Pacers' pest T. J. McConnell played another effective game off the bench with 15 points and 22 assists in 21 mininutes.

What does "off the bench" mean?

https://www.fastslang.com/off-the-bench says

Off the Bench is a slang term used to describe someone who is not actively participating in a certain activity or event, but is instead just watching from the sidelines. It is often used in sports, where players who are not currently playing in the game are said to be "on the bench."

If McConnell was just watching from the sidelines, how could he earn points and assists?

What is the term/slang to describe a player who is actively participating in a game?

  • In my vernacular, a "tiresome, irritating" child or adult can be a pest, but I wouldn't call one that was bothering me in particular my pest. If there's a competitive person I don't like to engage with because he often beats me, that person is my bugbear Commented May 18 at 10:14
  • This is two separate and unrelated questions. I've removed the question about "pest". If you want that one answered too, please ask about it in a new question.
    – gotube
    Commented May 19 at 1:49

2 Answers 2


I suggest that "off the bench" here means a player who was sitting on the bench, ready to play, who has now just been called into the game to start playing. In your example, he came off the bench and immediately started playing well.
Sports teams usually have more players at a game than are playing at any one moment. Those waiting to play are "on the bench". A player who has been removed from active play has been "benched", that is, returned to the bench.

He is a "pest" for the opposing team because he plays so well.
Merriam-Webster "pest"
3: one that pesters or annoys : nuisance

  • Thanks. What is the term/slang to describe a player who is actively participating in a game?
    – Tim
    Commented May 18 at 10:01
  • Do "Pacers' pest" and "a pest for Knicks" mean that he played against or for Pacers/Knicks?
    – Tim
    Commented May 18 at 10:34
  • @Tim How could you be following NBA, and not know which team someone plays for?! (If you don't do some basic research)
    – James K
    Commented May 18 at 11:42
  • 1
    "Pacers pest" refers to the player mentioned in the article, who played for the Pacers. "A pest for "Knicks" means that that player was a nuisance for the opposing team because he played so well. Commented May 18 at 11:43

"Pest" used in multiple sports, but in basketball, usually a defensive player who frustrates and disrupts the plays of the opposing team. Here is an article about the biggest pests of the last 10 NBA seasons. McConnell is a point guard for the Pacers (but presumably you already know that!)

"Off the bench", he started the game "on the bench", and not on the court, but substituted another player. NBA Basketball (unlike some other sports) allows unlimited substitutions see how substitutions work in NBA

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