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Oscar Torres (13) is in position to block this shot.

In basketball, a block (short for blocked shot) occurs when a defensive player legally deflects a shot from an offensive player. The defender must not touch the offensive player's hands or otherwise a foul is called. In order to be legal, the block must occur while the shot is traveling upward. If it is heading downward when the defender hits it, it is ruled as goaltending and counts as a made basket. Goaltending is also called if the block is made after the ball bounces on the backboard (NCAA/NFHS excepted). Nicknames for blocked shots include "rejections," "stuffs," "facials," "swats," and "denials." Blocked shots were first officially recorded in the NBA during the 1973-74 season.

Largely due to their height and position near the basket, centers and power forwards tend to record the most blocks, but shorter players with extreme leaps can also be great blockers, a good example being Dwyane Wade (the shortest player, at 6'5", to record 100 blocked shots in a single season). A blocked shot is considered to be one of the most exciting plays in basketball. A player with the ability to block shots can be a great asset to a team's defense, as they can make it difficult for opposing players to shoot near the basket and by keeping the basketball in play, as opposed to swatting it out of bounds, a blocked shot can lead to a fast break, a skill Bill Russell was notable for. To be a good shot-blocker, a player needs great court sense and timing, and good height or jumping ability. A great shot-blocker can intimidate opponents to alter their shots, resulting in a miss.

Some of the best shot-blockers in the NBA have been Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Mark Eaton, Manute Bol, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tree Rollins, Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O'Neal, David Robinson, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, Ben Wallace, Theo Ratliff, Jermaine O'Neal, Andrei Kirilenko, Marcus Camby, Chris Andersen Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard, Yao Ming, Josh Smith, Emeka Okafor and Kevin Garnett

Shot blocking records in the NBA

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