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What is a Brick in Basketball?

What is a “Brick” in Basketball? Delving Deep into Hoops Slang

Basketball, with its fast-paced nature and global following, has given birth to a unique language. One term that often draws puzzled looks from those unfamiliar with the game is “brick.” Let’s dive into the essence of this term, its origins, and its implications in a basketball context.

Summary of “Brick” in Basketball

  • Definition: Grasping the core essence of the term “brick.”
  • Historical Roots: How did “brick” come into basketball lingo?
  • Implications on the Court: The significance of shooting a “brick.”
  • Avoiding the Brick: Tips and techniques for improved shooting.
  • Famous Remarks: What legends of the game have said about “bricks.”

1. Definition

A “brick” in basketball slang refers to a shot that is not only missed but is so badly off-target that it hits the backboard or rim with a pronounced, often echoing, thud. The shot, due to its hard miss, metaphorically resembles the weight and solidity of an actual brick.

2. Historical Roots

Table 1: Evolution of the Term “Brick”

1960s-70sThe term likely originated in street basketball games, depicting harsh missed shots.
1980sGained popularity in college basketball circles and started seeping into commentaries.
1990s-PresentBecame a common term in NBA broadcasts and everyday basketball conversations.

3. Implications on the Court

Throwing a “brick,” especially at crucial game moments, can be detrimental. Not only does it result in missed scoring opportunities, but it can also demoralize the player and the team, shifting the momentum in favor of the opposition.

4. Avoiding the Brick

Table 2: Tips to Improve Shot Accuracy

Proper FormEnsuring the shooting arm is in a straight line towards the basket.
Focused Follow-ThroughThe fingers should point to the basket, with the wrist relaxed.
Consistent PracticeLike any skill, the more you practice shooting, the better you become.
Mental ComposureStaying calm and composed, especially under pressure, enhances shot accuracy.

5. Famous Remarks

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, but make sure the ones you do aren’t bricks.”

  • Michael Jordan

Although Michael Jordan, one of basketball’s greatest legends, emphasized the importance of taking shots, he also subtly highlighted the significance of practice and precision in avoiding “bricks.”

FAQs about “Bricks” in Basketball

Why is it called a “brick”?

The term “brick” likens the weight and impact of an actual brick to a basketball shot that hits the backboard or rim with a forceful thud. The metaphor encapsulates how off-target and heavy such shots feel.

Does a “brick” only refer to shots hitting the backboard?

No, a “brick” can refer to any shot that is egregiously off-target, whether it slams against the backboard, bounces off the rim forcefully, or even if it airballs in certain contexts where the expectation was to make the shot.

How can players reduce their chances of “bricking” a shot?

Diligent practice, maintaining proper shooting form, ensuring a relaxed and focused follow-through, and staying mentally composed can greatly reduce the chances of “bricking” a shot.

Are professional players immune to “bricking”?

No player, no matter how skilled, is immune to occasionally “bricking” a shot. Even basketball legends have had moments where their shots were off. What differentiates the greats is their ability to recover, maintain confidence, and continue shooting.

Is the term “brick” used in any other sports?

While the term “brick” is predominantly a basketball slang, other sports might have their unique terms to define actions or situations that didn’t go as planned. However, the specific connotation of a “brick” as a missed shot is unique to basketball.


In the world of basketball, understanding the nuances, terms, and slang can enrich the experience of watching or playing the game. A “brick” is more than just a missed shot; it represents the challenges players face, the need for continuous improvement, and the highs and lows of the sport. While no player aims to shoot a “brick,” it’s an inevitable part of the game. What truly matters is the resilience to bounce back, learn from the miss, and strive for that perfect swish the next time around.



-By Scott Jones