The NBA’s Biggest Scrubs Are Still Substantially Better at Playing Basketball Than You

Brian Scalabrine has been out of the league for almost a decade and still wins one-on-one challenges

Brian Scalabrine on the court at a BIG3 game
Brian Scalabrine looks to pass during a BIG3 game in August 2019.
Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty

White. Doughy. Slow. And much, much better at basketball than you’ll ever be.

That’s Brian Scalabrine, who retired from the NBA in 2012, in a nutshell.

Speaking with The New York Times, Scalabrine revealed that it is fairly common for him to be dared to play one-on-one when he is shooting around at the gym because people recognize him and assume he sucks because of how he looks.

Scalabrine, who averaged 3.1 points per game for his career and was almost exclusively an end-of-the-bench option in the NBA, has proven time and again that he is up to the challenge.

Shortly after his retirement, the 11-year NBA vet took on four of Boston’s best ballers in one-on-one in 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Scallenge,” put on by morning hosts Toucher & Rich.

In addition to beating the three hosts playing him in three-on-one by an 11-1 margin, Scalabrine easily defeated all four of his opponents — some of whom were college players or elite high school stars — by a combined score of 44-6.

“He’s quick defensively,” said Scalabrine opponent Jon Hazzard. “He’s long and his length really bothered me. Some of the shots I can usually get off I couldn’t get off. The ball just didn’t go my way. He hits some big threes, I had one rim out and that really changed the tone of the game.”

More recently, the 43-year-old beat an overeager high schooler 11-0 in a game for a pair of sneakers at a gym in Massachusetts.

Per Scalabrine, who now works as a television analyst for the Boston Celtics and is maniacal about working out on the road when he travels with the team, most people just don’t realize that professional athletes have an extra gear they can tap into, even after they’re retired.

“I would always say things, like in a game, ‘If I miss this next shot, my kids are going to die,’” Scalabrine told the Times. “I would say that to myself, just to get through, just to put the pressure so I can lock in and make the shot. Being a white NBA player from the suburbs, I have to level up. People don’t understand how a little bit nuts you have to be to sustain an NBA career. Especially when you’re not that talented. You have to be ready. You have to be up for the fight. You have to be like that every day. And if you’re not, you lose your livelihood.”

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