The ABCs of Basketball

Basketball is one of the most-watched sports globally, with almost 7.5 million viewers watching the latest NBA finals. The game is simple enough for anyone to enjoy, but it is a sport with a lot of jargon, hence this ABC guide to basketball.

Alley Oop – An alley oop is one of the most exciting offensive players in basketball, one where a player throws the ball up in the air near the basket and another jumps, catches the ball mid-air, and immediately scores a basket. This is often with a slam dunk, which is a spectacular play.

Betting – Basketball is a great sport to bet on, thanks to a wealth of options for punters. The money line, the spread, prop bets, and over/under are just four ways how to bet on basketball.

Centre – The center is one of the five total positions in a basketball team. Centers tend to be the tallest players on the court, with some standing seven-feet tall. Centers are primarily responsible for scoring, defending near the basket, and rebounding.

Double-double – A double-double is when an individual player gets into double digits in two statistical categories, such as 20 points and 10 assists.

Euro Step – A Euro Step is a move where an offensive player takes a step in one direction but then quickly takes a second step in another direction.

Field Goal – Making a shot or attempting a shot from anywhere on the court, but not including free throws, is called a field goal, which is a little strange because you tend to use the term in football.

Guard – Guards come in two guises: points guard and shooting guard. Point guards are great dribblers and have superb passing skills. Shooting guards, as the name implies, are the best shooters on the team.

Halftime – Halftime is when the players get a much-needed break in the action. Often, cheerleaders and other fun and games involving the crowd occur at the end of the first half of play.

Intentional Foul – An intentional foul is a deliberate foul on an opposing player. These stop the clock and give you possession of the ball after the free-throw attempts. It is a common strategy towards the end of the game.

Jordan – Jordan, as in Michael Jordan, is considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time. The shooting guard broke all kinds of records, spawned his own line of sneakers, and now owns the Charlotte Hornets NBA team.

Kobe Bryant – Kobe Bryant is widely regarded as being one of the best players of all time, one who was a 15-time member of the All-NBA Team. Bryant retired in the 2015-16 season and sadly died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.

LeBron James – LeBron James is another NBA superstar, currently plying his trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. James recently became the first NBA player to accumulate $1 billion in earnings as an active player.

Milwaukee Bucks – Milwaukee Bucks won their first NBA finals in 50 years when they defeated the Phoenix Suns.

NBA – NBA is an acronym for the National Basketball Association, the highest level of professional basketball.

Overtime – Overtime is played when a game ends in a tie; teams play a five-minute overtime period to determine the winner.

Pump fake – A player who shapes to make a field goal attempt but does not release the ball has made a pump fake.

Quadruple-double – If a player gets into double digits in four statistical categories, such as 10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 steals, and 10 assists, they have achieved a quadruple-double, which is incredibly rare.

Rebound – A rebound is when a player obtains the ball after a failed field goal attempt.

Shot Clock – Basketball uses a 24-second shot clock that times down from the moment the offense receives the ball to them making a field goal attempt.

Three-Pointer – Scoring a field goal from behind the three-point line awards three points instead of two, hence the name three-pointer

UCLA – The UCLA is a college basketball team that dominated the NCAA Tournament of Champions from 1964 through to 1975. Coach John Wooden won 10 titles in 12 seasons.

Violation – A violation is any infraction of the rules, except a foul.

WNBA – The WNBA is the Women’s National Basketball Association, the highest level female basketball league.

X-rays – Injuries are common in top-flight basketball, especially to ankles and knees, resulting in players needing many X-rays during their careers.

Young Talent – The NBA brings in fresh young talent from college basketball each year during the Draft. The teams that struggled during the previous season get the first pick of the new young talent.

Zone Defense – Zone defense is when each player is responsible for defending a specific area, or zone, of the court. This differs from man-to-man, where each player is assigned an opponent.

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