10 Basketball Terms You Must Know

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world, with millions of people playing it every day. Even if you don’t know how to play, you need to know some basketball terms.

As a basketball fan, you’re undoubtedly familiar with terms like “rolling shots” and “iso-dunks.” But do you know the lingo behind other plays? In this article, we’ll introduce you to 10 basketball terms you need to know in order to follow the game intelligently. From screen-setting to rebounding, read on to learn all about them!

10 Important Basketball Terms

To play basketball, you will need to know a few terms. These 10 terms will help you understand the game and how to play it.

  1. Slam Dunk
  2. Swish
  3. Three-point Line
  4. Jump Bell
  5. Box Out
  6. Triple-Double
  7. Brick
  8. Alley-oop
  9. Foul
  10. Hook Shot

Slam Dunk

When a player jumps up and throws the ball straight down into the hoop, they have “slammed” the ball. To “slam” the ball means to cause it to hit the backboard and go through the hoop. This is one of the most common shots in basketball, and it’s called a “slam dunk” because it looks like the player just dunked the ball.

To throw a slam dunk, you need to be quick and strong. You need to jump high and throw your body weight into the ball. If you can do all of these things at once, you’ve slam dunked!


One of the most common terms used in basketball is “swish.” This is just a fancy way of saying that the player made a shot from close range. Oftentimes, when someone makes a swish, the crowd will go wild and give the player a standing ovation.

Three-point Line

In basketball, the three-point line is a line drawn on the court at the midpoint between the top of the backboard and the front edge of the goal. This line is used to determine when a player can shoot a three-point shot.

A player can score a three-point shot by shooting the ball from behind the three-point line, or by passing the ball through the basket while touching it before it goes beyond the three-point line.

Jump Bell

A jump bell is a type of bell that is used in basketball to signal the start of a new period or half-time. It is often played by striking it with a mallet.

Box Out

Another most important basketball term you must know is “box out.” This term refers to the action of a player defending against an opponent by shielding them from the ball. To box out, you must use your body to block the opponent’s shot. You can box out with your hands, arms, or even your head.


The most impressive feat in basketball is a player scoring 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in a game. This is known as a triple-double.

Triple-doubles are not easy to achieve, and there are a few key terms you need to know to try and achieve one. The first term is double-double. To score a double-double, a player must score 10 points and grab 10 rebounds in the same game.

The second term is triple-double. To score a triple-double, a player must score 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in the same game. Only five players in NBA history have ever achieved this feat (Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James).


A “brick” is simply a shot that goes out of bounds. It’s a fairly easy shot to make and can be a very effective way to score.


When a player jumps high into the air and grabs the ball from another player on the ground it is called Alley-oop. This can be a very dangerous move, so it’s important to know some basketball terms that are related to it.

The term “alley-oop” is usually used when referring to a jump shot. The player who is jumping high into the air usually does this to catch the ball thrown by another player. This move is very often used in basketball games, and it’s one of the most popular plays in the game.


A “foul” is when a player commits an illegal act that reduces the opponent’s chances of scoring. There are four types of fouls: personal, technical, contact, and flagrant.

  1. Personal fouls are the most common type. They occur when a player commits any type of personal assault on an opponent, such as slapping or hitting him in the face.
  2. Technical fouls are less serious and are caused by simple mistakes, such as not dribbling the ball out of bounds.
  3. Contact fouls occur when two players collide with each other violently.
  4. Flagrant fouls are the most serious type and involve extreme violence. They are typically committed when a player grabs an opponent by the hair or slams him to the ground.

If a player commits a foul, his team will usually be given a penalty. The most common penalties are free throws (made from the free throw line) and shooting scores (made from the spot where the shot was taken).

Hook Shot

The “hook shot” is a common basketball move that can be done while standing sideways. The player farthest from the net tosses the ball up and over their head, shooting for the net.


If you’re a fan of basketball, then it’s important to be up-to-date on the terminology used in the sport. In this article, we have discussed 10 essential basketball terms you need to know. From defensive schemes to offensive plays, these terms will help you follow the game more closely and understand why certain things happen.

If you’re new to basketball, or just want to brush up on your terms, you need to check out AmazingTalker. They have fantastic English tutors and Spanish tutors who can teach you everything you need to know about the sport.