Elite ‘Glue Guys’ 101 | The Players' Tribune

Shane Battier - Glue Guy / Retired

Some glue guys are made, and others are born.

Myself, I’ve been a glue guy in one capacity or another since I was just a little kid. I viewed it as a matter of survival. You see, I grew up in a predominantly white part of Detroit called Birmingham. My dad was the only black guy in town, and I was born mixed race in a neighborhood where races generally didn’t mix.

This was the early ’80s, mind you. There were no mixed brothers on The A-Team or Three’s Company.

When I first started attending elementary school, it was clear that one of these things was not like the other.

At that age when all you want to do is fit in, I always felt a little different. But early on, I figured out a simple concept that would guide me throughout the rest of my life: People like people who help them win. It doesn’t matter if someone thinks you’re goofy or nerdy or different, if you can help someone win at something, they’ll like you.

So you should have seen little Shane on the kickball field, mini afro and all. I was a beast on the diamond, diving for balls, sliding headfirst whenever I could -– and winning. It was never about the credit that I received. It was about the credit the team got. My teammates knew what I had done to help them and that’s what mattered. I didn’t even realize it at the time, but even back when I needed a hall pass to use the bathroom, I was a glue guy.

Funny thing is, despite being described as a glue guy for more or less my entire life, I still find that there’s no perfect way to describe what the term actually means.

In essence, a glue guy must possess a certain je ne sais quoi.

In regards to skill set, glue guys can either perform adequately at every task or superbly at only a few. There’s no ideal size, but too small to be a big guy and too big to be a small guy seems to be the preferred range. There is usually one thing you do really well on offense and one thing you really do well on defense. For me, it was the corner three ball and generally being a pest on defense. I could be really annoying. Just ask the Mamba.

You also don’t occupy any particular position on the court. On a play-by-play basis, you’ll be tasked with closing out on a shooting guard, or holding on for dear life against a center.

Read the whole article here including more photos.