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Basketball Terms Tips

Read these 30 Basketball Terms Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Basketball tips and hundreds of other topics.

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To make a shot right before the end of quarter, half, or game.



Slang term for the ability to jump. Ex: “Vince Carter has mad hops”.


Cherry Pick

To stay on your side of the court when the other team has the ball. You basically don't play defense, so that if the other team misses, you are all by yourself for an easy lay-up. Needles to say, you won't make many friends if cherry picking is a part of your arsenal.



Has two meanings in regards to the game of basketball. You can beat an opponent, meaning you gained an advantage over a defender using the dribble or post position. Also you can beat a shot, which is a slang term meaning to block a shot. Ex: "I beat his shot into the second row".



Slang term for an "assist", which is a stat given to any player whose pass leads to an immediate score. Ex: “Jason Kidd was dropping dimes left and right.”

what are the parts of the court?


The wing is located at the intersection of the three point line and where the free throw line extended would meet it.



A common basketball term for the area behing the three point line. Ex: "That guy can't miss from downtown".

What is a double triple?


The term "triple double" means that you achieve double digit stats in three different categories. For example: 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists would be a triple-double. If you achieve double digit stats in two categories it's considered a "double double". If you achieve this goal in four categories, it's the ultra-rare "quadruple double." The statistical categories evaluated for this achievement are points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks.

what are the parts of the court?

Strongside and Weakside

The strong side of the court is the one on the side of the ball. The weakside is the side of the floor away from the ball.(also called helpside)

Where is the elbow on the basketball court?


The "elbow," another basketball term, is the internsection of the free throw line and the side of the "key." The key is also known as the free throw lane, the 12 foot area into which the basketball player cannot go when taking a free throw shot.

what are the parts of the court?


The baseline is the line beneath both baskets that designates the "out of bounds" line at each end of the court. This is another basketball term with multiple names and is also known as the endline or baseline.



To miss a shot so badly, it sounds like somebody threw a brick at the rim instead of a basketball. Ex. “He was throwing bricks up all night.”

What is the origin of basketball and basketball terminology?

Origins of Basketball

Dr. James Naismith was the Athletic Director for McGill University in Montreal. He invented the game of basketball around 1891 when he was working at a Massachusetts YMCA. He developed the game so athletes could play a sport indoors during the long New England winters. The first game was played with a soccer ball and two peach baskets as the goals. Basketball's terminology has been growing and evolving ever since those humble beginnings.


The Rock

Slang term for the actual basketball. Ex: "Yo‘, pass me the rock!”.



A slang term meaning "to get dunked on". Usually the dunk is made in such a manner that if a snapshot of the dunk could be blown up and put on a kid's wall, it would make a great poster. Ex: "You just got posterized by that guy".


Power Dribble

A dribble used in the low post involving a two handed, short dribble, usually in line with the middle of your body. A wide base is made with the feet, then a two handed "power dribble" is used.


Push The Ball

To dribble up the court quickly, usually because the offense has an advantage on the fast break.

what are the parts of the court?

High Post, Mid Post and Low Post

High Post: The free throw area at "elbow" is called the high post. Mid Post: The area between the low and high post is the mid-post. Low Post: The low post is on the block at the edge of the key, even with the front of the rim.

what are the parts of the court?


The block has two meanings in the game of basketball. As a verb, it means to deflect the shot of an offensive player. As a noun, it means the area directly under the rim, designated by two hash marks along the outside of the "key".



When two guys defend one. Ex: "Every time I touch the ball I get doubled”.


Filling The Lane

On a fast break there are three lanes: middle, left wing, and right wing. All these lanes should be filled to create proper spacing on the break.



Slang term for a player’s ability to dribble the basketball. Ex: “Steve Nash has nice handles.”



Slang term meaning to completely defend an opponent to the point he cannot do anything on offense. Ex: "I got that dude on lock-down”.



Slang term describing a good shot. Usually associated with "splashing the nets" the shot is so good. Ex: "His shot is wet”.



An off the ball screen, usually done while the defender has his back to the screener.



Basketball term meaning that the offense has more players over half-court than the defense does. Ex: "I pushed the ball up-court because we had numbers”.


Explosion Point

This is where a player gets his "explosion" or quickness for a move. It is the point on the floor where the foot pushes off, creating the change in direction needed to get by an opponent. The "explosion" is done in the opposite direction of where the player wants to go. If you want to go left, then your explosion point would be your right foot, and you would push off to the left. If you want to explode forward, your explosion point would be your back foot, and you would explode forward.



Just like a pick and roll, instead there is no roll. The screener instead "pops" outside for a quick jump shot.



Slang term for a very good outside shooter. Ex: "Reggie Miller was butters from outside”.



Slang term for when a player hooks an opponent, usually to gain some kind of positional advantage on the court. Ex: "He caught me with a chickenwing

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