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Basketball Glossary and Terms

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Airball - A basketball shot that misses everything; net, backboard, and rim.

Ally-oop - A pass high above the basketball rim that allows a player to catch and slam dunk or drop in the ball in one motion.

Assist - A pass to another basketball player that leads directly to a made basket.

Backboard - The rectangular piece of wood or fiberglass that the rim attaches to.

Backboard shown with rim, net, and ball
Source: US Navy

Bench - The substitute basketball players.

Block Out or Box Out - Getting your body between the basketball player and the basket to get a rebound.

Blocked Shot - When a defensive basketball player makes contact with the basketball while another player is shooting the ball.

Bounce Pass - In this pass, the basketball bounces about two-thirds of the way from the passer to the receiver.

Brick - A poor shot that bounces hard off the rim or backboard.

Carry the Ball - similar to traveling. When a basketball player moves with the ball without properly dribbling it.

Charging - an offensive foul which occurs when an offensive basketball player runs into a defender who has established position.

Chest Pass - the basketball is passed directly from the passer's chest to the receiver's chest. This has the advantage that it takes the least time to complete, as the passer tries to pass as directly straight as possible.

Court - the area bounded by 2 sidelines and 2 end lines containing a basket at each end, in which a basketball game is played.

Defense - the act of preventing the offense from scoring; the basketball team without the ball.

Double Team - when two basketball teammates join efforts in guarding a single opponent.

Dribbling - the act of bouncing the basketball continuously.

Dunk - when a player close to the basket jumps and strongly throws the ball down into it.

End Line - the boundary line behind each basket; also called the baseline.

Fast Break - a basketball play that begins with a defensive rebound by a player who immediately sends an outlet pass toward midcourt to his waiting teammates; these teammates can sprint to their basket and quickly shoot before enough opponents catch up to stop them.

Field Goal - when the basketball enters the basket from above during play; worth 2 points, or 3 points if the shooter was standing behind the 3-point line.

Forwards - the two basketball players on the team that are responsible for rebounding and scoring close up to the basket. They are usually taller than the guards.

Foul Lane - the painted area bordered by the end line and the foul line, outside which players must stand during a free-throw; also the area an offensive basketball player cannot spend more than 3-seconds at a time in.

Foul Line - the line 15' from the backboard and parallel to the end line from which basketball players shoot free-throws.

Guards - the two basketball players who usually handle setting up plays and passing to teammates closer to the basket.

Jump Ball - Two opposing basketball players jump for a basketball an official tosses above and between them.

Layup - a close up shot taken after dribbling to the basket.

Offense - the team with possession of the basketball.

Personal Foul - contact between basketball players that may result in injury or provide one team with an unfair advantage; players may not push, hold, trip, hack, elbow, restrain or charge into an opponent.

Rebound - when a basketball player grabs a ball that is coming off the rim or backboard after a shot attempt; see offensive rebound and defensive rebound.

Screen - when the offensive basketball player stands between a teammate and a defender to give his teammate the chance to take an open shot.

Shot Clock - a clock that limits the time a team with the basketball has to shoot it to a given amount of time.

Traveling - when the ball handler takes too many steps without dribbling; also called walking.

Turnover - when the offense loses possession through its own fault by passing the basketball out of bounds or committing a floor violation.

Zone Defense - a defense where each defender is responsible for an area of the court and must guard any player who enters that area.

More Basketball Links:

Basketball Rules
Referee Signals
Personal Fouls
Foul Penalties
Non-Foul Rule Violations
The Clock and Timing
Basketball Court
Player Positions
Point Guard
Shooting Guard
Small Forward
Power Forward
Basketball Strategy
Individual Defense
Team Defense
Offensive Plays

Individual Drills
Team Drills
Fun Basketball Games

Basketball Glossary

Michael Jordan
Kobe Bryant
LeBron James
Chris Paul
Kevin Durant

Basketball Leagues
National Basketball Association (NBA)
List of NBA Teams
College Basketball

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