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Essay About Basketball Rules For Dummies

This article is about the sport. For the ball used in the sport, see Basketball (ball). For other uses, see Basketball (disambiguation).

Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of the game, stands with the original equipment for the game, a peach basket and a ball.

Highest governing bodyFIBA
First playedDecember 21, 1891; 126 years ago (1891-12-21). Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Characteristics
ContactNo
Team members5 per side
Mixed genderYes, separate competitions
TypeIndoor/Outdoor
EquipmentBasketball
VenueIndoor court (mainly) or outdoor court (Streetball)
GlossaryGlossary of basketball
Presence
Country or regionWorldwide
OlympicYes, demonstrated in the 1904 and 1924 Summer Olympics
Part of the Summer Olympic program since 1936
ParalympicYes

Basketball is a limited-contact sport played on a rectangular court. While most often played as a team sport with five players on each side, three-on-three, two-on-two, and one-on-one competitions are also common. The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter and 10 feet (3.048 m) high that is mounted to a backboard at each end of the court. The game was invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith.

A team can score a field goal by shooting the ball through the basket being defended by the opposition team during regular play. A field goal scores three points for the shooting team if the player shoots from behind the three-point line, and two points if shot from in front of the line. A team can also score via free throws, which are worth one point, after the other team is assessed with certain fouls. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but additional time (overtime) is mandated when the score is tied at the end of regulation. The ball can be advanced on the court by passing it to a teammate, or by bouncing it while walking or running (dribbling). It is a violation to lift, or drag, one's pivot foot without dribbling the ball, to carry it, or to hold the ball with both hands then resume dribbling.

The game has many individual techniques for displaying skill—ball-handling, shooting, passing, dribbling, dunking, shot-blocking, and rebounding. Basketball teams generally have player positions, the tallest and strongest members of a team are called a center or power forward, while slightly shorter and more agile players are called small forward, and the shortest players or those who possess the best ball handling skills are called a point guard or shooting guard. The point guard directs the on court action of the team, implementing the coach's game plan, and managing the execution of offensive and defensive plays (player positioning).

Basketball is one of the world's most popular and widely viewed sports.[1] The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the most significant professional basketball league in the world in terms of popularity, salaries, talent, and level of competition.[2][3] Outside North America, the top clubs from national leagues qualify to continental championships such as the Euroleague and FIBA Americas League. The FIBA Basketball World Cup and Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament are the major international events of the sport and attract top national teams from around the world. Each continent hosts regional competitions for national teams, like EuroBasket and FIBA AmeriCup.

The FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup and Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament feature top national teams from continental championships. The main North American league is the WNBA (NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship is also popular), whereas strongest European clubs participate in the EuroLeague Women.

History

Main article: History of basketball

Creation

In early December 1891, Canadian Dr. James Naismith,[4] a physical education professor and instructor at the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School[5] (YMCA) (today, Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts, was trying to keep his gym class active on a rainy day. He sought a vigorous indoor game to keep his students occupied and at proper levels of fitness during the long New England winters. After rejecting other ideas as either too rough or poorly suited to walled-in gymnasiums, he wrote the basic rules and nailed a peach basket onto a 10-foot (3.0 m) elevated track. In contrast with modern basketball nets, this peach basket retained its bottom, and balls had to be retrieved manually after each "basket" or point scored; this proved inefficient, however, so the bottom of the basket was removed,[6] allowing the balls to be poked out with a long dowel each time.

Basketball was originally played with a soccer ball. These round balls from "association football" were made, at the time, with a set of laces to close off the hole needed for inserting the inflatable bladder after the other sewn-together segments of the ball's cover had been flipped outside-in.[7][8] These laces could cause bounce passes and dribbling to be unpredictable.[9] Eventually a lace-free ball construction method was invented, and this change to the game was endorsed by Naismith. (Whereas in American football, the lace construction proved to be advantageous for gripping and remains to this day.) The first balls made specifically for basketball were brown, and it was only in the late 1950s that Tony Hinkle, searching for a ball that would be more visible to players and spectators alike, introduced the orange ball that is now in common use. Dribbling was not part of the original game except for the "bounce pass" to teammates. Passing the ball was the primary means of ball movement. Dribbling was eventually introduced but limited by the asymmetric shape of early balls. Dribbling only became a major part of the game around the 1950s[citation needed], as manufacturing improved the ball shape.

The peach baskets were used until 1906 when they were finally replaced by metal hoops with backboards. A further change was soon made, so the ball merely passed through. Whenever a person got the ball in the basket, his team would gain a point. Whichever team got the most points won the game.[10] The baskets were originally nailed to the mezzanine balcony of the playing court, but this proved impractical when spectators in the balcony began to interfere with shots. The backboard was introduced to prevent this interference; it had the additional effect of allowing rebound shots.[11] Naismith's handwritten diaries, discovered by his granddaughter in early 2006, indicate that he was nervous about the new game he had invented, which incorporated rules from a children's game called duck on a rock, as many had failed before it.

Frank Mahan, one of the players from the original first game, approached Naismith after the Christmas break, in early 1892, asking him what he intended to call his new game. Naismith replied that he hadn't thought of it because he had been focused on just getting the game started. Mahan suggested that it be called "Naismith ball", at which he laughed, saying that a name like that would kill any game. Mahan then said, "Why not call it basketball?" Naismith replied, "We have a basket and a ball, and it seems to me that would be a good name for it."[12][13] The first official game was played in the YMCA gymnasium in Albany, New York, on January 20, 1892, with nine players. The game ended at 1–0; the shot was made from 25 feet (7.6 m), on a court just half the size of a present-day Streetball or National Basketball Association (NBA) court.

At the time, football was being played with 10 to a team (which was increased to 11). When winter weather got too icy to play football, teams were taken indoors, and it was convenient to have them split in half and play basketball with five on each side. By 1897–1898 teams of five became standard.

College basketball

See also: College basketball

Basketball's early adherents were dispatched to YMCAs throughout the United States, and it quickly spread through the USA and Canada. By 1895, it was well established at several women's high schools. While the YMCA was responsible for initially developing and spreading the game, within a decade it discouraged the new sport, as rough play and rowdy crowds began to detract from the YMCA's primary mission. However, other amateur sports clubs, colleges, and professional clubs quickly filled the void. In the years before World War I, the Amateur Athletic Union and the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (forerunner of the NCAA) vied for control over the rules for the game. The first pro league, the National Basketball League, was formed in 1898 to protect players from exploitation and to promote a less rough game. This league only lasted five years.

Dr. James Naismith was instrumental in establishing college basketball. His colleague C.O. Beamis fielded the first college basketball team just a year after the Springfield YMCA game at the suburban PittsburghGeneva College.[14] Naismith himself later coached at the University of Kansas for six years, before handing the reins to renowned coach Forrest "Phog" Allen. Naismith's disciple Amos Alonzo Stagg brought basketball to the University of Chicago, while Adolph Rupp, a student of Naismith's at Kansas, enjoyed great success as coach at the University of Kentucky. On February 9, 1895, the first intercollegiate 5-on-5 game was played at Hamline University between Hamline and the School of Agriculture, which was affiliated with the University of Minnesota.[15][16][17] The School of Agriculture won in a 9–3 game.

In 1901, colleges, including the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, the University of Minnesota, the U.S. Naval Academy, the University of Colorado and Yale University began sponsoring men's games. In 1905, frequent injuries on the football field prompted PresidentTheodore Roosevelt to suggest that colleges form a governing body, resulting in the creation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS). In 1910, that body would change its name to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The first Canadian interuniversity basketball game was played at the YMCA in Kingston, Ontario on February 6, 1904, when McGill University visited Queen's University. McGill won 9–7 in overtime; the score was 7–7 at the end of regulation play, and a ten-minute overtime period settled the outcome. A good turnout of spectators watched the game.[18]

The first men's national championship tournament, the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball tournament, which still exists as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) tournament, was organized in 1937. The first national championship for NCAA teams, the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in New York, was organized in 1938; the NCAA national tournament would begin one year later. College basketball was rocked by gambling scandals from 1948 to 1951, when dozens of players from top teams were implicated in match fixing and point shaving. Partially spurred by an association with cheating, the NIT lost support to the NCAA tournament.

High school basketball

See also: List of U.S. high school basketball national player of the year awards

Before widespread school district consolidation, most American high schools were far smaller than their present-day counterparts. During the first decades of the 20th century, basketball quickly became the ideal interscholastic sport due to its modest equipment and personnel requirements. In the days before widespread television coverage of professional and college sports, the popularity of high school basketball was unrivaled in many parts of America. Perhaps the most legendary of high school teams was Indiana's Franklin Wonder Five, which took the nation by storm during the 1920s, dominating Indiana basketball and earning national recognition.

Today virtually every high school in the United States fields a basketball team in varsity competition.[19] Basketball's popularity remains high, both in rural areas where they carry the identification of the entire community, as well as at some larger schools known for their basketball teams where many players go on to participate at higher levels of competition after graduation. In the 2016–17 season, 980,673 boys and girls represented their schools in interscholastic basketball competition, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.[20] The states of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky are particularly well known for their residents' devotion to high school basketball, commonly called Hoosier Hysteria in Indiana; the critically acclaimed film Hoosiers shows high school basketball's depth of meaning to these communities.

There is currently no tournament to determine a national high school champion. The most serious effort was the National Interscholastic Basketball Tournament at the University of Chicago from 1917 to 1930. The event was organized by Amos Alonzo Stagg and sent invitations to state champion teams. The tournament started out as a mostly Midwest affair but grew. In 1929 it had 29 state champions. Faced with opposition from the National Federation of State High School Associations and North Central Association of Colleges and Schools that bore a threat of the schools losing their accreditation the last tournament was in 1930. The organizations said they were concerned that the tournament was being used to recruit professional players from the prep ranks.[21] The tournament did not invite minority schools or private/parochial schools.

The National Catholic Interscholastic Basketball Tournament ran from 1924 to 1941 at Loyola University.[22] The National Catholic Invitational Basketball Tournament from 1954 to 1978 played at a series of venues, including Catholic University, Georgetown and George Mason.[23] The National Interscholastic Basketball Tournament for Black High Schools was held from 1929 to 1942 at Hampton Institute.[24] The National Invitational Interscholastic Basketball Tournament was held from 1941 to 1967 starting out at Tuskegee Institute. Following a pause during World War II it resumed at Tennessee State College in Nashville. The basis for the champion dwindled after 1954 when Brown v. Board of Education began an integration of schools. The last tournaments were held at Alabama State College from 1964 to 1967.[25]

Professional basketball

Teams abounded throughout the 1920s. There were hundreds of men's professional basketball teams in towns and cities all over the United States, and little organization of the professional game. Players jumped from team to team and teams played in armories and smoky dance halls. Leagues came and went. Barnstorming squads such as the Original Celtics and two all-African American teams, the New York Renaissance Five ("Rens") and the (still existing) Harlem Globetrotters played up to two hundred games a year on their national tours.

In 1946, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) was formed. The first game was played in Toronto, Ontario, Canada between the Toronto Huskies and New York Knickerbockers on November 1, 1946. Three seasons later, in 1949, the BAA merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) to form the National Basketball Association (NBA). By the 1950s, basketball had become a major college sport, thus paving the way for a growth of interest in professional basketball. In 1959, a basketball hall of fame was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts, site of the first game. Its rosters include the names of great players, coaches, referees and people who have contributed significantly to the development of the game. The hall of fame has people who have accomplished many goals in their career in basketball. An upstart organization, the American Basketball Association, emerged in 1967 and briefly threatened the NBA's dominance until the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. Today the NBA is the top professional basketball league in the world in terms of popularity, salaries, talent, and level of competition.

The NBA has featured many famous players, including George Mikan, the first dominating "big man"; ball-handling wizard Bob Cousy and defensive genius Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics; charismatic center Wilt Chamberlain, who originally played for the barnstorming Harlem Globetrotters; all-around stars Oscar Robertson and Jerry West; more recent big men Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and Karl Malone; playmakers John Stockton, Isiah Thomas and Steve Nash; crowd-pleasing forwards Julius Erving and Charles Barkley; European stars Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol and Tony Parker; more recent superstars LeBron James, Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant; and the three players who many credit with ushering the professional game to its highest level of popularity during the 1980s and 1990s: Larry Bird, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, and Michael Jordan.

In 2001, the NBA formed a developmental league, the National Basketball Development League (later known as the NBA D-League and then the NBA G League after a branding deal with Gatorade). As of the 2017–18 season, the G League has 26 teams.

International basketball

FIBA (International Basketball Federation) was formed in 1932 by eight founding nations: Argentina, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania and Switzerland. At this time, the organization only oversaw amateur players. Its acronym, derived from the French Fédération Internationale de Basket-ball Amateur, was thus "FIBA". Men's basketball was first included at the Berlin 1936 Summer Olympics, although a demonstration tournament was held in 1904. The United States defeated Canada in the first final, played outdoors. This competition has usually been dominated by the United States, whose team has won all but three titles. The first of these came in a controversial final game in Munich in 1972 against the Soviet Union, in which the ending of the game was replayed three times until the Soviet Union finally came out on top.[26] In 1950 the first FIBA World Championship for men, now known as the FIBA Basketball World Cup, was held in Argentina. Three years later, the first FIBA World Championship for Women, now known as the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup, was held in Chile. Women's basketball was added to the Olympics in 1976, which were held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with teams such as the Soviet Union, Brazil and Australia rivaling the American squads.

In 1989, FIBA allowed professional NBA players to participate in the Olympics for the first time. Prior to the 1992 Summer Olympics, only European and South American teams were allowed to field professionals in the Olympics. The United States' dominance continued with the introduction of the original Dream Team. In the 2004 Athens Olympics, the United States suffered its first Olympic loss while using professional players, falling to Puerto Rico (in a 19-point loss) and Lithuania in group games, and being eliminated in the semifinals by Argentina. It eventually won the bronze medal defeating Lithuania, finishing behind Argentina and Italy. The Redeem Team, won gold at the 2008 Olympics, and the B-Team, won gold at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey despite featuring no players from the 2008 squad. The United States continued its dominance as they won gold at the 2012 Olympics, 2014 FIBA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

Worldwide, basketball tournaments are held for boys and girls of all age levels. The global popularity of the sport is reflected in the nationalities represented in the NBA. Players from all six inhabited continents currently play in the NBA. Top international players began coming into the NBA in the mid-1990s, including Croatians Dražen Petrović and Toni Kukoč, Serbian Vlade Divac, Lithuanians Arvydas Sabonis and Šarūnas Marčiulionis, Dutchman Rik Smits and German Detlef Schrempf.

In the Philippines, the Philippine Basketball Association's first game was played on April 9, 1975 at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City. Philippines. It was founded as a "rebellion" of several teams from the now-defunct Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association, which was tightly controlled by the Basketball Association of the Philippines (now defunct), the then-FIBA recognized national association. Nine teams from the MICAA participated in the league's first season that opened on April 9, 1975. The NBL is Australia's pre-eminent men's professional basketball league. The league commenced in 1979, playing a winter season (April–September) and did so until the completion of the 20th season in 1998. The 1998–99 season, which commenced only months later, was the first season after the shift to the current summer season format (October–April). This shift was an attempt to avoid competing directly against Australia's various football codes. It features 8 teams from around Australia and one in New Zealand. A few players including Luc Longley, Andrew Gaze, Shane Heal, Chris Anstey and Andrew Bogut made it big internationally, becoming poster figures for the sport in Australia. The Women's National Basketball League began in 1981.

Women's basketball

See also: Women's basketball

Women's basketball began in 1892 at Smith College when Senda Berenson, a physical education teacher, modified Naismith's rules for women. Shortly after she was hired at Smith, she went to Naismith to learn more about the game.[27] Fascinated by the new sport and the values it could teach, she organized the first women's collegiate basketball game on March 21, 1893, when her Smith freshmen and sophomores played against one another.[28] However, the first women's interinstitutional game was played in 1892 between the University of California and Miss Head's School.[29] Berenson's rules were first published in 1899, and two years later she became the editor of A. G. Spalding's first Women's Basketball Guide.[28] Berenson's freshmen played the sophomore class in the first women's intercollegiate basketball game at Smith College, March 21, 1893.[30] The same year, Mount Holyoke and Sophie Newcomb College (coached by Clara Gregory Baer) women began playing basketball. By 1895, the game had spread to colleges across the country, including Wellesley, Vassar, and Bryn Mawr. The first intercollegiate women's game was on April 4, 1896. Stanford women played Berkeley, 9-on-9, ending in a 2–1 Stanford victory.

Women's basketball development was more structured than that for men in the early years. In 1905, the Executive Committee on Basket Ball Rules (National Women's Basketball Committee) was created by the American Physical Education Association.[31] These rules called for six to nine players per team and 11 officials. The International Women's Sports Federation (1924) included a women's basketball competition. 37 women's high school varsity basketball or state tournaments were held by 1925. And in 1926, the Amateur Athletic Union backed the first national women's basketball championship, complete with men's rules.[31] The Edmonton Grads, a touring Canadian women's team based in Edmonton, Alberta, operated between 1915 and 1940. The Grads toured all over North America, and were exceptionally successful. They posted a record of 522 wins and only 20 losses over that span, as they met any team that wanted to challenge them, funding their tours from gate receipts.[32] The Grads also shone on several exhibition trips to Europe, and won four consecutive exhibition Olympics tournaments, in 1924, 1928, 1932, and 1936; however, women's basketball was not an official Olympic sport until 1976. The Grads' players were unpaid, and had to remain single. The Grads' style focused on team play, without overly emphasizing skills of individual players. The first women's AAU All-America team was chosen in 1929.[31] Women's industrial leagues sprang up throughout the United States, producing famous athletes, including Babe Didrikson of the Golden Cyclones, and the All American Red Heads Team, which competed against men's teams, using men's rules. By 1938, the women's national championship changed from a three-court game to two-court game with six players per team.[31]

The NBA-backed Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) began in 1997. Though it had shaky attendance figures, several marquee players (Lisa Leslie, Diana Taurasi, and Candace Parker among others) have helped the league's popularity and level of competition. Other professional women's basketball leagues in the United States, such as the American Basketball League (1996–98), have folded in part because of the popularity of the WNBA. The WNBA has been looked at by many as a niche league. However, the league has recently taken steps forward. In June 2007, the WNBA signed a contract extension with ESPN. The new television deal ran from 2009 to 2016. Along with this deal, came the first ever rights fees to be paid to a women's professional sports league. Over the eight years of the contract, "millions and millions of dollars" were "dispersed to the league's teams." In a March 12, 2009 article, NBA commissioner David Stern said that in the bad economy, "the NBA is far less profitable than the WNBA. We're losing a lot of money among a large number of teams. We're budgeting the WNBA to break even this year."[33]

Rules and regulations

Main article: Rules of basketball

Measurements and time limits discussed in this section often vary among tournaments and organizations; international and NBA rules are used in this section.

The object of the game is to outscore one's opponents by throwing the ball through the opponents' basket from above while preventing the opponents from doing so on their own. An attempt to score in this way is called a shot. A successful shot is worth two points, or three points if it is taken from beyond the three-point arc 6.75 metres (22 ft 2 in) from the basket in international games and 23 feet 9 inches (7.24 m) in NBA games. A one-point shot can be earned when shooting from the foul line after a foul is made.

Playing regulations

Games are played in four quarters of 10 (FIBA)[34] or 12 minutes (NBA).[35] College men's games use two 20-minute halves,[36] college women's games use 10-minute quarters,[37] and United States high school varsity games use 8 minute quarters.[38] 15 minutes are allowed for a half-time break under FIBA, NBA, and NCAA rules[36][39][40] and 10 minutes in United States high schools.[38]Overtime periods are five minutes in length[36][41][42] except for high school, which is four minutes in length.[38] Teams exchange baskets for the second half. The time allowed is actual playing time; the clock is stopped while the play is not active. Therefore, games generally take much longer to complete than the allotted game time, typically about two hours.

Five players from each team may be on the court at one time.[43][44][45][46]Substitutions are unlimited but can only be done when play is stopped. Teams also have a coach, who oversees the development and strategies of the team, and other team personnel such as assistant coaches, managers, statisticians, doctors and trainers.

For both men's and women's teams, a standard uniform consists of a pair of shorts and a jersey with a clearly visible number, unique within the team, printed on both the front and back. Players wear high-top sneakers that provide extra ankle support. Typically, team names, players' names and, outside of North America, sponsors are printed on the uniforms.

A limited number of time-outs, clock stoppages requested by a coach (or sometimes mandated in the NBA) for a short meeting with the players, are allowed. They generally last no longer than one minute (100 seconds in the NBA) unless, for televised games, a commercial break is needed.

The game is controlled by the officials consisting of the referee (referred to as crew chief in the NBA), one or two umpires (referred to as referees in the NBA) and the table officials. For college, the NBA, and many high schools, there are a total of three referees on the court. The table officials are responsible for keeping track of each teams scoring, timekeeping, individual and team fouls, player substitutions, team possession arrow, and the shot clock.

Equipment

Main articles: Basketball (ball), Basketball court, and Backboard (basketball)

The only essential equipment in a basketball game is the ball and the court: a flat, rectangular surface with baskets at opposite ends. Competitive levels require the use of more equipment such as clocks, score sheets, scoreboard(s), alternating possession arrows, and whistle-operated stop-clock systems.

A regulation basketball court in international games is 91.9 feet (28.0 meters) long and 49.2 feet (15 meters) wide. In the NBA and NCAA the court is 94 by 50 feet (29 by 15 meters). Most courts have wood flooring, usually constructed from maple planks running in the same direction as the longer court dimension.[47][48] The name and logo of the home team is usually painted on or around the center circle.

The basket is a steel rim 18 inches (46 cm) diameter with an attached net affixed to a backboard that measures 6 by 3.5 feet (1.8 by 1.1 meters) and one basket is at each end of the court. The white outlined box on the backboard is 18 inches (46 cm) high and 2 feet (61 cm) wide. At almost all levels of competition, the top of the rim is exactly 10 feet (3.05 meters) above the court and 4 feet (1.22 meters) inside the baseline. While variation is possible in the dimensions of the court and backboard, it is considered important for the basket to be of the correct height – a rim that is off by just a few inches can have an adverse effect on shooting.

The size of the basketball is also regulated. For men, the official ball is 29.5 inches (75 cm) in circumference (size 7, or a "295 ball") and weighs 22 oz (623.69 grams). If women are playing, the official basketball size is 28.5 inches (72 cm) in circumference (size 6, or a "285 ball") with a weight of 20 oz (567 grams). In 3x3, a formalized version of the halfcourt 3-on-3 game, a dedicated ball with the circumference of a size 6 ball but the weight of a size 7 ball is used in all competitions (men's, women's, and mixed teams).[49]

Violations

The ball may be advanced toward the basket by being shot, passed between players, thrown, tapped, rolled or dribbled (bouncing the ball while running).

The ball must stay within the court; the last team to touch the ball before it travels out of bounds forfeits possession. The ball is out of bounds if it touches a boundary line, or touches any player or object that is out of bounds.

There are limits placed on the steps a player may take without dribbling, which commonly results in an infraction known as traveling. Nor may a player stop his dribble and then resume dribbling. A dribble that touches both hands is considered stopping the dribble, giving this infraction the name double dribble. Within a dribble, the player cannot carry the ball by placing his hand on the bottom of the ball; doing so is known as carrying the ball. A team, once having established ball control in the front half of their court, may not return the ball to the backcourt and be the first to touch it. A violation of these rules results in loss of possession.

The ball may not be kicked, nor be struck with the fist. For the offense, a violation of these rules results in loss of possession; for the defense, most leagues reset the shot clock and the offensive team is given possession of the ball out of bounds.

There are limits imposed on the time taken before progressing the ball past halfway (8 seconds in FIBA and the NBA; 10 seconds in NCAA and high school for both sexes), before attempting a shot (24 seconds in FIBA, the NBA, and U Sports (Canadian universities) play for both sexes, and 30 seconds in NCAA play for both sexes), holding the ball while closely guarded (5 seconds), and remaining in the restricted area known as the free-throw lane, (or the "key") (3 seconds). These rules are designed to promote more offense.

Basket interference, or goaltending is a violation charged when a player illegally interferes with a shot. This violation is incurred when a player touches the ball on its downward trajectory to the basket, unless it is obvious that the ball has no chance of entering the basket, if a player touches the ball while it is in the rim, or in the area extended upwards from the basket, or if a player reaches through the basket to interfere with the shot. When a defensive player is charged with goaltending, the basket is awarded. If an offensive player commits the infraction, the basket is cancelled. In either case possession of the ball is turned over to the defensive team.

Fouls

Main articles: Personal foul (basketball) and Technical foul

An attempt to unfairly disadvantage an opponent through certain types of physical contact is illegal and is called a personal foul. These are most commonly committed by defensive players; however, they can be committed by offensive players as well. Players who are fouled either receive the ball to pass inbounds again, or receive one or more free throws if they are fouled in the act of shooting, depending on whether the shot was successful. One point is awarded for making a free throw, which is attempted from a line 15 feet (4.6 m) from the basket.

The referee is responsible for judging whether contact is illegal, sometimes resulting in controversy. The calling of fouls can vary between games, leagues and referees.

There is a second category of fouls called technical fouls, which may be charged for various rules violations including failure to properly record a player in the scorebook, or for unsportsmanlike conduct. These infractions result in one or two free throws, which may be taken by any of the five players on the court at the time. Repeated incidents can result in disqualification. A blatant foul involving physical contact that is either excessive or unnecessary is called an intentional foul (flagrant foul in the NBA). In FIBA, a foul resulting in ejection is called a disqualifying foul, while in leagues other than the NBA, such a foul is referred to as flagrant.

If a team exceeds a certain limit of team fouls in a given period (quarter or half) – four for NBA, NCAA women's, and international games – the opposing team is awarded one or two free throws on all subsequent non-shooting fouls for that period, the number depending on the league. In the US college men's game and high school games for both sexes, if a team reaches 7 fouls in a half, the opposing team is awarded one free throw, along with a second shot if the first is made. This is called shooting "one-and-one". If a team exceeds 10 fouls in the half, the opposing team is awarded two free throws on all subsequent fouls for the half.

When a team shoots foul shots, the opponents may not interfere with the shooter, nor may they try to regain possession until the last or potentially last free throw is in the air.

After a team has committed a specified number of fouls, the other team is said to be "in the bonus". On scoreboards, this is usually signified with an indicator light reading "Bonus" or "Penalty" with an illuminated directional arrow or dot indicating that team is to receive free throws when fouled by the opposing team. (Some scoreboards also indicate the number of fouls committed.)

If a team misses the first shot of a two-shot situation, the opposing team must wait for the completion of the second shot before attempting to reclaim possession of the ball and continuing play.

If a player is fouled while attempting a shot and the shot is unsuccessful, the player is awarded a number of free throws equal to the value of the attempted shot. A player fouled while attempting a regular two-point shot thus receives two shots, and a player fouled while attempting a three-point shot receives three shots.

If a player is fouled while attempting a shot and the shot is successful, typically the player will be awarded one additional free throw for one point. In combination with a regular shot, this is called a "three-point play" or "four-point play" (or more colloquially, an "and one") because of the basket made at the time of the foul (2 or 3 points) and the additional free throw (1 point).

Common techniques and practices

Positions

Main article: Basketball position

Old style basketball with laces
The 1899 University of Kansas basketball team, with James Naismith at the back, right.
A basketball game between the Heart Mountain and Powell High School girls teams, Wyoming, March 1944
An outdoor basketball net.
The referee signals that a foul has been committed.


A Chronological Look at the Major Refinements

Dr. Naismith, with all of his imaginative planning, could not have dreamed his "Peach Basket" game would develop into the world's greatest indoor sport.Although the original 13 rules have been expanded to over 100, the spirit and principles of the original rules are still in effect in today.Major rule changes over the years addressed the number of players, the court boundaries, dribbling, and the elimination of the center jump after made baskets. In the mid 1930's inter-sectional competition led to a standardization of rules throughout the country.

Team Size

Originally, there was no set rule on the number of players. The idea was that the game could be played by any number of players. However, that did not work out. After experimenting with teams up to 50 players, early games were primarily played by nine players on each side - the reason being that 18 students showed up for Naismith's class. In 1897 five players became the mandatory team size.

Substitutions

Initially, players were not allowed to re-enter the game. The rule was changed in 1920 to allow a player to re-enter the game one time. In 1934, the rule was expanded to allow players to re-enter the game twice, and, in 1945 the rule was finally changed to permit players to return to the game an unlimited number of times.

Baskets

Originally, the game was played with peach baskets or 18” square boxes hung from the balconies of the running tracks of most indoor facilities. At this time the basket height was established at 10 feet, which still stands today. Obviously, the peach baskets and boxes slowed the game down since the ball had to be retrieved after every goal either by someone on the running track or by ladder.The peach baskets were replaced first by heavy woven wire rims in 1892. Then, a year later, in 1893 cast iron rims were used. Open ended nylon nets were approved for use in 1912. This was a major milestone for basketball since the free falling ball after a made basket dramatically increased tempo and scoring of the game.

Backboards

Wire mesh backboards were introduced in 1895 to prevent spectators in the balconies from interfering with play. Wood replaced the easily dented wire mesh backboards in 1904, and plate glass backboard usage was approved in 1909. Backboards were mounted flat against walls. In 1916 to prevent players from running up the walls for easy lay-ups, a two foot gap was between the backboard and the endline was required. In 1939 this gap was increased from 2 feet to the present 4 feet to allow for more movement underneath the basket.

The Ball

The first basketball games were played with soccer balls. However, they proved to be unsuitable for dribbling and ball handling. The first manufactured basketballs were produced in 1894 by a bicycle manufacturing company. In the late 1890's Spalding took over as the official ball maker.  In 1905 the choice of basketballs was left up to the teams.Because of their inability to maintain their shape and their laces,these early brown leather basketballs were hard to dribble. In 1929 basketballs were re-designed for more bounce and with concealed laces which eliminated erratic bounces. The balls were bigger, lighter and easier to handle. In 1942 molded basketballs that maintained a constant shape and size replaced the stitched balls. In 1967 the American Basketball Association (ABA) played with a red, white and blue basketball. Today, the WNBA and FIBA use contrasting panels. The men's ball is 30" in circumference and the smaller women's ball is 29" in circumference.

Scoring

Originally, a successful goal was counted as one point, and one point was also given to a team anytime three consecutive fouls were called on the opponent. Free throws were first introduced in 1894. Both a made field goal and a made free throw were counted as one goal. In 1896, rules were changed to count a made field goal as two points. In 1961 the short lived American Basketball League played with the three point shot. In 1967, the three point shot was introduced into International basketball by FIBA. The three point shot was adopted by the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1977 and by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 1980.

Timing

The first games were played in two fifteen minute halves. Shortly later this was increased to two 20-minutes halves. There was no provision for extending the game if the score was tied. In fact, the first game ever played ended in a 2-2 tie. However, once leagues started to be formed, ties needed to be broken. The first tie breakers were "sudden death," with the first team to score a point, either a field goal or free throw, winning the game. Thus, games were decided without one team having a single ball possession. In the 1960's, in order to provide each team with an equal chance, Sudden Death was replaced by overtime periods. 

Shot Clock

In 1954 the NBA instituted a 24-second shot clock. This was another milestone for basketball since it eliminated the common stalling tactics that were being deployed, sometimes as early as the third period, by teams' ahead in the game because there was no way for the team behind to catch up other than to foul. The shot clock curtailed the end of game fouling and ensuing parade of free throws which made for a dull game.A 30-second shot clock was deployed internationally by FIBA in 1956, and in 1985, after a USC vs UCLA game and a Missouri vs Kansas game where players actually sat down during the game. The NCAA 45-second shot clock was further reduced to 35 seconds in 1993. Women have used a 30-second shot clock since going to a full court game in 1971.

Fouls

Fouls were assessed for using a fist, traveling and physical contact (holding, pushing, tripping, or striking of an opponent). When a player committed two fouls they were disqualified until a goal was scored.  For any flagrant fouls, just as today, players were disqualified for the whole game. When a team committed three consecutive fouls, without the opponent committing a foul, the opponent was awarded a goal - the predecessor to today’s bonus rules. In 1911, player fouls for disqualification was increased from two to four, and increased again in 1945 to five fouls. In 1922, traveling or running with the ball was changed to a violation and no longer considered a foul.

Free throws

When free throws were introduced in 1894 the free throw line was established at 21 feet from the basket. Anyone could shoot the free throws. This resulted in teams deploying specialized free throw shooters. A year later, in 1895, the free throw line was moved closer, to a distance of fifteen feet from the basket. In 1924, the free throw rule was amended which required the player who was fouled to shoot the free throws.

Passing

Passing rules have not changed over time. Rules 1 and 2 of the original rules relating to passing the ball are still in effect today.

Dribbling

In the original rules players could not bounce the ball. In 1901, the rule was enacted permitting players to bounce the ball one time. However, players were required to pass the ball and could not shoot after bouncing it. This single dribble amounted to a pass more than a dribble since the ball had to be tossed higher than a player's head and then recovered. Players could use this one bounce tactic numerous times in succession since there was no rule limitation. In 1909, continuous dribbling and shots off dribble were instituted. Being able to shoot off the dribble transformed the dribble from a defensive maneuver to get out of trouble into a potent offensive weapon. Double dribbling was also eliminated at this time. Note: In 1927 there was a period when dribblng was outlawed, but then reinstated two weeks later.

Out of Bounds

In the beginning, boundaries were not defined. In most cases, they were just the walls. It was not until 1904 that boundaries became straight lines. The original rule regarding out of bounds situations turned out to be disastrous. Ball possession was awarded to the first player to touch the ball after it went out of bounds. This led to pushing, shoving, elbowing, desperate dives, and total bedlam. It was even worse when the ball ended up in the balconies, with all players making a mad dash to be first up the stairs which created log jams and fights. Teams resorted to forming wedges to block the opponents from going up the stairs. Teams even tried to bypass the stairs by hoisting players up to the balcony in an effort to be first to touch the ball first.

Basketball at one time was referred to as the “Cage Game” and players’ “Cagers”. This was a result of wire mesh (chicken wire) or chain-link fencing being hung around the entire court in an effort to make the game go faster by eliminating all the out of bounds delays. However, in reality, it served more as a barrier to protect the players and rowdy spectators from each other, as well as from the objects being thrown onto the court. The wire cage actually resulted in additional rough play with players body checking each other into the wire mesh as in hockey. Players often  received cuts, bruises, and even incurred infections from the rusting wire mesh. Although, the use of cages were abandoned by 1933, the term "Cagers" is still used today.

In 1913, the out of bounds rule was changed to the current rule of the team causing or touching the ball last when it goes out of bounds loses possession. This rule change was a major impact in reducing the physical play that was common place in the early games.

Midcourt Line

The midcourt line was established in 1932 to eliminate stalling. Prior to this time, the offensive team had the luxury of the entire court at their disposal of which they took full advantage. This created dull, low scoring games with teams spreading the court and playing keep away rather than trying to score. Adding the midcourt line aided the defensive team by cutting down the area to defend to just half the court. A year later, in 1933, a rule requiring a team to advance the ball past the midcourt line in less than 10 seconds was enacted. FIBA and the NBA modified and reduced the 10 second rule to eight seconds in 2000. College women’s rules do not have a 10 second rule.

Three Second Area

In 1936 the three second area was created to prevent the offensive players from camping around the basket, and to eliminate the ensuing rough play which commonly took place. The three second area was 6 feet wide. Because of its shape, it became know as the “Key” or “Key Hole” In 1951 the three second area was expanded to 12 feet. The NBA and International  width is 16 feet.

Comparing the different free throw lanes:

   

   

Center Jump

In 1937 a center jump followed each successful basket. Teams with a good jumper had an advantage. Having a jump ball situation after every goal also slowed the game down considerably. Center jump still used today to start game and overtime periods. Alternating possession replaced jump balls in 1981. This was none to eliminate the multiple violations that were occurring on jump balls and officials inconsistency of tossing the ball up.

It should be noted that in the early days, jump balls were extremely physical. Like on the early out of bounds situations, players pushed and shoved in effort to gain possession of the ball. Even, the refree was often caught up in these jump ball skirmishes and sometimes injured.

The more recent rule changes have been instituted in an effort to curtail or neutralize the dominance of the exceptionally gifted, tall player. Namely: Bob Kruland, George Mikan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).

Goal Tending

In 1944 the goal tending rule was adopted making it illegal for a defensive player to touch the ball on its downward flight. This was in reaction to Bob Kurland (the first regular dunker) and George Mikan standing in front of basket and swatting practically every opponent shot attempt.

Offensive Basket Interference

In 1958 offensive basket interference was enacted. Mainly as a result of Bill Russell, who became known as the “Funneler” from using two hands to guide his teammates shots into the basket. Note: In international basketball, once the ball strikes the rim offensive basket interference and goal tending rules do not apply.

Dunking - “Alcindor” Rule

From 1967 to 1977, a no dunking rule was enacted in college basketball. The reasons given were to prevent basket damage and injuries. However, it was specifically aimed at stopping Lew Alcindor. Unable to dunk, Alcindor developed his unstoppable "Sky" hook.

Game Coaching

In 1949 coaching during game was officially allowed. Prior to this time, believe it or not, no coaching was allowed during the game or even during a timeout. However, coaching was allowed during half time.

Women's Basketball

Women’s basketball was introduced in 1893 by Sendra Berenson, a gymnastic instructor, at Smith College, Northampton, MA. No male spectators were allowed since it was socially unacceptable at the time. What some say was a result of a misinterpretation of Naismith's court diagram led to three zones sections with two players stationary in each section. In 1938, the three court sections where reduced to two, with two stationary guards, two stationary forwards, and two "rovers" that could move around the entire court. 

The first intercollegiate women’s game was played between Stanford and California in 1896. The first known interscholastic women’s high school game was played in Illinois that same year. In 1971 women were finally allowed to play full court. However, on the high school level in the state of Oklahoma, it was not until 1995 that girls' were allowed to play full court.

The first ever women’s national championship was conducted by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in 1936. FIBA held the first women’s world championship in 1969 and Louisiana Tech won the first NCAA championship in 1982. In 1995, Oklahoma was the last state to switch from court sections to full court play in high school games.

Perhaps the most important event to occur in women's basketball, as well as all women's sports, was the enactment of Title IX in 1972, equalizing men's and women's sports. Today, women’s basketball is played with the same enthusiasm and intensity as men’s basketball.

Next, take a look at the current basketball rules.