Word of the Day: Earthball


Earthball (urth’-bahl) noun. An awkward, graceless jump shot that defies standard ball rotation by spinning sideways, much like the planet Earth. This shooting method was more than likely devised by Joakim Noah. As inventions go, the Earthball ranks right up there with dog sweaters, pay toilets and the electric fork.

Usage example: Earthballs are ugly and potentially dangerous to the backboard, opposing players and even small children. But hey, any shot that goes in is a good shot, right?

Word history: The term was (as far as I can tell) coined by Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald in an article titled Noah’s ‘Earthball’ part of game plan … very small part. Said McGraw: “Joakim Noah did something in Saturday’s victory over New Orleans that he hadn’t even attempted in weeks — knock down an outside jumper. His 16-footer struck nothing but net late in the first quarter of the Bulls’ blowout win. ‘I know that’s not really my role to shoot jump shots,’ Noah said following Monday’s practice at the Berto Center. ‘But if they’re giving me an opening like that, coach tells me to keep the defense honest. I’m happy it went in.’ Noah launched his unorthodox ‘Earthball’ jumpers (the ball spins sideways, like a planet) on occasion as a rookie, but they have been a rare sight this season. Coach Vinny Del Negro consented that he made room for such a play in the game plan.

“‘He owes me money,’ Del Negro joked. ‘He works hard, so I’m going to throw him an opportunity, and it worked. When a guy works as hard as Joakim does, I’m going to give him a jump shot here and there. If it goes in we’re all going to smile, and if it doesn’t you guys are all going to say, ‘Why would the coach allow him to take that jump shot?’ It went in the other night and it went in today in practice, but I don’t want him to get carried away with that too much.'”

Uh, Vinny, can you give Tyrus Thomas that same piece of advice, please?

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4 Responses to Word of the Day: Earthball

  1. davidpaulroosa@yahoo.com'
    AK Dave March 17, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    I think he shoots “earthballs” on free throw attempts as well. So what is a shot with no axial rotation (a la Shaq)? A “moonball”?

  2. davidpaulroosa@yahoo.com'
    AK Dave March 17, 2009 at 7:20 pm #

    Oh, and btw- nice Superman 1 pic there 😀

  3. rw187@yahoo.com'
    Randy Brown March 18, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    This made me think of Kenny Smith’s jumpshot. I was always amazed that he was a good shooter


  1. Different story, same ending: Knicks 88, Bulls 81 » By The Horns - December 23, 2009

    […] enough. The Bulls actually pulled to within a point (80-79) on (gulp) one of Noah’s deadly Earthballs with 1:40 left, but that was as close as they could cut it. On New York’s next possession, […]

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