24 Idioms for Basketball + Quiz


Basketball is a game loved by millions around the world. It’s not just about the players, the teams, or the scores; it’s also about the unique language that surrounds the sport.

These idioms, or expressions with meanings not necessarily corresponding to the actual words, are a fun way to describe various aspects of the game.

idioms for basketball

What is an idiom for basketball?

An idiom is a phrase or expression that has a figurative meaning different from the literal meaning of its individual words.

In the world of basketball, idioms are often used to vividly describe actions, strategies, or situations on the court.


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1 / 20

What is a simile?

2 / 20

Identify the simile in the following sentence: “She swims like a fish.”

3 / 20

What is a metaphor?

4 / 20

Which of the following is a metaphor?

5 / 20

What is an idiom?

6 / 20

What does the idiom “break the ice” mean?

7 / 20

What is an adjective?

8 / 20

Choose the adjective in the following sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

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What is an abbreviation?

10 / 20

What does the abbreviation “e.g.” stand for?

11 / 20

What is a verb?

12 / 20

Identify the verb in the following sentence: “The cat sleeps on the sofa.”

13 / 20

“Out of the frying pan into the fire” is an example of:

14 / 20

Which of the following is an adjective?

15 / 20

The abbreviation “NASA” stands for:

16 / 20

Choose the metaphor in the following sentence: “Time is a thief.”

17 / 20

What does the idiom “hit the books” mean?

18 / 20

Which of the following sentences contains a simile?

19 / 20

“LOL” is an abbreviation for:

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Identify the verb in this sentence: “They whispered secrets into the night.”

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Let’s dive into some basketball idioms and decode their meanings.

IdiomMeaningSentence
Shoot HoopsTo play basketballAfter school, I like to shoot hoops with my friends.
Slam DunkTo make a forceful, high-scoring shotMichael Jordan was known for his incredible slam dunks.
On the Fast BreakSwiftly moving the ball down the courtThe Lakers are deadly on the fast break.
Full-Court PressAggressive defense all over the courtThe coach called for a full-court press to apply pressure.
In the PaintThe area near the basket, often crowdedLeBron James dominates in the paint.
Buzzer BeaterA shot made just before the buzzer soundsSarah made a buzzer beater to win the championship.
Call a TimeoutTo request a break in the game for strategy or restThe coach decided to call a timeout to plan the final play.
Run the CourtQuickly moving up and down the courtJohn’s ability to run the court makes him invaluable.
Pick and RollA play involving a screen and roll to the basketThe pick and roll creates scoring opportunities.
Fast BreakA swift offensive attack, often from a steal or reboundThe Thunder’s fast break caught the opponent off guard.
Double DribbleTo dribble with both hands, against the rulesThe referee called a double dribble, resulting in a turnover.
Three-PointerA three-point field goal attemptSteph Curry is known for his accuracy with three-pointers.
Behind the Back PassA flashy pass thrown behind the passer’s backMagic Johnson wowed fans with his behind the back passes.
Air BallA shot that misses the basket completelyMike’s last shot was an embarrassing air ball.
Free ThrowAn uncontested shot from the free-throw lineShe sank both free throws to tie the game.
Full-Court ShotA long-distance shot from one end to the otherThe player attempted a full-court shot, but it fell short.
Give and GoA quick pass followed by a cut to the basketThe give and go emphasizes teamwork on the court.
Jump BallThe initial toss-up to start the game or overtimeThe referee called for a jump ball to begin the match.
Man-to-Man DefenseEach player guards a specific opponentThe coach switched to a man-to-man defense strategy.
Alley-OopA pass near the basket for a teammate to score in one motionThe alley-oop dunk excited the crowd.
Three-Second ViolationA rule violation for staying in the key too longThe referee called a three-second violation on the center.
Post UpTo position with back to the basket for scoringTim Duncan excelled at posting up in the paint.
In the BonusOpposing team commits enough fouls for free throwsThe team was in the bonus, putting pressure on free throws.
Fast Break DefenseDefensive strategy to stop the opponent’s fast breakFast break defense prevented easy scores.

Metaphors can describe basketball in various ways, like comparing it to a rhythmic dance on the hardwood court. To explore more metaphors for basketball, you can visit this link: Metaphors for Basketball. Similarly, similes offer comparisons that make basketball more relatable, such as saying it’s as fast-paced as a speeding bullet. Discover additional similes for basketball here: Similes for Basketball.

Idioms for Basketball

1. Shoot Hoops

Meaning: To play basketball.

In a Sentence: After school, I like to shoot hoops with my friends at the local park.

2. Slam Dunk

Meaning: To make a forceful, high-scoring shot by leaping and slamming the ball directly through the hoop.

In a Sentence: Michael Jordan was known for his incredible ability to slam dunk the ball during games.

3. On the Fast Break

Meaning: When a team quickly moves the ball down the court to score before the opposing team can set up their defense.

In a Sentence: The Lakers are deadly on the fast break, capitalizing on their speed and agility.

4. Full-Court Press

Meaning: A defensive strategy where a team aggressively guards the opponent all over the court.

In a Sentence: The coach called for a full-court press to put pressure on the opposing team’s ball handlers.

5. In the Paint

Meaning: The area near the basket, often crowded with players, where a lot of scoring and physical play occurs.

In a Sentence: LeBron James dominates in the paint, using his strength to score close to the basket.

6. Buzzer Beater

Meaning: A shot made just before the game or quarter buzzer sounds, usually under intense time pressure.

In a Sentence: The crowd erupted when Sarah made a buzzer beater to win the championship.

7. Call a Timeout

Meaning: To request a break in the game for the team to regroup, strategize, or rest.

In a Sentence: With only seconds left on the clock, the coach decided to call a timeout and draw up a final play.

8. Run the Court

Meaning: When a player swiftly moves up and down the court, often contributing both offensively and defensively.

In a Sentence: John’s ability to run the court makes him an invaluable asset to the team.

9. Pick and Roll

Meaning: An offensive play where one player sets a screen (pick) for a teammate handling the ball and then rolls toward the basket.

In a Sentence: The pick and roll is a fundamental play that creates scoring opportunities.

10. Fast Break

Meaning: A quick offensive attack, often initiated by a steal or a defensive rebound.

In a Sentence: The Thunder’s fast break offense caught the opposing team off guard.

11. Double Dribble

Meaning: To dribble the ball with both hands simultaneously, which is against the rules.

In a Sentence: The referee called a double dribble, resulting in a turnover for the team.

12. Three-Pointer

Meaning: A field goal worth three points, typically taken from beyond the three-point line.

In a Sentence: Steph Curry is known for his incredible accuracy when shooting three-pointers.

13. Behind the Back Pass

Meaning: A flashy pass where the ball is thrown behind the passer’s back to a teammate.

In a Sentence: Magic Johnson was famous for his behind the back passes, which wowed fans.

14. Air Ball

Meaning: A shot that completely misses the basket and doesn’t touch the rim or backboard.

In a Sentence: Unfortunately, Mike’s last shot was an embarrassing air ball.

15. Free Throw

Meaning: An uncontested shot from the free-throw line, awarded after certain fouls.

In a Sentence: She sank both free throws to tie the game in the final seconds.

16. Full-Court Shot

Meaning: A long-distance shot attempted from one end of the court to the other.

In a Sentence: The player attempted a full-court shot at the end of the half, but it fell short.

17. Give and Go

Meaning: A quick pass to a teammate followed by a cut to the basket, looking to receive a return pass for an easy score.

In a Sentence: The give and go is a classic play in basketball, emphasizing teamwork.

18. Jump Ball

Meaning: The initial toss-up of the ball at the center circle to start the game or overtime.

In a Sentence: The referee called for a jump ball to begin the championship match.

19. Man-to-Man Defense

Meaning: A defensive strategy where each player guards a specific opponent.

In a Sentence: The coach switched to a man-to-man defense to disrupt the opponent’s offense.

20. Alley-Oop

Meaning: A play where a player throws the ball near the basket for a teammate to jump, catch, and score in one motion.

In a Sentence: The alley-oop dunk brought the crowd to its feet with excitement.

21. Three-Second Violation

Meaning: A rule violation where an offensive player stays in the key (paint) area for more than three seconds.

In a Sentence: The referee called a three-second violation on the center for camping out in the paint.

22. Post Up

Meaning: When a player positions themselves with their back to the basket, often near the low post, to score or pass.

In a Sentence: Tim Duncan had an incredible ability to post up and score in the paint.

23. In the Bonus

Meaning: A situation where the opposing team has committed a certain number of fouls, resulting in free throws for the offended team on each subsequent foul.

In a Sentence: With the opposing team in the bonus, the pressure was on to make free throws.

24. Fast Break Defense

Meaning: The defensive strategy employed to stop or slow down the opposing team’s fast break.

In a Sentence: The team’s fast break defense was crucial in preventing easy scores.

10 Quizzes About The Idiom in The Article

  1. What does the idiom “Slam Dunk” mean in basketball?
    a) A high-scoring shot made with force
    b) A quick pass to a teammate
    c) A type of defensive strategy
  2. When is a “Buzzer Beater” typically made in a basketball game?
    a) At the start of a quarter
    b) Just before the game or quarter buzzer sounds
    c) After a timeout is called
  3. What is the primary purpose of a “Full-Court Press” in basketball?
    a) To slow down the game
    b) To apply aggressive defensive pressure all over the court
    c) To execute a fast break offense
  4. If a player commits a “Double Dribble” in a game, what is the result?
    a) A turnover, possession goes to the other team
    b) The player gets a free throw
    c) The team is awarded a bonus point
  5. Which part of the basketball court is known as “In the Paint”?
    a) The three-point line
    b) The area near the basket
    c) The half-court line
  6. What is a “Jump Ball” in basketball?
    a) A type of shot attempt
    b) The initial toss-up to start the game or overtime
    c) A pass to a teammate
  7. Which idiom describes a player swiftly moving up and down the court, contributing both offensively and defensively?
    a) Run the Court
    b) Give and Go
    c) Post Up
  8. What happens when a player successfully executes a “Pick and Roll” play?
    a) They make a three-pointer
    b) They score with a slam dunk
    c) They set a screen and roll toward the basket
  9. What does the term “Fast Break” refer to in basketball?
    a) A quick offensive attack
    b) A type of defensive formation
    c) A free throw attempt
  10. In basketball, when is a team said to be “In the Bonus”?
    a) When they have scored ten points
    b) When the opposing team has committed a certain number of fouls
    c) When they have a player with a high scoring average

Answers:

  1. a) A high-scoring shot made with force
  2. b) Just before the game or quarter buzzer sounds
  3. b) To apply aggressive defensive pressure all over the court
  4. a) A turnover, possession goes to the other team
  5. b) The area near the basket
  6. b) The initial toss-up to start the game or overtime
  7. a) Run the Court
  8. c) They set a screen and roll toward the basket
  9. a) A quick offensive attack
  10. b) When the opposing team has committed a certain number of fouls

Conclusion

Basketball is not just a game of skill and athleticism; it’s also a game of language. These idioms for basketball are like a secret code that fans and players use to describe the excitement, strategy, and moments that make the sport so captivating.

Cite this entry:

Phrasesdirectory.com. “,” Retrieved from Phrases Directory – Accessed

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