How to Talk Like a Baller

Brush up on your basketball slang to sound like a pro on and off the court.

With the Nike Basketball 3ON3 Tournament presented by 24 Hour Fitness quickly approaching, we wanted to make sure that you’re well versed in your basketball slang. We don’t want your conversations with other ballers to “flop,” so read up and show everyone how hard you ball on the court and in the stands.

Here are ten phrases you should know.

Alley Oop

A player throws the ball to a teammate who is standing near the basket. The player by the basket jumps, catches the ball midair and immediately scores the basket. (Usually alley oops are dunks.)
Use: “You can always count on J.R. Smith to pass the ball to LeBron for the alley oop.”


Getting a rebound or rebounding.
Use: “She is always ready to get boards.”


Any player who can jump high.
Use: “Did you see the height on that dunk? He’s got bounce!”


Either the rim of the basket or a shot made.
Use: “He was scoring buckets all day!”


A commonly used phrase in basketball, also used in other sports. To be a clutch player means playing great when it matters the most, and being able to make the big shots and plays, usually resulting in a win.
Use: “Their offense came in clutch in the second half, helping them win the game.”


A dribbling move that is performed by an offensive player when he or she moves the ball from one side of the body to the other with a single dribble. It is a fake out on the offensive player’s part.
Use: “That crossover can break ankles!”

Field Goal

A field goal in basketball is worth two points and is a shot made from inside the three point line. A field goal can be a jump shot, layup or dunk.
Use: “DeAndre Jordan still has the best field goal percentage in the league.”


An intentional fall by a player in order for the officials to call a personal foul on the opponent when there is little to no physical contact by an opposing player.
Use: “That flop was so dramatic. No one even touched him.”

Making Him Dance

If you crossover an opponent and he ends up spinning around, you’ve made him dance.
Use: “He made him dance with that play!”

Post Up

A player who positions himself near the basket for a pass with his back to the basket and a defender behind him.
Use: “He used his size to post up near the rim.”

This post is brought to you by L.A. LIVE. Nike Basketball 3ON3 Tournament presented by 24 Hour Fitness takes place at L.A. LIVE August 4-6, 2017. Don’t miss your opportunity to play in the largest three-on-three tournament in Los Angeles! For more information, or to register visit Use promo code 24HOUR at registration to save $24.

Photo credit: Courtesy of L.A. LIVE