KRAMER: Wide open, I was wide open underneath! I had three inches on that
guy. You two were hogging the ball.
GEORGE: Me? It wasn’t me I never even saw the ball. All you do is dribble.
JERRY: I have to dribble, if I give it to you, you just shoot. You’re a
GEORGE: Oh I’m a chucker.
JERRY: That’s right, everytime you get the ball you shoot.
GEORGE: I can’t believe you called me a chucker. No way I’m a chucker, I do
not chuck, never chucked, never have chucked, never will chuck, no chuck!
JERRY: You chuck.
GEORGE: Kramer am I a chucker?
KRAMER: You’re a chucker.
GEORGE: All these years I’ve been chuckin’ and you’ve never told me?
JERRY: Well it’s not an easy thing to bring up.
On Philadelphia’s premier sports radio station, 610 WIP, Steve Martarano, speaking about Allen Iverson once said, “he must lose sleep at night worried that there is shot being taken somewhere in the world that he could be taking.” This would serve as an apt definition for a chucker. At McCall school before Philadelphia’s premier basketball league, the AFBL, began its usual Saturday session, Jim Houser, in a serendipitous moment of the kettle calling the pot black, remarked, Andrew Jones was tardy because, “he had to stop at every basket he saw along the way to take a shot.” This too would serve as an apt definition of the chucker.
I wanted to find the genuine article, the definitive definition of chucker, so I ambled to my library and opened the Oxford English Dictionary. Unfortunately the OED could provide me with little usable information as far as the AFBL is concerned. I hoped to use the OED as a way of explaining the chucker through the strictest, most august source of veracity, for the metaphorical explanation could simply be dismissed by opponents of the discussion. The AFBL, especially the AFBLog, has always shied from relying upon metaphorical examples, no matter how illustrative they may be. We know those being torched by our views refer to these allusions, irrespective of how empirical they may be, as spurious, heretical statements. Unfortunately scholarly journals have a dearth of articles on the chucking phenomenon, so deal with it pussies. You’re getting anecdotal information as I dissect the top 7 chuckers in our Vainglorious Art Fag Basketball League.
Before the rabble rousing riff raff of the AFBL accuse me of another verbose vituperative entry, may I suggest you consider the following. This is literary chucking. This pedantic exploration of the trivial is metaphor for the chucker. While that strikes home take a look at the first, but not last chucker power poll rankings.
CHUCKER POWER POLL RANKINGS
Aside from baseball, no team sport encourages individualism like basketball. In baseball the one on one dual of pitcher and batter fuel individualism. In basketball the spotlight shines bright on individuals because we see their faces throughout the game. Plus, a single player like LeBron James or Allen Iverson can carry a team. In the AFBL many players think they can carry a team on their own, but none can. They are the chuckers.
No other league in the world propels individual play the way the AFBL does. There are no set teams and therefore each player is a unique entity. When assembling your next team this should help.
7. Chris Reggiani-He might not know about this blog, so that’s nice. He seems a bit thin skinned at times, which is one of the worst things you can be in AFBL. The second worst is a chucker. Why? Because you suck the fun away from other people. Okay, that is a lie. Being a chucker isn’t all that bad. It’s the type of chucker you are that determines how detrimental you’re play is to your teammates. With that in mind, Chris is not a bad chucker at all. Chris is a soccer player or as our European audience would say, a “foot fairy.” Soccer is not for the weak of heart. It’s genuinely exhausting. Chris is in considerably better shape than anyone on the court. When we all weaken at the end of the day Chris gets his chuck on. He starts taking it to the rim, he throws up ill-advised jumpers, and he takes on all the characteristics of a chucker. Characteristics he previously hid. Something happens in his brain and his previously judicious shot selection becomes profligate. At the end of the day when you pass to Chris don’t expect to get the ball back. Ever. Chris is a chameleon style chucker.
6. Joseph Rose-Joe comes from the Andrew Jeffery Wright School of chucking. He doesn’t get the same level of respect as someone like Jim Houser or Andrew Jones. Therefore no one thinks of Joe as a chucker. Often times, people don’t guard him either. Rose has a ton of open shots. As a result he just heaves up the shots. The problem is that once people start guarding him he doesn’t change his habits. He flings the ball regardless. It’s become Pavlovian. This type of chucking is rather innocuous. It is even intelligible. If there is an open shot, then take the shot. Regardless, he still belongs on the list.
5. The Freeborns-These fellas are an interesting breed of chucker. Andrew is probably the greatest raw talent in the AFBL. From what I’ve been told he guarded Kobe. His brother, John, on the other hand, made a website denouncing Kobe. This provides a little bit of insight into the disparity of their athletic abilities. Despite the gap in athleticism they play a similar style of ball. They both adore the three-pointer. Nothing would make either of them happier than to fling 30 footer after 30 footer all day long. Both have the ability to put the ball on the floor and get closer, high percentage shots. And after an extended period of frustration they are willing to do it. It’s the delay; the fact that they sit on their talents to take lazy shots, that’s what makes them a breed of chucker. I think the most interesting aspect of John’s chucking is his subtle nature. John is not at the top of the list, but he is on the list. As I have guarded him many times I know that his team considers him a chucker. He runs around like a headless chicken on the perimeter looking for the ball only to be ignored by his teammates because they know he’ll fling a long distance dart. His running doesn’t change the fact that he is a lazy chucker.
4. Jim Houser-Honestly? I’m as shocked as you are that Houser is this low in the list. As the official friend to the blog, Ben Jones puts it, “everyone that thinks Houser has some fault should just start a blog about that fault. He’d stop doing whatever it was that irked the blog author, except for, maybe, smoking.” Yes Jimbo, loves them cigarettes. He once told me, “I’ll never quit.” I’ve got no problem with that. It’s likely the cause for his persistent early departures this season. Those early departures may seem a likely cause for Jim’s drop in the chucking department. They are not. Houser chucks early and decreasingly often. He tires and lacks the energy to chuck with a fury by the end. That’s why he leaves. If he can’t throw up shots willy nilly, whats the point? Is it even basketball still? In his opinion, the answer is no. Houser is the original chucker. He is the prototype. He is the first guy to point out to me that his teammates refused to give him the ball. He has all but stopped his early tendencies to chuck. When he did it was thing of beauty. He’d get the ball shake his hands back and forth do some head fake type thing then either try a pull up jumper or put it on the floor. His teammates could just go under the basket looking for a rebound. They rarely did, instead they’d stand around hand on their hips growing dispirited. Or some naïve ballers would think he was going to pass. He never did. Just like a great chucker. Nowadays he still chucks from time to time. When I guard him I can always see it coming as his whole demeanor changes. Somebody shouts out the score. Houser hears his team is down by three or four points. In Jim’s mind he’s six inches away from being talented enough to play in the NBA. Therefore he thinks he can dominate the AFBL. He hears his team is down by a few points and he thinks to himself, “Okay, time to put the team on my shoulders.” His eyes get a little bigger he demands the ball. When this happens I can usually tell my teammates to leave their man alone and just watch Houser. Lately I haven’t, I let Jim have his moment in the sun. I miss the old chucker. Now when I get the chance to see the chucker work his magic I sit back and admire him. Metaphorically speaking, of course. I usually block his shot or steal the ball. He’s nowhere near the NBA.
3. Nicky Santore-Nicky is an outrageous chucker. As with most chuckers, once it gets in his hands forget about ever getting the ball back. Nicky gets passed to more often than anyone else on this list. Why is that? He shoots a high percentage shot. When he gets it going, he gets it going, generally scoring the majority of his teams points. When he doesn’t get it going, well he don’t get phased. My man takes shot after shot until he warms up. If he doesn’t warm up, then so be it. Nicky regularly takes on quadruple teams. When four people are guarding him that means there is at least one person open. Does Nicky make them pay for the mistake? No way, he’s a chucker. Quadruple teams simply mean he has to take a shot that is four times more difficult. Why pass, when you can shoot? If you ask yourself that question, then you are not a chucker. Understand?
2. Andrew Jones-Anchorman and the Big Lebowski are two classic comedies. They are inherently funny but in unique ways. Lebowski is a dark film that relies on sharp writing and surreal performances from its cast. Anchorman’s funny is delivered by the performance and the parody of pompousness. The correlation between the two films is their ability to regenerate hilarity outside of the moment of the film. By this I mean, anyone can quote dialogue from these films at any time and automatically inflect a certain amount of humor because of the reference. What is it about the reference, the quote that is so inherently satisfying? I think it is an easy way to access a secret society. It puts the speaker and their intended audience into a semi-private world. It is an inside joke. I like to make inside jokes and references to just about everything. Films and t.v. are dandy, but a real life event that me and maybe five people are privy to, well that’s gold. Andrew Jones inadvertently gave me one of those moments. More exactly, his chucking gave me one of those moments.
Jeff Zamoff upbraided Andrew Jones, screaming, “Are we playing basketball!” in the middle a game two seasons ago. I was playing in the game. I remember watching Zammer stand at the end of the court while we ran up on offense but I missed this exchange. Kevin Henderson later enlightened me about what happened. As Kevin explained it, Andrew was in his chucking zone. Zammer became frustrated and laid into Andrew. Andrew was running up the court with little to no intention of passing the ball. Zammer, for those that don’t know, or remember, is a strong, athletic, non-art fag (unless you consider playing other peoples music in recorded format an art) whose intense personality could throw people for a loop. He is a really quirky dude. I once saw him walking around West Philadelphia with an Ikea chair a Penn student was throwing out. He said, “People are just getting rid of shit. It’s insane! I picked up a great flowerpot yesterday. Its like two feet high and three feet in diameter.” That’s not a flowerpot that’s a planter. He needed a car and a friend to pick up this massive object. What on earth would a reasonable person do with a planter? It doesn’t matter because the Zammer is unreasonable. Like most eccentrics, his behavior is endearing. In Kevin Henderson’s opinion, at least, Zammer is endearing.
Andrew probably feels differently. Kevin was laughing as he recalled the story about Zammer confronting Andrew Jones. Now whenever Andrew gets into his chucking zone I like to scream to anyone who will listen, “are we playing basketball here?” Most people don’t know what I’m talking about.
I bring this up because I know I will be looking for other people to enter this private world of reference in the future. It is guaranteed that Andrew Jones will start chucking. In a telling sign of the brotherhood of chucking, Jim Houser was the only person that watched this interaction that sympathized with Jones. Houser as I’ve said before is the prototypical chucker.
However Jones is the Bird to Jim Houser’s Magic as far as AFBL chucking is concerned. That’s a misleading comparison. A better analogy is Jones is Shaq and Houser is Duncan. Duncan and Shaq both have championship rings. Houser and Jones are both chuckers. Shaq is a gregarious personality that dominated through a brutally physical style of play. Duncan is a quiet person who uses finesse and sound fundamentals to dominate. They both play the same position, they get the same end result, however they travel on different paths.
Likewise Jones and Houser play a similar game, the 2 guard. However they get their chucks in totally different ways. As I said earlier Houser fades over the course of the day. Jones gets energized. Or deluded. As everyone gets tired Andrew perceives it as a lack of effort and thinks to himself, “well its on me.” He starts dribbling down the court and just lets fly with some genuinely terrible shots. His body is not square to the basket. He takes on four people. Flat out-he does weird stuff.
If you bring up any of this stuff to Andrew, he denies it. This makes him one of my favorite types of chuckers. The denial chucker. To be a chucker is to believe that you are not chucking. Jones takes it to the next level though. Here’s what he can’t deny, statistical evidence. I’ve compiled AJ’s chucking prowess in terms of raw data versus the league. It’s hard to deny these numbers.
Season 3- led in shot attempts, 5th in shots per game
Season 4- led in shot attempts essentially 1st in shots per game. AJW was first per game, but only played one game and threw up nine.
Season 5- only 5 games logged, led in shots per game, 10th in total shots, but if you project his average over the normal amount played, he’d be first in total shots attempted.
Season 6- only .05 shots per game behind the leader, Santore. Tied for second in total shots attempted if you project his attempts over games he is essentially tied for 1st, he is only .25 behind Santore
28% shooter all together, which is middle of the pack
Nicky who is next highest attempter shoots 37%
75 shots on 2/5/05 is the most in a single day of any player.
When I was discussing this post with President Freeborn he reminded me of another altercation Jones had with an AFBLer. Andrew Freeborn also verbally confronted Andrew Jones mid game about Jones’ chucking tendencies. Two people have confronted him in the middle of a game! That’s pretty much insane and yet it’s not enough to make him number one on the list.
1. Amarin Cogburn– I’ve told some people that this was coming, so it’s no big surprise. Some of you out there are scratching your heads. Amarin? That’s exactly why he’s atop the list. He’s the self-aggrandizingly deluded chucker. Amarin has played in a handful of games in the AFBL. Every time he plays, every time he steps on the court he believes himself to be a cross between Michael Jordan and Jesus Christ. The first time I played in the AFBL I deferred to the veterans, playing within my potential, attempting to exploit other players strengths and weaknesses. When No Heart McGirlfriend, as Amarin is known, steps on the court he does no such thing. NHMcG gets on the court, looks for the ball and gets to work. He generally gets the ball in the low post works himself baseline and puts up a soft jumper. How does this differ from Nicky? Well Nicky is there every week. Amarin shows up every so often. Amarin gets the ball, gets tunnel vision and that’s it. Forget about it. In his own words, “I’m no Steve Nash.” In my words he’s a straight up ball hog. He’s okay as a player, but he’s not Michael Christ. He just takes the same amount of shots that MC would. As with the most despicable of chuckers once you dish the ball into his hands you can go look for a rebound.