In this article, we'll discuss both referee calls and play calls made by coaches.
When one of the referees blows the whistle to indicate that play has stopped due to a violation occurring, this is known as a 'call.' While there are many different types of violations that can be committed by a player/team throughout the game, some of the most common include shooting fouls (contacting the body of a player that is attempting a shot), traveling (taking more than two steps without bouncing the ball on the floor) and going out of bounds by stepping on or over a boundary line. Most violations result in the team that was guilty of the rule breakage having to turn over the ball to the opposing team.
The other type of basketball call is a 'play call.' During timeouts, each team's coach will grab a whiteboard and draw up a play to be executed on the ensuing possession. Depending on whether the team has possession of the ball or not, the coach will either come up with an offensive or defensive play call. Offensive play calls involve using a series of passes and cuts (quick movements towards a specific area of the court) to gain separation from the defense and allow for open shot attempts. Defensive play calls revolve primarily around positioning and assignments, with each member of the defense being told where to stand and who to guard on the opposing team.