sixth man

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sixth man (plural sixth men)

  1. (basketball) A player who is not a starter but comes off the bench much more often than other reserves.
  2. By extension, a person or group who is not part of a team, but who supports or contributes to the success of the team.
    • 1997, Clem Haskins, ‎Marc Ryan, Clem Haskins: Breaking Barriers, page 143:
      Our sixth man, the Williams Arena crowd, was into the game, all 15,491 of them.