Issue 133: Bringing Basketball Plays Into Daily Life

There’s an extra sense of school pride in the air as the college basketball season tips off this week. Even if your team is no good, it’s fun to hear the student section chanting or the band playing and jumping around like they’re listening to House of Pain.

In a previous issue, I walked through some of the basketball moves you can bring into your everyday life. By now, I can only assume you have successfully mastered those. And that means it’s time to level up.

Here are five more moves you can knock out in your daily life.

Crossover: A person dribbling with the ball makes like they’re going one way, then crosses the ball over to their other hand. Crossovers can be done in front of the player’s body, or between the legs or behind the back for more style points.

How to use it in real life: When you’re walking down the street, a grocery aisle, or anywhere with some kind of “lane” people stay in, approach them with a solid speed. Just when they think you’re about to collide and you see their eyes wincing while preparing for impact, lean one way and move toward the other, smoothly getting out of their way.

Alternatively, you can establish a sitcom that runs for three seasons and then features an appearance on another show on the same network, but that takes a bit more time.

Hesitation Move: I’m just going to pull this description right from Wikipedia, because I love the use of “stiff worm” here: “The player with the ball shifts their hip and top part of their body almost like a stiff worm, making their opponent think they’re heading in one direction, when in reality they are heading in the other direction.”

How to use it in real life: This move is best used when in a hotel lobby or kitchen area where there’s a decent amount of people. In fact, you almost have to pause to assess the situation because there is invariably an older woman balancing an overflowing cup of coffee—and you know those cups don’t offer any kind of sturdy support—or a child running around playing the classic game “let’s see how many Lucky Charms I can disperse onto the floor.”

For an added challenge, bring your suitcase with you and try to run a hesitation move with your body going one way and the suitcase going another. Then try out for The Matrix because you’re very impressive.

Jab Step: Before dribbling, a player moves their pivot foot toward or to the side of their defender. This “jab” creates some space for the player to either shoot, step back, or dribble by the hapless opponent in front of them.

How to use it in real life: I suppose I could make a Covid reference here about how you should step in line to get the jab, but that would be redundant for people who have already gotten one or more vaccine shots. So instead, use this whenever someone gets a little too close to you, like at the laundromat or while selecting an item from the vending machine.

It’s also great with pets because they think of it as a delightful game, and they’ll leap back, only to quickly return in an even more aggressive defensive stance. Anytime you can bond with your pet, that’s a good day.

Jump Stop: Leaping off of one foot and landing on both of them. This move is most regularly used in a basketball game to collect the ball while approaching the basket, or to settle things down if your dribbling gets a little too out of control.

How to use it in real life: Anytime you think a forward jump would improve the situation. Waiting in line at the deli? Jump stop up to the spot where you take a number. Approaching the dance floor at a wedding? Jump stop to announce your arrival, preferably timed with the beat drop. Using the bathroom? Uh…scratch that one. A jump stop would probably only make things worse.

Pick and Roll: A fun play to run with a teammate (and kind of useless to run it otherwise), a pick and roll finds one player setting a screen—the pick—on another player defending their teammate by placing their body in the way of the opposing person. Usually, this happens while standing, though I suppose you could also lay down to get in the opponent’s way.

The screener then rolls to the basket, presumably wide open because their defender had to help out on the ball handler. An alternative is the pick and pop, where the screener pops out for a jumper instead of rolling to the basket. Both require a strong pass to complete, perhaps even a crisp bounce pass.

How to use it in real life: Go ahead and set the screen on someone as you normally would. For a pick and roll, distribute a buttered croissant or dinner roll, or start rolling across the ground like you’re doing a covert spy mission.

For a pick and pop, hand them a fully inflated balloon and a needle—or, if you’re in the Midwest, a soda. May I suggest caffeine-free Diet Pepsi?

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