Can You Slam Dunk? Learn These Basketball Terms in English!

If you love a fast-paced game with a lot of offense and displays of incredible athletic abilities, you’re probably a fan of basketball. In Denver, the professional NBA team to root for is the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets play at the Pepsi Center and are represented by domestic and international players from France, Italy and Russia.

Basketball is dominated by stars such as Lebron James and Kobe Bryant, but the Nuggets have some stars of their own that provide plenty of entertainment in Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried.

The NBA season starts in the fall and ends in the early summer with as many as five games in a week, so there are many opportunities to see a game. Because there are a lot of games, it can be hard to keep up with for those that are not familiar with the game and its lingo. Here is a list of terms that are useful when watching a game or talking about the games that were on that week:

Technical foul – an infraction by a player or coach that is unsportsmanlike and usually does not involve any physical contact.

Travel – an infraction by a player when they take more than two steps without dribbling (bouncing) the ball. This word is also commonly used to describe the process of arriving at a destination when going on a trip.

Double-double – when an individual player accumulates a double digit number total in two of the following statistics: points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots.

Slam dunk – a shot where the player jumps up and forcefully throws the basketball down through the basket.

Alley-oop – an offensive play in which one player throws the ball at or near the basket to a teammate who jumps in the air and scores, usually with a slam dunk.

NBA fans love seeing alley-oops and slam dunks from their favorite players and will frequently be talking about the impressive statistics or the rare “triple-double” or even “quadruple-double” (can you guess what those mean?). Use these words to help build a context and join in the conversation!