What does downtown mean in basketball?

Beyond the 3-point line

In basketball, "downtown" is the area behind the 3-point line, far away from the hoop. Everyone from NBA announcers to players in a pick-up game use the term when a player attempts a three-point shot.

Origin of downtown

There are various claims about where downtown comes from in basketball. The two most prominent ones are that Boston Celtics announcer Johnny Most used it in the 1960s and Brent Musburger popularized it. Another claim is that Seattle Sonics announcer Bob Blackburn popularized it in the early-1970s.

When do people use downtown?

You will hear downtown in just about any televised basketball game, whether it be live from an announcer or someone doing highlights. You might also see it used online and in texts or hear it while taking a long-range shot, whether a basketball into a hoop or garbage into a waste basket.


Curry drains the three from downtown!
Wowzers! I can't believe he's hit 7 in a row

Shot from downtown

Related Slang


Updated October 18, 2022

Downtown definition by

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