The “air-ball” chant is one of the staples of college basketball arenas around the country. Once a player air-balls a shot, students chant “air-ball” whenever he touches the ball. It’s fun and relatively harmless.

But don’t you come at Syracuse with such an abhorrent lack of class.

Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said on his radio show that a Syracuse fan called him after the Orange’s game against the Yellow Jackets and was unhappy that fans chanted “air-ball” at Syracuse star John Gillon. According to, Pastner says he told them too bad.

“I said, sir, a few things with all due respect,” Pastner said. “This is not intramurals nor is it the ‘Love Boat’ where everyone gets served cocktails at 4 p.m. I said this is men’s elite college basketball and I said the air-ball chant has gone around since Dr. James Naismith invented the game. I said, I guarantee you if one of our guys air-balled the ball at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, thirty-thousand people would be chanting airball for the entire game.”

This is the correct take, of course. Chants like this are fun and part of college sports. I’d imagine this person is like the Nebraska fan who called security on me at a Northwestern home game for saying “cheaters” when the Cornhuskers got a 15-yard penalty. Don’t be that guy. Have fun, and take sports in stride.


About Kevin Trahan

Kevin mostly covers college football and college basketball, with an emphasis on NCAA issues and other legal issues in sports. He is also an incoming law student. He's written for SB Nation, USA Today, VICE Sports, The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.