A slang term used in basketball to describe a player or team running a successful offensive play that starts at one end of the floor and finishes quickly on the other end, often quicker than the defense can react. The play does not have to start in a specific spot on the floor, but the deeper into one side the play starts, the more impressive it is when finished. Typically, a coast to coast starts when a player secures a rebound or gets a steal and immediately sprints or passes the ball quickly down court.
The phrase comes from the requirement that the ball move quickly from one end of the floor, or coast, to the other end. In this metaphor, the ends of the court are coasts. These types of plays are sought out by fans and coaches because of their excitement and offensive efficiency. Although the scoring opportunity is typically easier, a player or team can go coast to coast and miss the basket and the phrase will still apply. In the modern game of basketball, specific rules have been enacted which encourage these types of plays by restricting the types of defense allowable on a player moving quickly past the defense.