One of the most overused terms in sports of the last few years has been referring to athletes as “clutch”. Does anyone even know what it really means? The definition and criteria seems to change every week. And folks seem to alter its meaning to tailor it to fit the mold of their favorite player. Let’s look a little deeper to find out what being clutch really means.
Most people equate “clutch” with making a shot at the end of the game. Let’s get one thing straight, a blind, armless monkey would eventually make a buzzer beater. That doesn’t make you clutch. In fact, getting the ball with only enough time to catch and shoot really isn’t a pressure situation at all. The decision has been made for you. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some straight up killers that demand the ball at the end of games and relish in those moments. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about half court heaves, lucky shots with less than a second on the clock, things like that. If we’re judging by that criteria then I’m sure you think a lottery winner is a financial genius. Just because the winning numbers for the Mega-millions jackpot happened to be your cat’s birthday and you filled out 1,000 lottery tickets that week doesn’t make you Warren Buffett. It just makes you………..lucky.
There are many opportunities to display the “clutch gene” besides miracle shots at the end of games. It’s several key moments during games that require one to step up and elevate their play in order to lead their team to victory. When the other team is on a run and you need a bucket to stop the bleeding and regain control of the game, that’s clutch. You can be clutch defensively as well. An opposing player is wreaking havoc on your team and one of your guys steps up to the challenge and gives that dude fits, that’s clutch. I see things like this getting overlooked a lot. There are so many critical moments during games that it’s damn near criminal to label someone a “hero” for making a shot when they had little to no recourse to do anything else besides shoot the ball. Joe McRegular Guy can hit a buzzer beater and be labeled a savior for the rest of his life while there are dudes who are doing the dirty work, making key plays and sacrificing for their teams and are simply looked at as doing their jobs.
One last thing, being “clutch” is all about coming through for your team when the stakes are the highest!!!! Now I’m not one of these “regular season doesn’t matter” guys. I definitely think coming up big against the likes of Golden State, Houston or any other contender during the season means more than having a great game against one of the cellar dweller teams in the league. But if we’re being real, it’s all about the playoffs. It’s all about rising to the occasion. You can’t shrink in the biggest moments and call yourself a clutch player. At some point, you have to prove that you’re able to put the team on your shoulders and get the job done when it matters the most. Those are the moments that make you.
A lot of players are being labeled clutch that don’t fit the description. But with the way these NewBA dudes dress nowadays, people could very well be saying “clutch” so much because they’re talking about a purse.