Basketball Terms, Slang, and Jargon Finally Explained!


What’s a bank shot? What's a Dime? Our Basketball Sportionary (sports-dictionary, get it?) has the answers to all of your basketball jargon-related questions!

We'll give you the term, the definition, and provide you with some insight on the deeper meaning of the slang behind the word.

Only at Sugar and Sports, will you get the answer you're looking for #Straight,NoChaser. We'll give you the facts.

If you're looking for a specific word, just hit "Command F" (for Mac users) or "Control F" (for PC) and type in the word!

Basketball Sportionary:

2-for-1 - A clock manipulation strategy that sees, during the final few possessions of a period, a team hold onto or shoot the ball in an attempt to maximize their possessions and minimize their opponent's shot attempts.

Straight, No Chaser - 40 seconds on the clock? Let's shoot it now so after their 24 seconds, we can have around 16 seconds for the last shot of the quarter.

2-3 Zone Defense - Defensive zone scheme that places 2 guards at the top of the court, with 2 wing defenders, usually forwards covering the corners and baseline, and a Center regulating the paint.

Airball - (aka brick) A missed shot that fails to touch the rim or the backboard

Straight, No Chaser - If somebody does this, they should be embarrassed. Lord knows I would be.

Automatic - When somebody has been making every shot they take lately.

Straight, No Chaser - Get the ball to this guy, he’s on Fire!

And-One - The extra free throw a player gets after making a shot he was fouled by the other team on.

Draymond Green likes to shout this each and every time he is touched when going up for a shot, all in a desperate, theatric attempt to get in the heads of the opponent.

Assist - The pass a player throws to the scorer of the basket.

Backboard - The large rectangular piece of glass holding the rim of the basket.

Bank Shot - A shot that bounces off the Backboard, then into the basket

Box-Out - To get in between the opposing player and the basket, as to retrieve a potential missed shot.

Carry - When a player fails to dribble the ball between too many steps

Charge - Offensive foul committed by ball handler that runs into a defender

Crossover - Offensive ballhandler dribbling the ball across their own body and past opponent, towards the basket.

Straight, No Chaser - a filthy move requiring balance and speed. Here’s some of the best ones

Double-Dribble - dribbling the ball with two hands, or starts dribbling again after dribble was stopped

Dropping Dimes, or “dime” - Somebody is said to be dropping dimes when they are passing the ball to people who then are put in a good position to score.

Straight, No Chaser - Sharing is caring

Drive - Offense ball handler strategy to quickly beat the defender to the basket with the ball, Russel Westbrooks go-to strategy

Euro-Step - When ballhandler takes a step in one direction than quickly in another, towards the basket, to shoot, layup or pass the basketball.

Straight, No Chaser - Very sexy move, slow feet don’t eat!

Facial - A filthy (downright disgusting) dunk over a defenders body

Straight, No Chaser - The most disrespectful offense move in the game today.

Fadeaway - sauciest of all shots, taken when momentum and lean is pulling you away from the basket.

*Straight, No Chaser - “*Kobe!”

Fast Break - Quick reaction of the offensive team to beat the opposing defense down to their hoop in the hopes of scoring

Straight, No Chaser - Defense got caught napping!

Flop - To overreaction to an action by your opponent with the hopes the referee will call a foul you will benefit from.

Straight, No Chaser - NBA = Nothing But Actors

Hops - Describes somebody's superb jumping ability.

Key - (aka the paint) painted rectangular area directly under the basket and extending out towards the free throw line.

Lay-Up - shot taken by a driving ball handler very close to the basket, with the shooter’s momentum leaving them somewhere behind the basket.

Making it Rain - Knocking down all your shots from everywhere on the court.

Straight, No Chaser - Fun Fact, Every NBA game Steph Curry plays, the stadium must supply enough ponchos for all fans and bystanders in the first 8 rows. Steph Curry also has to take out flood insurance for every building he enters. He makes it rain a lot.

Man-to-Man - Defensive strategy that assigns one defender to one offensive player usually based on position/skillset matchup.

Outlet - Offensive strategy that refers to the defending rebounder to quickly passing to a teammate to start a fast break.

Rebound - Gaining possession of the ball after a missed shot

Straight, No Chaser - Usually the stronger, larger players are best at this. But alot of rebounding has to do with effort and desire, how much more you want it than the other player.

Post-Up - Offensive strategy used by more powerful players who turn their back to the defender and back down the defender to close the distance between themselves and the basket

Screen - Offensive teammate blocks on-ball defender’s path to defensive assignment with their body.

Swish - Made shot that touches nothing but net

Three-in-the-Key - Violation (turnover) by offensive player for spending over 3 seconds in the key without a shot attempt.

"T" - Technical Foul, which gives the opposing team 1 free throw shot.

Travel - Violation (turnover) by ball-handler for illegally moving pivot foot, or taking three or more steps without dribbling.

Zone Defense - Defensive strategy where each player is assigned to guard any opponent in their assigned “zone” on the court