Word on the Street

SWAC (swak) abbreviation. Shooter without a conscience.

Usage example:Did you see that shot? A left-handed scoop from 23 feet? Man, that guy’s a real SWAC.”

Word history: The term was coined by my buddy James while we (along with player Chris) were discussing the previous night’s pickup basketball games. As you know, we like to nickname the people we play with rather than learning their actual names. (Why make a personal connection? That could cause feelings of guilt and shame when making an embarrassment call.) We were trying to come up with an alias for a guy who’s rather nondescript when one of us (I forget who) pointed out that his only defining characteristic was the fact that he attempts countless ill-adviced shots – mostly from downtown – without conscience or care, regardless of the fact that he cannot, in fact, shoot a basketball. All of a sudden, James blurted out: “SWAC! Shooter without a conscience.”

A new word was born.

There are some ground rules that must be used when determining whether someone is a SWAC. A normally good shooter/scorer who starts out slowly or cools off late but continues to shoot is not a true SWAC. A SWAC must be someone who cannot shoot (though, by the law of averages, he will occasionally hit a shot or two) but insists on shooting nearly every time he touches the ball. He thinks “passing” is something that happens to kidney stones. In fact, it won’t matter if he’s several feet behind the three-point line or if he can’t even see the basket. (I once saw one particular SWAC catch the ball at the foul line and then immediately chuck it up despite the fact that he was facing AWAY from the basket.) However, the SWAC must be blissfully unaware of his own limitations. He must believe that he is taking good shots, that he is justified finger-rolling from 17 feet out or maybe attempting a three-point hook shot. He must never feel bound by feelings of shame or the fear that his teammates will come to hate him for his pitiful shot selection. Only then will he be a true SWAC.

A layup from the free throw line?! That kid’s a SWAC in the making.


Labels: Word on the Street


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