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College Basketball commentator Al McGuire, former head Basketball coach at Marquette, coined the phrase in the late 70s or early 80s to describe the lane area. He came up with all kinds of expressions that we use every day in basketball. "Space eater" is another, which means a very large player that takes up a lot of space (usually in the lane), making it difficult for the opposing team to "penetrate the paint."

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Q: Where did the phrase in the paint come from?
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