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Boards - Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks
Boards - Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks English, baby! Video Lesson

Basketball Slang

Date: Apr 08 2011

Themes: Sports

Grammar: Be Able To


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Other than scoring points, the most important thing for a basketball player to do on the court is rebound. When another player misses a shot and you get the ball, that’s called a rebound.

Al Horford, who plays center and forward for the Atlanta Hawks, certainly scores plenty of points. But the two-time NBA All-Star and two-time college basketball champion is also great at getting rebounds. At a recent practice, we talked with this Dominican star about rebounding slang and learning English.

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Jason:  Welcome to English, baby! I am Jason, here with Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks. How are you doing today?

Horford:  Good.

Jason:  Good. You’re a big rebound guy, and I was wondering if you could teach us some rebounding slang for people who are learning about basketball English.

Horford:  Yeah, I mean, we say boards. “Boards” is probably the more typical one. Grabbing all the boards. That’s really the main one that we use.

Jason:  So to get a board just means a rebound, right?

Horford:  Rebound, yes.

Jason:  Where does that come from, the word “board”?

Horford:  I don’t know. I think it’s almost…You know when you think about it, you think about somebody…We like to use the term eating glass, which means getting mad rebounds, getting a lot of rebounds, so, I think all those terms derive from rebound.

Jason:  Does it have to do with the backboard, getting boards?

Horford:  Yeah, I think it has something to do with that. You know, and “eating glass,” the same thing the glass backboard. Just getting a lot of rebounds.

Jason:  You’re Dominican. You must have had a pretty bilingual environment as a kid, is that right?

Horford:  Yeah, I was. You know, my first part of my childhood was all Spanish and once I moved to the United States, that’s when I learned my English.

Jason:  Was it pretty easy to learn when you were a kid? Do you remember having any struggles with it?

Horford:  I mean, you know, it’s a different language. It’s a new language. I think the biggest thing is just, you know, I did a lot of listening, and then eventually I was able to really start speaking it and that was kind of that. But I think if you’re trying to learn a new language, it’s all about repetition and really listening to people and trying to catch everything.

Jason:  Gotcha. Gotcha. Thanks so much, man. Can I get you to give me a high-five and say, “English, baby!” in the air?

Horford:  Alright. English, baby!


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Al Horford says that the main slang term for rebounds is boards. Instead of saying that they are “getting rebounds,” players can say they’re “grabbing boards.”

The term “boards” probably comes from the fact that the ball often bounces off the backboard when someone misses a shot. Many backboards are now made of glass, so Horford says that another way to say “getting rebounds” is “eating glass.”

Horford says that he grew up speaking Spanish in the Dominican Republic, but also learned English when he came to the US as a child. He thinks the best way to learn a new language is through repetition and listening. In your opinion, what is the best way to learn a new language?

Learn more English from Al Horford’s teammate, Zaza Pachulia!



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I think Horford is quite right. The fundamental approach to learn a new language trough listening. It resemblance the way a child uses to learn language. By listening, concentrating and then repeating you simulate a constructive method to speed up your capacity to learn more and more. Having said this, I do not want to undermine the importance of other techniques like reading, writing or speaking with native speakers.In order to practice any of these methods you also can use new-emerged technologies like internet; English Baby! could be one of them.

11:01 AM Apr 10 2011 |

Ali Imran

Ali Imran


It didn't got the clue what this was all about.

01:24 PM Apr 09 2011 |




i think the rebound is important one thing to be competite,no rebound no attack,that was that.

02:47 AM Apr 09 2011 |




It's not really interesting for me to use all of these slangs….I think it's more appropriate to describe things and actions with 'full frases' it sounds better…

08:32 PM Apr 08 2011 |




Why so many basketball terms every week… I'm not really into basketball. How about some other sports or subjects?

07:50 AM Apr 08 2011 |


Viet Nam

It takes so long to load a video from English Baby. I don't know that's because of my computer or not.

01:12 AM Apr 08 2011 |



The best way to learn English is the repetition, and to be constant.    You have to practice everyday and to have a group with whom you can practice. 

12:54 AM Apr 08 2011 |

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