What Does “Dropping a Dime” Mean in Basketball?

"Dropping a dime" in basketball is slang for making a remarkable pass that leads to a score, coined from the exceptional playmaking abilities of legendary point guards like John Stockton, Steve Nash, and Chris Paul. This term highlights the significance of assists and skillful passing in the game, particularly associated with point guards who excel at creating scoring opportunities for their teammates.

Slang in sports is probably one of the more exciting things to learn about, especially as you get more and more into the game. Basketball is no different when it comes to the slang in their sport.

Some slang words or terms in basketball are like “downtown”, “putting on a clinic”, “the sixth man”. In this piece we, are going to be focusing on a pretty popular term, “dropping a dime”.

Where did the saying come from?

There are a multitude of theories that have given credit to the term. No one is quite sure where the term came from, b ut here are a few of the more known theories.

The term “dropping a dime” or “dropping dimes” is credited to come from the play of popular point guard John Stockton. Stockton was known as an absolute pass master. He was able to get the ball to his teammates in all situations.

Stockton was truly a once in a generation playmaker, the likes of which the NBA may not have seen since. The result of Stockton’s ability to dish the ball sparked the announcers to say that he was “dropping dimes” to his teammates on the court.

You can also trace the saying back to when a decent take-out meal was only 10 cents, could you imagine such a world? Way back when the McDonald brothers started McDonalds you could get a burger, fries, and a drink for about 30 cents. So, dropping a dime for someone back then meant you got someone some lunch, which is pretty cool! This also was the cost of using a payphone way back when, if you are old enough to know what those were.

Dime or dimes, is also used to describe someone who is good looking.

What is “dropping a dime”?

From the story, you can infer what dropping a dime means. Dropping a dime is slang for assist in basketball. The phrase is usually passed around when a player makes an insane pass to another that results in a point. This can also be called a dime, such as, that pass was a dime.

An assist in basketball is when you pass the ball to a player, and they score. There are some cases where the pass doesn’t count as an assist, but that is not the point of this article.

Basically, the saying comes from making a pass that was difficult or otherwise not one that would typically be made. It is basically an assist, whether or not it is a two- or three-point assist.

The amount a player passes dimes is sadly not recorded but, we all know the players who pull off such a move.

When you drop dimes in basketball it is known as a term of endearment, you are a play making machine on the court producing highlight reel assists. Just doing the work to give your teammates the ability to put points up on the board. While in basketball it is a compliment, outside of basketball it is not.

Outside of basketball, dropping a dime is a label for someone who is a snitch, that being a person who would nark or sell someone else out for their own benefit. Not something anyone wants to be known as in their personal lives!

Popular Dime Droppers in NBA History

Steve Nash- Point Guard

Steve Nash is the most skilled offensive point guards in NBA history. With such skill and talent, it is insane that he never won a championship. Over his career, he averaged over 8 assists a game for nine seasons.

His career assists per game average was an 8.5. In the playoffs, it was an 8.8. Nash more or less single-handedly made the Phoenix Suns relevant.

Chris Paul- Point Guard

15 years into his NBA career, Chris Paul is one of the greatest players to ever take the court. Over that time, he has been able to solidify himself as one of the true playmakers in the NBA.

Even though he is still playing, right now in his career of over 1155 games, he has averaged 9.5 assists per game and 11.6 in the post season. Forget dropping dimes, he drops the whole roll. Paul has also never won a championship.


In conclusion, complications of dimes on the internet are some of the most satisfying videos you can watch. Dropping a dime in basketball is basically just when you make an absolutely insane or unreal pass that results in the ball in the net.

Positions that typically are known for dropping dimes are point guards, who typically are not known for their scoring abilities. The best way to be able to drop dimes is just constantly practice.

Like most things, practice makes perfect. Some players are just naturally great at dropping a dime.

Complications of dimes on the internet are some of the most satisfying videos you can watch.

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