Basketball Slang Terms You May Not Know

OK, so we all know what a slam dunk is, and we know a little about the alley-oop, too. But these are really basic basketball slang terms. Some of the more original slang terms that are used in basketball circles carry more interesting stories, and are worth looking at a bit more closely. A few examples follow.

If you perform a move that leaves your opponent standing around like an idiot – perhaps you have managed to complete a slam dunk over his head, then you are said to have “posterized” him. This term comes from the usual shots used on posters of star basketball players in full flow with an opponent trying, but failing, to stop them. The implication is that this person will be on a poster, but as the poor mark standing and watching as you do something awesome.

Hack-A-Shaq” is a tactical move which is pretty much indistinguishable from fouling your opponent. This is because it is fouling your opponent. It is only applicable, though, when playing against someone you know can’t make free throws. Shaquille O’Neal, for all his ability with a basketball, is a terrible free-throw shooter – to the extent where teams feel confident fouling him. It stops him dunking the ball and he’s likely to miss the shots.

Finally, two terms which are entirely literal: “All Ball” and “Nothing But Net”. The first is shouted at a referee who has blown for a foul when you have blocked an opponent’s shot – the implication being that you haven’t touched your opponent, just slammed the ball away. The second applies to a jump shot you have hit which caught none of the rim on the way in. With that lovely “swish noise”, all it hit was net.

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