A slang term referring to a player on a basketball team who plays the center position. The center is most often the tallest player on the team, and he is tasked with rebounding and defending the biggest player on the opposing team. Although the phrase most often refers to the center, it is sometimes applied more broadly to any larger than average player. In this sense, it is often a matter of context and the size of the individual speaking.
Also referred to as "big men".
A big man is referred to as such because of his size and usefulness to the team. Basketball strategy employs the use of as many tall players as possible in order to get quality shots, easier rebounds, and to generally outmatch the opponent. Height is often balanced with speed across all five positions (point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, center), with the center typically being the tallest and generally the slowest. Having a quality "big man" has become a key ingredient to success at every level of basketball competition.