The A–Z of Basketball

Basketball is teeming with weird wording and technical terminology. Here’s our A–Z of the best of them, illustrated by Alex Tait, to keep us on the same page.

A is for ‘And-one’

Picture this: You go in for a shot over a defender and a clumsy hand reaches out and strikes your wrist as you’re releasing the ball. The whistle blows, you both watch the arc of the ball as it descends, bounces on the rim once, twice, and drops in. You step up to the free throw line for the foul shot… And make it. That’s an ‘And One’.

B is for ‘Bird vs. Magic’

The historic rivalry between Larry Bird and ‘Magic’ Johnson became the signature conflict of the Lakers vs. Celtics during the 1980s.

C is for ‘College’

US College-level basketball has grown to be a massive, all-encompassing phenomenon, to the extent that Syracuse University stadium ‘The Carrier Dome’ can hold 50,000 people.

D is for ‘Draft’

Every year, the top college, high school, and European prospects are selected by NBA teams in reverse order of their standings. The first pick is very coveted.

E is for ‘Europe’

The leagues in Europe are now beginning to compete against the NBA for talent, with the Europe-wide Euroleague the continent’s biggest competition.

F is for ‘Flu game’

It’s the night before game five of the 1997 NBA finals against the Utah Jazz, and Michael Jordan wakes up at 2am convulsing and sweating profoundly. His personal trainer diagnoses him with severe food poisoning and tells him he’s in no fit state to play today. He defies his trainer and play anyway, scoring 38 points, including a crucial three-pointer in the last 25 seconds.

Illustrations: Alex Tait
Words: Court Basketball