A “glue guy” is usually not the biggest star, but a player who does all the little things to help a team win. THe term was used in baseball in the 1940s and 1950s. “(New York Yankees shortstop Phil—ed.) Rizzuto, the glue guy of the Yankee infield” was cited in print in 1949.
“Glue guy” became a popular term in basketball in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. “"He’s the glue guy for Connecticut” was cited in 1999 and said about a player on the University of Connecticut’s basketball team. “This is a guy who does the dirty work,” a Sports Illustrated associate editor explained in 2004, defining the “glue guy” label.
“Glue guy” is most frequently used in basketball and has been used only infrequently in football and hockey. Several sportswriters make lists of basketball’s best “glue guys.”
27 October 1949, Ogden (UT) Standard-Examiner, “Fraley Picks Major League All-Stars” by Oscar Fraley (UP), pg. 2B, col. 6:
Any team in baseball barring, perhaps, Brooklyn, would swap shortstops and take Rizzuto, the glue guy of the Yankee infield.
25 June 1955, The Bee (Danville, VA), “Sports Roundup” by Gayle Talbot (AP), pg. 9, col .4:
“He’s (Boston Red Sox shortstop Billy Klaus—ed.) a real glue guy and he probably was the last man on the roster that you would have expected anything from in spring training.”
12 February 1958, Post-Tribune (Jefferson City, MO), “Sports Musings” by Tom Muse, pg. 6, col. 2:
“AI Dark is the ‘glue guy’ of the team and when you’re a pennant contender you cant afford to gamble with a relatively untried performer—unless, of course, you have no alternative.”
(Cardinal sportscaster Harry Caray.—ed.)
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9 January 1970, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Dispatch, “Romain’ Around” by Jimmy Miller, pg. 16, col. 2:
Charley (Williams, of ABA basketball’s Pittsburgh Pipers—ed.) not only is a scorer but he is a top playmaker and one of the best “glue” guys in the business.
1 February 1999, Syracuse (NY) Herald-Journal, “Freeman refuses to lose,” pg. D4, col. 1:
“He’s the glue guy for Connecticut,” Notre Dame coach John MacLeod said.
18 January 2000, The Herald Bulletin (Anderson, IN), “Clayton,” pg. B2, col. 2:
That means signing unrestricted free agent tight end Ken Dilger, an Indiana native and one of the “glue” guys on offense. He blocks, he catches, he leads—and he is as important to the Colts’ image in the community as he is on the field.
Google Groups: alt.sports.basketball.nba.gs-warriors
Observation so far in the season....
My vote for the “glue guy” for the Warriors is Danny Fortson. He isn’t injured (crossing my fingers) and he’s provided the rebound skills that have helped the team tremendously. The Warriors out-rebounded teams like the Blazers, which limits the opposing team to one shot per trip down the court. He also provides an insidepresence on the offensive side.
Google Groups: alt.sports.basketball.nba.la-lakers
Is Bryon Russell........
i thought russell was great tonight, he’s definitely a “glue” guy that a team *has* to have to succeed. i confess i was worried that the lakers might come unglued with the loss of horry and shaw--two definitive glue
guys--but the play of russell and the willingness of payton and malone to do the little things is helping assuage that fear.
1 February 2004, Rockford (IL) Register Star, “Sophomore point guard helps Belvidere in blowout of Harlem” by Paul Anthony Arco, pg. 2C, col. 6:
“They have a bunch of good glue guys. They need each other to win and they make each other better.”
(Harlem coach Frank Haney.—ed.)
Google Groups: alt.sports.college.sec.kentucky
Hayes wants All-America; S.I. dubs him ‘Glue Guy’
Somehow, the term “complementary player” has taken on a bad connotation. It’s come to mean a player who lacks some ingredient necessary to be a star. Maybe that’s why UK Coach Tubby Smith initially recoiled at the suggestion that Hayes might be a complementary player, albeit a very good one.
Albert Lin, the associate editor for Sports Illustrated on Campus, acknowledged that the magazine struggled to properly define the “Glue Guy” label.
“This is a guy who does the dirty work,” Lin said. “Originally, we were going to use the term ‘garbage man.’ But I took that out. I was worried about the reaction.”
The Importance of a ‘Glue Guy’
Author: By Alan Stein, CCS, CSCS, Date: Dec 2, 2011
Who is the glue on your team?
Who holds your team together? Who keeps the team focused when times are tough? Who does all of the little things to make your team successful--takes charges, dives for loose balls, hits crucial free throws, is a pest on defense, and sets solid screens? Who doesn’t worry about how many points he scores or how much he plays but rather if the team wins and if he did everything within his role to contribute?
Ranking the NBA’s Top 15 Glue Guys
By James Davis , Senior Analyst Oct 10, 2013
Gauging the potential of any sports team requires looking beyond the superstar face of a franchise and zeroing in on the player who serves as the linchpin.
Sure, the franchise player is going to lead the team in pertinent statistical categories and be frequently trusted to deliver in critical game situations; meanwhile, the person who facilitates game aspects that make the main guy’s big moments possible gets lost in all of that glory.
College basketball preseason: 10 ‘glue guys’ to watch
By Jon Rothstein | CBS Sports
October 15, 2013 12:22 pm ET
There’s nothing in college hoops like a great glue guy, a player who might not get the glory but is essential to making the machine go. Below is a list of 10 players to watch, heading into the 2013-14 season, who do all the little things for their respective teams. In no particular order…
MAKING IT WORK: SOME OF THE NBA’S BEST GLUE GUYS
April 4, 2014
The term “glue guy” refers to the player on the team who does the intangibles. He’s the guy that sets really good screens, makes the pass that leads to the pass for the assist, rebounds, defends, scores sneakily and just doesn’t really do anything to hurt his team’s chances.
You know…THAT guy.
Every team has one or two. Some are starters that round out very good lineups to begin the game, while others come off the bench for that quintessential emotional lift that can’t always be measured by statistics.