bailout call (bal'-out kahl) noun. A questionable call that effectively rescues a player who otherwise has no chance of scoring.

Usage example: Allen Iverson was falling out of bounds, behind the basket and facing the crowd, and the referee gave him two freethrows on a bailout call.

Word Irritation: The bailout call is irritating because it usually rewards stupid behavior. You often see the bailout call occur right before a shot clock violation, as a player runs wildly toward the basket or heaves up a crazy shot that has absolutely no chance. You also see it when a player makes an outright bad decision, like jumping into the air against three defenders with nowhere to go and no passing lanes to use. And since it's usually a "superstar" does this, the ref must feel an obligation to not let said superstar feel badly about himself.