Basketball Terms – Lingo – Jargon

Can you imagine what it’d be like to listen to an NBA broadcast on tv or the radio and hear all the terms, lingo and jargon? Hearing Blazers great Bill Schonely say “Lickity brindle up the middle” or the guy who loves to say “kiss” when a player banks one off the glass or better yet, the broadcaster who says “ONIONS!” when a player steps up and hits a high pressure shot. To you and I, this may all be second nature. To an NBA newbie, it may as well be a different language.

This article will define all of the terminology and acronyms that you will hear from around the National Basketball Association. Got a question? Feel free to drop us a line at We’re always happy to help!

And 1: Player makes a basket and gets fouled in the process and
goes to the line for one free throw.
Blow-by: As it sounds, it’s when a player “blows by” a defender. This usually happens by a streaking cutter on the baseline, going to the hoop.
Boards: Rebounds.
Bomber: Long range shooter
Brick: Badly missed shot
Clank: Missed shot
Coast to Coast: When a player grabs a rebound and dribbles all the way down to the other end of the court and scores.
Diaper Dandy: Young player (Dick Vitale coined this term)Double
A player dribbles, stops and then dribbles again.
Dime: Assist
Dish: Assist
DNP-CD: Did not play, Coach’s decision.
From the Parking Lot: A DEEP shot way past the 3-point line
Glass: Backboard
Hacked: Fouled.
His Airness: Michael Jordan
Home Cookin’: Referees giving hometown players more calls; the benefit of the doubt on fouls.
Kiss: A shot off the glass.
Lane: The area stretching from the free throw line to the basket. Rectangular in shape.
Onions: Big balls! Usually said by an announcer after a player takes
and sinks a huge shot.
Phi Slama Jama: A nickname given to Houston Cougars basketball players
from 1982-1984 which included power dunkers Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon.
The nickname was given by Houston Post writer Thomas Bonk. The name caught
on and became very popular, which led to popular nicknames (given by then
public address announcer Jim Nantz) such as Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon,
Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, Greg “Cadillac” Anderson, Benny “Bomber from
Bernice” Anders, Sean “Stretch” MacRitchie, Michael “Silent Assassin” Young
and Larry “Mr Mean” Micheux. Other Phi Slama Jama teammates included: Alvin
Franklin, Rob Williams, Reid Gettys, Rickie Winslow and Dave Rose.
RA: “Restricted Area”.
Reload: A team running a play or taking a shot after getting an offensive rebound from a missed shot.
Runout: When a defensive player runs out from the lane towards the 3-point line in an effort to distract a wide open shot.
Stop and Pop: A jumper off a fast break.
Triple: 3-point basket
Wilt the Stilt: Wilt Chamberlain.
Zebra: Referee.