Each and every sport is governed by rules and regulations and basketball is no different.  This covers play, game officials, equipment and procedures.  Most leagues, including the National Basketball Association, are governed by their own basketball rules.  However, the basic basketball rules are the same regardless of league. Basketball is a team sport that is played by two teams with five players each.  Each team tries to outscore the other team by using skills and avoiding any violations.

List of Basketball Rules


  • 2 points – awarded for shots made from anywhere inside the 3-point arc.
  • 3 points – awarded for shots made from anywhere outside the 3-point arc.
  • 1 point – awarded for free throw shots taken behind the free-throw line.


  • Boxing-out – a method of positioning that a player takes to gain a better rebounding position.
  • Dribbling – a method of bouncing the ball with the fingers of one hand and allow it to rebound back to your fingers.
  • Passing – a method of moving the ball to another teammate through bouncing or throwing.
  • Pivoting – a method of moving in multiple directions with one foot while the other foot remains at its initial point.
  • Rebounding – a method of jumping to recover missed shots that bounces off the rim or backboard.
  • Shooting – a method of throwing the ball into the hoop to make a basket.

Fouls:  (this can result in free throws being awarded to the opposing team.)

  • Blocking – a manner of stopping the opponent by using one or both hands or getting in the way of a moving player.
  • Charging – a manner of bumping a stationary player while in possession of the ball.
  • Hacking – a manner of hitting the arm or hand of the person that is currently in possession of the ball.
  • Holding – a manner of seizing a person that is with or without the ball.

Violations: (this can result in the change of ball possession)

  • Traveling – this occurs when a player makes more than three steps while holding the ball.
  • 3-seconds – this occurs when an offensive players stays within the free throw lane for more than 3 seconds.
  • Double dribble – this occurs when a player dribbles the ball with both hands or it can also occur after they stopped dribbling and starts to dribble again.


  • Air ball – this is a shot that does not make it to the rim or backboard.
  • Assist – a pass that results in a field goal.
  • Defense – the team that prevents the other team from scoring.
  • Dunk – a scoring position that ultimately slams the ball to the basket with one or both hands touching the rim.
  • Fast break – a scoring opportunity where the ball is passed towards the basket before the opponents can set defense.
  • Man-to-man – a defensive move where a player guards a designated player.
  • Offense – the team that tries to score goals.
  • Turn over – loss of ball possession without any shots being taken.
  • Zone defense – a defensive strategy where the defensive players guard an area instead of the offensive players.