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Basketball Terms You Need To Know To Be An Expert

List RulesVote up the words and phrases that are most important for understanding basketball

What are the most important basketball terms to know? Basketball terms and phrases can be hard to understand when casually watching a game or in the early stages of one’s fandom. Some NBA slang will extend beyond just knowing the positions played by LeBron James or Stephen Curry or the names of the stats they accumulate.

Phrases related to basketball can range from the basic to insider, NBA slang, but they are all things fans should know to become experts. Whether you're using these terms on the court, at home with your friends, or just listening to a game on TV or the radio, all the NBA jargon below will be helpful in keeping your conversation flowing. 

So pass the rock and give yourself a triple double by voting up the terms related to basketball that will be most useful for people just getting to know the sport or for basketball fans who need a primer.

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  • 1

    Air Ball

    24
    6

    Definition: A missed shot that does not touch the rim or any part of the basket

  • 2

    Triple Double

    18
    2

    Definition: The stat line of a player reaching triple digits in three statistical categories such as points, rebounds, and assists

  • 3

    Swish

    18
    3

    Definition: A shot that goes in the net without touching the rim or basket, thus making a "swish" sound

  • 4

    And One

    17
    1

    Definition: The act of a player scoring a basket and drawing a foul to get a free throw

  • 5

    Alley-Oop

    16
    1

    Definition: The play of one teammate passing the ball and another catching and dunking perfectly

  • 6

    Flop

    16
    4

    Definition: The act of a player faking or exaggerating pain to get a favorable call by the referees

  • 7

    Double Double

    16
    6

    Definition: The stat line of a player reaching double digits in two statistical categories such as points and rebounds or points and assists, etc.

  • 8

    Screen

    13
    3

    Definition: A play where one teammate stands in the way of a defender allowing the player with the ball to get past the defender or switch to a weaker defender

  • 9

    Rejected

    10
    0

    Definition: When a defender emphatically blocks a player's shot

  • 10

    Ball Hog

    10
    1

    Definition: A player who takes too many shots and does not pass the ball to his teammates

  • 11

    Putback

    13
    5

    Definition: A dunk that features the player rebounding a missed shot and putting it back into the basket

  • 12

    Trey

    13
    6

    Definition: A cool nickname for a 3-point shot that goes in

  • 13

    Flagrant Foul

    11
    3

    Definition: A hard foul deemed unprofessional and dangerous by the referees, allowing the opposing player to shoot two free throws and get the ball back

  • 14

    Fadeaway

    10
    1

    Definition: A tough yet beautiful shot of a player falling backward and away from the basket

  • 15

    Brick

    11
    4

    Definition: A poorly missed shot that touches the rim but had no chance of going in the basket

  • 16

    Technical Foul

    11
    4

    Definition: A foul called for unsportsmanlike conduct allowing the opposing team to get a free throw

  • 17

    Post Up

    8
    0

    Definition: When a player backs up into a usually smaller defender in the paint to try to get the easy shot

  • 18

    Board

    10
    3

    Definition: Another term for a rebound, AKA catching the ball after a missed shot.

  • 19

    Bank Shot

    9
    2

    Definition: A made shot that goes in the basket after bouncing off the backboard

  • 20

    Dagger

    9
    2

    Definition: A clutch shot in the final moments that wins the game or puts it out of reach for the opposing team

  • 21

    Bench Warmer

    10
    4

    Definition: A player who does not get much playing time and spends most of the game sitting on the bench

  • 22

    Charge

    7
    1

    Definition: An offensive foul when the player with the ball runs into a non-moving defender

  • 23

    Hook Shot

    7
    1

    Definition: A one-handed shot with a player extending one's arm to his side and over the basket in the shooting motion

  • 24

    Dish

    8
    2

    Definition: To make a good pass that assists in a teammate scoring a basket

  • 25

    Double Team

    6
    0

    Definition: When an offensive player is defended by two opposing players at once.