What Is a Brick in Basketball?

If you play basketball or love to watch it, you might have heard of the term 'brick' at some point during a commentary, from your coach, or the spectators. A brick in basketball is typical of beginners but can also haunt the best players. So, what is a brick in basketball?

In simple terms, it is like a missed shot, but worse. A player who shoots a lot of bricks is called a ‘bricklayer,’ which can be bad for the player’s reputation. 

This article will discuss what a brick is and how some famous players have shot bricks, and it will also discuss how to avoid it.

What Is a Brick?

A brick is like a missed shot, but not precisely a missed shot either. Many players can miss a shot, but you won’t necessarily call it a brick shot.

It is how a player makes a shot that differentiates a brick from a missed shot. A brick is when the ball hits the basketball rim and makes a loud clanking sound, or it hits the backboard while not touching the rim entirely. 

Let’s see the difference between a brick shot and a missed shot.

What Is the Difference Between a Missed Shot and a Brick Shot?

As mentioned above, a brick is not a regular miss. But how would we know when a missed shot is a brick? 

The best indicator is when the shot is so bad that it hits the rim with a 'clunk' sound.

The other way to identify a brick is to see how frequently a player misses a shot. Many players continuously miss a shot, and consequently, their fans can begin to call them bricklayers. 

Steph Curry is an American professional basketball player known to be one of the best point guards of his time. In a certain match, the score went to 1-11. This is a classic sign of entering the bricklayer territory. You can watch how he shot fourteen bricks in three quarters here.

When playing on the field, some players are great shooters but shoot bricks while on the foul line or three-point line.

Shaquille O'Neal, a former American basketball player, has a foul shot percentage of 52.7%, making him one of the worst foul shooters. However, he ranks third when it comes to scoring from close range, and his all-time field goal percentage is 58.2%. 

Shaq’s weakness was free-throw shooting. Once, in a game against the Seattle SuperSonics on December 8, 2000, he missed his eleven free shots. In other words, he shot eleven ‘bricks.’

For this reason, his opponents would intentionally foul against him, calling the tactic ‘Hack-a-Shaq.’ He became the second player in the NBA who missed his 5000th free throw on December 25, 2008, the first being Chamberlain.

How to Avoid a Brick Shot?

You know how it feels if you are ever called a bricklayer if you play basketball. To avoid this, here are some tricks to help you shoot that well-aimed shot and score a goal:

  1. Shooting Speed

Many players are slow shooters, which is the number one reason for brick shots. To avoid a brick, players should work on their shooting speed. There are three ways that you can increase your shooting speed:

  • Be Shot Ready

When players are on the field and waiting for a pass, they stand straight with their hands up. This position is not what you maintain if you consider yourself shot-ready.

If you know you might get a pass, and you’re somewhere close to the ball, you should stand with your hips down, chest down, and your fingers ready for the ball. This way, when you get a pass, you can instantly catch the ball and shoot.

  • Magnetic Shot Line

The magnetic shot line is the vertical line of your body located closer to your hand that you use to shoot. You would want the ball to be in the magnetic shot line when you get a pass.

However, you might not necessarily get it close to your magnetic shot line as not all passes are ideal. 


In this case, you should learn how to control-catch the ball with one hand and then yank it back to your magnetic shot line. This way, you don’t have to move your entire body towards the ball as you try to catch it and lose less time.

Instead, you can use this time to aim for the basket and avoid a brick shot.

  • Hot Lava

As the ball touches your hand, pop up your toes as if the ground has turned into hot lava.

Why? When players stand with their entire feet planted on the ground, they lose some of their body’s natural momentum. Keep your heels off the ground to always be ready to shoot and prevent a brick shot.

  1. Targeting

The second essential component of avoiding a brick shot is to target well. Here are some tips to improve your targeting:

  • Look at Your Target

This one seems way too obvious, right? However, many players don’t look at their target for long enough. For this reason, their brain isn’t able to calculate the distance between them and the target in a short period, resulting in a brick shot. 

It would help if you had your eyes on your target as early as possible. The instant you catch the ball, snap your eyes to the target.

As you move to make your shot, your eyes should stay on the target. This method gives you plenty of time to locate your target and aim well.

  • Target Location

You can aim your ball in three different locations; right in front of the rim, back of the rim, or somewhere in the middle of the basket.

To avoid a brick, you can aim your shot near the back of the rim. If you aim it at the front of the rim, chances are you can hit it. If you aim it at the back of the rim, your ball can hit the backboard instead.

Therefore, aiming for just below the back of the rim ensures a sweet spot that gives you greater chances of getting your ball into the basket.

Conclusion: Brick in Basketball

A brick in basketball is a terrible thing that you might never want to repeat as a player, and no player would want to be a bricklayer.

Even if you are one of the best basketball players of your time, like Shaquille O'Neal or Steph Curry, the bricklayer tag sticks and fans never forget it. 

Moreover, brick shots are not the same as missed shots. A miss can happen once and doesn’t hit the rim as a brick shot does.


On the other hand, a brick shot can occur repeatedly and hits the rim with a ‘clunk’ sound or the backboard before quickly sliding to the ground. 

Players can work on their shooting speed and target location to avoid a brick shot.

To increase your shooting speed, try to adapt a shot-ready stance, know your magnetic shot line so you don't move your body entirely towards the ball, and keep your toes off the ground to retain your body’s natural momentum.

However, you cannot avoid a brick if you don’t aim well at your target. Knowing your target location and aiming for a specific part of the basket are two key components to score. Hopefully, next time you shoot, it won’t be a brick.

Joshua Bast

My name is Joshua Bast and I have been playing basketball ever since I was 7 years old. I love the game play, I love the feeling whenever I score a basket, but what made me fell in love was the camaraderie with my team mates. This blog is dedicated to help any up-and-coming basketball players maximize their potential.

Joshua Bast