How Do You Say Basketball in Spanish?

The translation for basketball in Spanish is el baloncesto. However, you may also see it spelled as el básquetbol. Both are considered correct translations in Spanish for the sport known as basketball  in English.

Is it baloncesto or básquetbol?

Is it baloncesto or básquetbol?

While “baloncesto” and “básquetbol” are both appropriate Spanish translations for basketball, “baloncesto” is the more common spelling used in Spain and most Spanish-speaking countries. “Básquetbol” is more frequently used in Argentina, Uruguay, and countries influenced by those dialects.

The key difference lies in the accented “á” in “básquetbol”. Many words brought into Spanish from another language, like English “basketball” becoming Spanish “baloncesto/básquetbol”, undergo shifts in stress placement. The accent mark indicates stress on the “a”. But over time, it became more commonly spoken and spelled without the accent mark.

So in most places, you’ll see it written simply as “baloncesto”, whereas in Argentina and Uruguay, keeping the accent mark on the “á” is preferred.

How do you say basketball in Mexico in Spanish?

In Mexico, basketball is referred to as “el baloncesto”. The unaccented spelling is standard in Mexican Spanish. Some examples of baloncesto in sentences in Mexican dialect would be:

  • “Juego” baloncesto “en un equipo de la escuela”. (“I play basketball on a school team.”)
  • “La NBA es la liga profesional de” baloncesto “en Estados Unidos”. (“The NBA is the professional basketball league in the United States.”)
  • “El Dream Team era un equipo de baloncesto “con los mejores jugadores de la NBA”. (“The Dream Team was a basketball team with the best NBA players.”)

So if referring to basketball in Mexico or using Mexican Spanish vocabulary, “baloncesto” is the way to go.

How do you pronounce básquetbol?

How do you pronounce básquetbol?

Since “básquetbol” contains an accent over the “a”, this changes the stress and pronunciation of the word. It is pronounced:*

  • bás-ket-bol

The stress falls directly on that accented “á’ syllable. This differentiates it from the pronunciation of “baloncesto” without an accent mark.

Some examples of “básquetbol” in sentences:

  • “El básquetbol es popular en Argentina”
  • “Juego al básquetbol los sábados por la tarde”

So in countries where this spelling is common, keep in mind that the accent mark moderately alters the pronunciation.

What does “baloncesto” mean?

While “baloncesto” translates directly to the English word “basketball”, understanding its etymology can provide greater insight. Breaking it down:

  • “balon” = “ball”
  • “cesto” = “basket”

So joining those words makes:

  • “balon” (ball) + “cesto” (basket) = “baloncesto” (basketball).

It translates the key elements of the sport – putting a ball through a raised basket. This makes “baloncesto” a logical Spanish description of the game.

What is a sentence with “el baloncesto”?

Since “baloncesto” is the most common Spanish translation for basketball, it can be used in sentences just like the English “basketball”:

  • “Juego” el baloncesto “en un equipo de mi escuela.” (“I play basketball on my school’s team.”)
  • El baloncesto “se juega con una pelota y un aro elevado.” (Basketball is played with a ball and an elevated hoop.”)
  • Me gusta ver partidos dela NBA porque el baloncesto es mi deporte favorito.” (“I like watching NBA games because basketball is my favorite sport.”)

These example sentences demonstrate how Spanish speakers can insert “el baloncesto” fluidly into language just like the English equivalent. Whether referring to playing, rules, or fandom – “el baloncesto” works for any basketball context.

Other Spanish Basketball Vocabulary

Other Spanish Basketball Vocabulary

Beyond just translations for the term “basketball,” here is a list of other common Spanish words and phrases about the sport:

  • El Baloncesto = basketball
  • El Básquetbol = basketball
  • El Básquet = basketball (familiar form)
  • Balón = ball
  • Balón de baloncesto = basketball
  • Aro = hoop
  • Aro de baloncesto = basketball hoop
  • Pelota de baloncesto = basketball
  • Basketball terms in Spanish:
    • Lanzar = to shoot
    • Encestar = to score (literally “to basket”)
    • Pase = pass
    • Rebote = rebound

So in discussing or watching a basketball game with Spanish speakers, these terms will help with understanding and communication. Basketball truly is a global sport, and its popularity makes learning basketball vocabulary important for any Spanish learner!


While both baloncesto and “básquetbol” can translate to “basketball” in Spanish, baloncesto” is the more common spelling, especially in Spain and Latin America. “Básquetbol” sees specific use in Argentina and Uruguay. The key difference is the accent mark, which alters the stress and pronunciation. But no matter what dialect, Spanish speakers understand basketball terminology very well, it being a widely enjoyed sport across the Spanish-speaking world. With the vocabulary provided here, you can confidently discuss the sport in Spanish.

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