English-Sportsese Dictionary

I’ve often heard casual sports fans say that they can’t stand the announcing. Well, there’s a reason for that. Announcers actually don’t speak English. They speak Sports-ese. Luckily, I have found a copy of the English-Sportsese Rosetta Stone and, for my senior Punch Bowl thesis, managed to decode it.  Here is a translation of selected words from the language Sportsese:




an asshole

Example: Announcer One: Kobe Bryant just drove down the court, elbowing opponents, and punching Tim Duncan’s infant child in the face.

Announcer Two: Well, he’s a competitor.

great kid

[greyt kid]


an athlete who spoke to an announcer amiably and without confrontation for several minutes

Synonyms: Intelligent, articulate, just wow!

Example: I had a chance to meet *enter name of athlete in rookie season* before the game, and he’s just a great kid – I mean intelligent, articulate. Just wow!


team player

[təf kid]


an athlete who ignores crucial medical advice, pertinent to his future

Synonyms: tough kid

Example: Not only does number 10 have a torn lcl in his right knee, he actually just got into a severe car accident before the game. And he was stabbed. The doctors said, “You need to go to the hospital. There’s a knife in your back, and not a single bone in your body that’s not broken.” But he said, “You know what? I’m a team player.” Such a great kid – intelligent, articulate just wow!


pure shoot·er

[pyoor shoo-ter]


white basketball player

Synonyms: great fundamentals

Example: Look at J.J. Reddick dribble to the hole, and lay the ball in. What an excellent pure shooter!




double murderer

Example: What a hit that emotional fella from Baltimore just laid during the Super Bowl and, uh oh, he’s emerging from the pile. There’s blood on him. A knife. Two men dead. No witnesses, resume play.


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