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Basketball Maneuvers I Would Feel Comfortable Performing In Front Of An NBA Player, Ranked

Steve Nash plays pickup basketball in Beijing in 2009.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

A 2018 clip of Joel Embiid playing pickup basketball is recirculating this week. Watching the civilian in the clip receive an entry pass from Embiid and take a few abortive dribbles before flinging a kick-out pass in Embiid’s direction got the staff thinking about the absurdity of performing any basketball maneuver in the vicinity of a flesh-and-blood NBA player.

It must feel stupid and doomed. But it must be kinda neat, too. Anyway, here is a definitive ranking:

  1. Passing ball to NBA player
  2. Allowing NBA player to bounce the ball off of one’s face
  3. Building team morale by celebrating NBA player’s feats
  4. Getting windmill-dunked on by Joel Embiid
  5. Dominant-hand layup
  6. Receiving pass from NBA player while stationary
  7. Spot-up jumper
  8. Off-hand layup
  9. Pull-up jumper
  10. Receiving pass from NBA player while on the move
  11. Setting screen for NBA player
  12. Rebounding
  13. “Defending” NBA player