Basketball Bullies

How to Play Against Basketball Bullies (According to Udonis Haslem)

Do bigger players bully you on the court? Does it suck? The following blog post shares some of Udonis Haslem’s tips for how to deal with these types of players.

Being small sucks for basketball.


Because you’re constantly getting pushed around and bullied by bigger players.

I remember this one time, I had to defend this bigger guy. He wasn’t taller than me by much, but he was a lot stockier than I was. He was stronger, too.

So, he kept posting me up in the low post and bully-balling me. It got really annoying because he kept making baskets off of my lack of size.

However, as annoying as that was, it doesn’t compare to how irritating it was when my once-smaller cousin started bullying me in basketball.

I can’t recall when it started exactly (probably because of the PTSD and brain damage he incurred on me), but this giganto-jerk just, one day, randomly started to straight-up body me in basketball.

He would shove me all over the place (on defence and offence). I would call a foul on him and he would simply just call me the B-word and keep possession of the ball.

One teardrop would shed from my left eye every time I play against him.

Being small really sucks!

I’m sure many of you average Joes and Janes have experienced this before (the part about being bullied on the court by bigger players… not harassed by your family).

And I’m sure you didn’t enjoy it. I surely didn’t.

So you’re probably looking for ways to stop this from continuing.

You want to know how to stop getting pushed over (literally and figuratively) on the basketball court.

Lucky for you (and me), the Miami Heat’s resident tough guy, Udonis Haslem, recently offered some tips that can help you (and me).

How to Prevent Getting Bullied on the Basketball Court

Speaking to his teammate, Duncan Robinson, on The Long Shot podcast, Haslem said that if you let players push you around too often, they will continue to push you around often.

Thus, you have to stand up for yourself if players start pushing you around.

(ATTN: There’s lots of profanity in the following clip and quote)

“Don’t take no s–t from nobody. Stand up for your f–kin self on that court. Don’t even let a motherf–ker get in the habit of f–king you over and pushing you down and knocking you down and just doing underhanded s—t.

“Because I’m telling you, people remember if they was able to punk you or push you or whatever. So, don’t even let them start that habit.”

Haslem, if you don’t know, has been in a number of scuffles throughout his NBA career.

In the podcast episode, he mentioned his scuffle with Dwight Howard. He’s also tangled with the likes of David West, Kevin Garnett, and Tyler Hansborough.

But here’s the key thing: he doesn’t just (basketball) fight because he’s hot-tempered -he does it so that dirty players won’t mess with him and his teammates.

It’s really a form of self-defence.

Haslem’s Advice

Now, just because he starts (basketball) fights doesn’t mean that you should with basketball bullies as well.

Rather, what you have to do -and what he is telling his teammate to do- is stand up for yourself and let the bullies know that you’re not going to take their crap.

This could be in the form of you telling them that their play is dirty. It could be in the form of you getting into their face. It could be in the form of you getting into a heated argument with them.

But the “scuffle” doesn’t have to get physical.

How to Stand Up For Yourself on the Basketball Court

So, how can you practice being tougher (or braver)? Well, you can practice this by studying philosophy.

Yes, I know this is probably the last thing you want to do to improve your basketball skills.

But when it comes to courage, philosophy really is the best way to go.

Now, you’re most likely thinking that I’m suggesting you go and read a copious amount of philosophy books and then ponder on how the concepts can make the universe a better place.

I’m not.

What I am saying is that you should read some lessons on your problem and then try to apply it.

To get you started, here are three Stoic lessons from the philosopher Seneca and from the philosopher-king Marcus Aurelius that can help you (and me):

“If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you’re needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person.” -Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality” -Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” -Marcus Aurelius

Final Thoughts

Being tougher and standing your ground isn’t something that is always taught in basketball.

But it’s as important as all of the fundamental skills.

So, if you want to not get pushed around anymore, take Haslem’s advice and follow -and apply- the words of Seneca.

Hopefully, this will help both you and me stop basketball bullies (and our jerky younger cousins) from playing dirty.