What does Handles mean in Basketball?

Skill in dribbling a basketball

In basketball lingo, “handles” is a term used to assess a player’s skill in controlling the ball. This involves dribbling, passing, and overall maneuverability. It’s a word frequently used by players, fans, and commentators to evaluate ball skills.

For instance, a basketball enthusiast might share a clip of a player skillfully dribbling past opponents on social media, and say, “Look at Jordan’s insane handles!!” Or, when LeBron James executes impressive passes without looking or behind his back, a commentator might say, “James flaunting his handles tonight with those slick assists.”

As usual in sports, there is a constant debate among fans about who has the best handles in the game. Some of the players often mentioned for their superb handles include Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, Jason Williams, Rajon Rondo, and Magic Johnson.

The origin of the term “handles” is not exactly known. However, it is derived from “ball handling” and “ball handler”. The term started getting popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s, especially with the release of AND1 Mixtape videos showcasing incredible handles from street basketball players.

Example for using ‘Handles’ in a conversation

Hey, did you see that sick crossover by LeBron last night? πŸ€πŸ”₯

Yeah, his handles are on another level! He made the defender look silly. πŸ˜‚

For sure! LeBron’s ball control is insane. He’s got some of the best handles in the game.

Definitely! But don’t forget about Kyrie Irving. He’s got some crazy handles too. πŸ”„