At a casual glance, basketball is a simple game consisting of putting the ball through the hoop more often than the other team. To accomplish this, however, basketball is a horribly complex game rife with intricate plays, formations and strategies to maximize opportunities to score. While a team’s playbook may resemble an unreadable prescription written by a hyperactive doctor, one easy play stands out from all the rest because it is ridiculously effective and easy to implement: the pick and roll.
To illustrate, picture yourself at a crowded club. You are with some friends having a good time when the prototypical creep (slightly too old for the establishment, clothes noticeably too tight, using dance moves from yesteryear, smells of far too much cheap cologne, perhaps sunglasses at night, and the general aura of scumbag) makes his way toward you and offers to buy you a drink. You tell him that you already have a drink, you are not thirsty, you are training to become a nun and have given up alcohol; basically anything to ward off this disaster waiting to happen.
However, he was not born with the wherewithal to pickup on subtlety, so he continues to try and win your affections with more drink offers, dance offers, and other offers that may not be printable. Now he is bordering on harassment, so you call your girlfriends over to initiate the perfect pick and roll. Yes, that’s right. You have run a pick and roll before, you just never realized it until now.
Girlfriend A (we’ll call her Madison) and Girlfriend B (Samantha) make their way toward you. You walk away from the creep and he tries to follow. Madison and Samantha quickly position themselves between you and the creep, effectively blocking his path. Now you bolt in a different direction, using the crowd to your advantage and you escape out the exit, making your way to another club with names such as Destruction, Catacomb, or Hellish.
On the basketball court, the pick and roll works like this: Player A (You) has the ball and is being guarded by Player X (The Creep). Player A’s teammate, Player B (Samantha), runs over and basically stands to one side of Player X (called a “pick”) blocking his ability to effectively guard Player A. Player A then dribbles toward the basket. Player B “rolls” away and stands open, ready to receive the ball. Player A has the option to continue toward the basket to try and score, or pass to Player B letting him try to score. The play takes between 3-5 seconds, and when done correctly, is a potent weapon for any basketball team. Teams can run this play every time without it losing effectiveness. Karl Malone and John Stockton, both former members of the Utah Jazz, put together Hall of Fame caliber careers by implementing the pick and roll for 18 years together.
Stockton and Malone resembled the perfect chemistry of Thelma and Louise. Only, Stockton and Malone wouldn’t have died in the end. They would have figured out a way to escape and would still be at large, sipping mimosas at some posh villa in the south of France.
That’s the power of the pick and roll. It can allow you score at will on the basketball court, aid your escape from a perverted creep at a crowded club, and help you run-off to the south of France to drink mimosas, rather than having to drive off of a cliff to a fiery death.