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What ‘Downtown’ means during NBA games and why commentators use it


You might hear NBA commentators sometimes say a player has taken a shot from ‘downtown’ at the net, but what does this actually mean, what is meant by the term in basketball?

Some basketball shots are more easily identifiable than others.

The slam dunk, three-pointer or free throw are the most common in games with teams racking up over 100 points on a good day and less on a bad one.

Sometimes however, a player will take a shot and the commentator will say something like: “Steph Curry from downtown for the Warriors…”

What is meant from ‘downtown in the NBA and why do basketball commentators use the phrase?

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

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What downtown means in the NBA?

An NBA court is 94 feet long by 50 feet wide, giving a playing area of about 4,500 square feet.

The court is equally divided with the three-pointer line extending out about halfway to the mid-court centre line.

Most shots at the hoop in the NBA are from the within the three-point line, but occasionally someone will attempt to score from within the opposition’s half but outside the line.

This area between the three-point line and mid-court is known as downtown in the NBA and is why basketball commentators use it.

It is essentially a fancy name for a rather long shot at the hoop.

How many points is it worth?

Although an NBA player scoring from ‘Downtown’ is further than a normal three-pointer, it does not count for anymore points.

A successful shot from ‘Downtown’ in the NBA is worth three points to the team’s tally.

Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images

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