Not every player in the NBA can be a superstar. It is literally impossible, because if every player was a superstar than every player would also be a role player, which makes them not a superstar and we’re back to my original statement. That’s all semantics and Communist policy though. What I’m trying to say is that there are very clearly defined hierarchies in the NBA. Some players are superstars, others are garbage time all-stars. “That’s just the way it is.” — hologram 2Pac
But the thing is, some of these scrubs become fan favorites, whether it be due to their silly antics, clutch fast food-winning shots or, most often, pale skin. Think Brians Scalabrine and Cardinal, who are the NBA’s foremost end of the bench luminaries.
However, these guys want to be so much more than just a joke for fans to cheer for when they get put in with 42 seconds remaining in a 26-point game. Just listen to what Luke Babbitt has to say about his role as the Trail Blazers’ designated Chalupa Guy. From the Columbian:
“There are guys like that on every team, where it becomes a joke. That’s what I was, and to some people, I still am. I’m trying to bust out of that,” said Babbitt, 22. “I play to be a winner, to be a contributor, not a guy who comes in and makes Chalupa shots. … Still, we’ve got the best fans, and I can’t really blame them because for a year and a half, I hadn’t really done anything else.”
It’s a tough role to play for these guys. They’re legitimate NBA players but all anyone knows about them is that they’re the guy who hits the three to take things from 97 to 100 and put some food in some hands. They don’t see the practice time they’re putting in or the one-on-one games that these guys are playing to help make their more important teammates better. It’s better to have fans like you than hate you, but it has to be hard for these Chalupa Guys to just be Chalupa Guys when they wish they could be doing more.
And that feeling is probably even more pronounced for someone like Luke Babbitt. At least the Brians are nearing the end of their careers, basically just hanging on to roster spots because they are good professionals who are valuable to their coaches as teachers. Luke Babbitt was the 16th pick just two summers ago, selected ahead of guys like Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford who have had more chances to prove themselves as NBA players. Playing behind the 68 forwards that the Trail Blazers have employed in the past two seasons has made it hard for Babbitt to establish himself on the court, aside from his role as the team’s Chalupa Guy, even though his teammates admit he’s the team’s best shooter.
There are worse things in the world than being your team’s Chalupa Guy. You make millions of dollars, fans love you and sometimes you get hilarious tribute videos. All things considered, it’s a pretty good gig. But no one wants to be the Chalupa Guy. Truth be told, it’s kind of like eating a chalupa. You never really want it, but it still feels pretty good.
(via Blazer’s Edge)