In honor of the first of May and the beginning of outdoor basketball season, here are the top 10 phrases you'll hear on a playground hoop court:
“Cash money” – Describing a great shooter. Usually said while his shot is still in the air.
“He got hops” – A leaper. Best not to shoot within five or six feet of him.
“Game” – Brazenly said by the shooter while his would-be game-winning shot is in the air. If the shot misses, he temporarily loses his playground cred.
“Get on him” – Advice to guard someone’s outside shot. Typically heard from a teammate, but also used as trash talk when an opponent says it to someone on the other team. As in, our guy will light you up if you don’t get your butt over there.
“You got nothing” – More trash talk from the guy defending you.
“Next” – Signals to the players on the court that you have the next game against the winning team. (By the way, it’s not “I got next” or “Got next.” It’s just “Next.”)
“Wanna run?” – When the guy with “next” asks others on the sidelines if they want to play with him.
“Ball” – What you say when someone fouls you. In other words, it’s our ball because you fouled me. In terms of your personal safety, it’s not good to call a lot of fouls.
“Offense calls” – The team with the ball calls all fouls. You can rupture a guy's spleen and, unless he calls it, it’s not a foul.
“Ball don’t lie” – Karma on the court. After the opponent makes a bad call, such as a foul that you didn’t commit, the hoop gods cause the other team to make a turnover. Getting even, one would say.
Enjoy your spring and summer on the courts.