In basketball, an air ball is an unblocked shot that misses the basket, rim, net, and backboard entirely.[5]


The Oxford English Dictionary cites earliest printed use of "air ball" in a 29 January 1967 article from the (Hayward, Calif.) Daily Review, which reads: "Cal State, four times lofting air balls at an orange basket that may as well have been painted invisible."[6]

An air ball by an opposing player during a competitive game will usually prompt fans (primarily in the college game) present to chant “Aiiiir ball! Aiir ball!” repeatedly in a continuous drone to humiliate the shooter. Since the 1980s, it has become common to restart the chant the next time the shooter touches the ball.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Air Ball".
  2. ^ "Definition of air ball".
  3. ^ "air ball".
  4. ^ "air ball".
  5. ^ Definitions:
    • SportingCharts: Unblocked, doesn't touch the rim or the backboard.[1]
    • Merriam Webster: Completely misses the basket, rim, and backboard.[2]
    • Oxford: Misses the basket and backboard entirely.[3]
    • Missed shot that fails to touch the rim, net, or backboard.[4]
  6. ^ "air, n. 1". OED Online. Oxford UP. Retrieved December 1, 2012.(subscription required)