dropping dimes


I recall hearing the term “dropping dimes” for the first time while watching an NBA game.

The Utah Jazz’s legendary point guard John Stockton was racking up a ton of assists on his stat sheet. According to the announcers, Stockton was throwing quarters to every member of his team.

In basketball, what does it signify when someone drops a dime? Learn more here.

dropping dimes

What Does Dropping Dimes Mean?

Basketball assists are known by the catchy slang term “dropping dimes.” The expression is typically said when a basketball player makes a highlight-reel pass, such as a no-look pass or an alley-oop that results in a violent slam dunk. The crowd usually goes wild when this happens!

In order to receive credit for a basket made by a teammate, a player must transfer the ball to that player. The word “dime” is used to describe an exceptional assist on the court. One of the most used basketball slang expressions today is “dropping dime.”

Where Did Dropping Dimes Come From?

If you were away from your house phone before cell phones, the main means of contact was a payphone. In the past, using a payphone cost 10 cents to call someone (a dime). A person would ask you to drop a dime for them if they were out of change (or assist them with making a call).

Basketball lingo eventually adopted the expression “dropping dime” as a humorous way to describe a flawless assist. The expression can also be used to describe a flawless transit through a small window.

Interestingly, when a quarterback is attempting challenging throws during a game, football announcers will also use the expression “dropping dime.”

Legendary Dime Droppers

Steve Nash

Without mentioning the great Steve Nash, we cannot talk about dropping dime. With 10,335 assists at the conclusion of his 18-year NBA career, Nash is third all-time in assists.

Although Nash is being double-teamed in the video below, he calmly executes a flawless bounce pass between the defender’s legs. This is a perfect example of dropping a dime and gives his teammate an easy layup.

John Stockton

The NBA’s all-time leader in assists is Stockton. Even though the former Jazz point guard was only 6-1 and weighed 170 pounds, he was able to drop passes into even the smallest passing lanes.

With 15,806 assists at the end of his career, he set a mark that might never be surpassed.

Chris Paul

Another illustrious dime dropper is CP3! Paul has 10,275 assists, which puts him #1 on the active list.

See how expertly he executes the hook pass to give the ball to Blake Griffin for a booming slam dunk in the video below.

LeBron James

Despite the fact that James is better recognized for his natural scoring ability, he’s also one of the best passers in basketball. He has 9,696 assists overall, which puts him in ninth place.

Watch how fluidly James executes the behind-the-back pass and baseball pass during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals from a few years ago!

Magic Johnson

One of the most thrilling passers in NBA history was Magic.

He was the backbone of the ShowTime Lakers in the 1980s and had the best court vision of any player at the time. Magic had 10,141 assists towards the end of his career.


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