing players’ practice shot after-the-whistle

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 1

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 2

TOTAL SCORE: 23

Happens multiple times a game, ultimately the moral of the story here is NO EASY BUCKETS! Doesn’t matter if the buckets are just practice buckets, buckets are buckets and preventing the other team from getting more buckets than you is now and forever the first rule of Bucket Club. This is an act so deliciously petty that players are willing to risk rolling an ankle/blowing out a knee to enforce this sentiment and ensure that their enemy does not gain the satisfaction of seeing the ball go through the hoop. Think about that for a second, because it is 100% true.

 ——

Head-butting ball after made layup so it’s not a delay of game

DISRESPECT: 8

SHOCK VALUE: 5

EFFECTIVENESS: 6

INSTIGATION: 5

TOTAL SCORE: 24

This one can be tough to catch, but, when it happens – it’s glorious. Since the NBA has begun to strictly enforce the ‘delay of game’ penalty, (essentially: don’t grab the ball after a made basket otherwise it will result in a technical foul after the second infraction) players looked for a new way to handle the ball that finds its way into a scoring team’s possession following a make. Some players abide by the rule by just continuing to run back on defense regardless if the ball is in the way of their moving feet or not, some avoid it all costs, others elect to position their head directly under the rim and let the ball hit their skull on the way down, “accidentally” deflecting it away from the inbounding player. While it’s technically legal, it more importantly remains a beautiful, revolutionary display of trolling.

——

Switching slots with a teammate as opposing player awaits to attempt free throw

 deandre

DISRESPECT: 5

SHOCK VALUE: 7

EFFECTIVENESS: 6

INSTIGATION: 7

TOTAL SCORE: 25

A splash of gamesmanship with a sprinkle of pettiness – NBA players are so good and so used to trash talk that getting into their face before a free throw may actually do more harm than good. However, there is an effective way to play mind games with the opponent – just before the ref gives the ball to the foul shooter, the defending team will walk across the lane and switch spots so that the ref is required to either hold on to the ball for an extended period of time, icing the foul shooter standing at the line with his pre-shot routine interrupted, or fetch it and redistribute after it is kicked astray during the swap.

 ——

Coaches who don’t make 10 yard walk to shake hands, instead just wave bye to each other

THUNDER vs WIZARDS 

DISRESPECT: 6

SHOCK VALUE: 4

EFFECTIVENESS: 9

INSTIGATION: 6

TOTAL SCORE: 25

The NBA equivalent of seeing that Tinder hook up at the other end of the bar, you know they’re there and they know you’re there; eventually the two groups you’re with mingle, and now you have to do the whole thing where you meet people, fake smile, and pretend to remember everyone’s names which you’ll surely forget five minutes later.

For whatever reason, you and the Tinder hook up choose not to engage with each other – no hugging, instead: a wave, maybe a head nod, and then dissipation of the group. On your way out, you use your peripherals to make eye contact with the internet dating subject simultaneously acknowledging their existence while delivering the message everything that went down was simply a business transaction.

No time for pleasantries in the world of being petty.

—–

Holding ball after out-of-bounds/jump ball arguing with ref. This act can also be applied to opposing player trying to take out of hands/player who’s holding ball gets mad that opposing player trying to take ball

DISRESPECT: 4

SHOCK VALUE: 8

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 9

TOTAL SCORE: 27

Refs make bad calls; they’re human; it happens. Players argue with bad calls; they’re human; it happens. Basketball players are petty creatures; they’re human; it happens.

A great way to get even with a referee who made a call you do not agree with, prevent the other team from initiating their offense and make them wait as you finish your debate. That ref is not getting that damn ball until you get some answers. While you’re exercising your first amendment right, you already know what’s coming next: the player trying to inbound the ball for the other team attempts to take the ball from the plantiff and then the overwhelming pettiness hits the fan as the refs break up the skirmish and assess unwarranted technical fouls.

—–

Shooting Hail Mary full court heave split second after quarter end buzzer to save FG %

DISRESPECT: 6

SHOCK VALUE: 2

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 9

TOTAL SCORE: 27

The rare pettiness that has an effect on your own team! Listen, in basketball, one of the many unwritten rules is if you have the ball with less than two seconds left – you do everything in your power to get a shot off before the buzzer goes off. But this is the NBA, where individuals are paid millions of dollars based on their performance on-the-court, box score, and advanced analytics. One thing that does not help your shooting percentage: shooting full court shots that have an almost zero percent chance of going in.

So, how does one not infringe on the unwritten rule of selfishness while maintaining their statistics? Launch the heave just mere milliseconds after the buzzer goes off, of course. There is nothing more fun than watching these NBA players try their ‘hardest’ to attempt it legally but oh no it once again appears that the attempt came just after the buzzer! Next time!

—–

Wearing an outfit that trolls an individual on the opposing team

russ 

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 10

EFFECTIVENESS: 6

INSTIGATION: 6

TOTAL SCORE: 32 

A flawless execution of being petty, you don’t even need to do or say anything – simply show up and you win.

—–

Shoulder check on way to foul shot

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 10

EFFECTIVENESS: 8

INSTIGATION: 8

TOTAL SCORE: 36

You can get ejected from an NBA game nowadays for kindasorta-accidentally hitting someone in the head as they attempt a layup. There are few, if any, ways to retaliate without getting fined and/or suspended – the most popular of which, the old-fashioned “this is my walking lane and you are obstructing it” shoulder check. Nothing says “I’m totally ready to trade fists but not here ok maybe later you know what I’ll text you after” than this subtle act of pettiness, which ultimately leads to a lot of finger pointing, derogatory comments about the opponents’ masculinity, and a whole lot of nothing.

—–

Putting your shoe under an elevated jump shooter

rubio

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 7

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 10

TOTAL SCORE: 37

Severe scores here for this act because it can cause serious injury – so serious that the NBA has begun enforcing an ‘undercutting an airborne player’ rule where a defender is not permitted to crowd a jump shooter’s air space. However, if I’m playing tight defense and the jump shooter just happens to land on my foot what the hell am I supposed to do about it? It’s the basketball equivalent of the fender bender car accident — you slammed the brakes and didn’t use your turn signal vs. it doesn’t matter whoever is the car behind is always responsible. No-one is ever right it’s just a matter of who can be pettier about the situation usually comes out the winner.

—–

Pointing finger into another player’s face

crowder 

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 10

EFFECTIVENESS: 8

INSTIGATION: 10

TOTAL SCORE: 38

Emasculation at its finest and the #1 gesture to solicit a response that gets the recipient in trouble with the referees.

—–

Mocking opponent’s celebration gesture

finger-wag 

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 9

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 9

TOTAL SCORE: 38

Name a better way to flaunt your dominance over an opposing peon than giving them a dose of their own petty medicine.

 

—-

Pretending to be so bored with the game you’d rather distribute your attention to something more stimulating

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 9

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 10

TOTAL SCORE: 39

Nothing says petty quite like “you are so inferior we are legitimately bored playing against you.”

—-

Scoring as game clock expires and the losing team is walking off floor

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 10

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 9

TOTAL SCORE: 39 

If there is ONE thing you don’t do to give the opposing team bulletin board material before your next game with them, it’s this. The second-most important ‘unwritten rule of basketball’ is the winning team must dribble the clock out when you’re winning by a margin that is so significant, the defense isn’t even fouling to prolong the game. If a player attempts to stat-pad, especially as the surrendering team is walking off-the-court, it is an act of war. Affected players remember this act of complete and utter disrespect longer than their own birthday and immediately label the culprit with a basketball scarlet letter for the rest of their careers.

What’s the first, you ask?

—–

Refusing to help an opponent off-the-floor

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 10

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 10

TOTAL SCORE: 40

Live by the code. Die by the code. If they wearing a different-colored uniform, they are the enemy.

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