Basketball Rules for the Laymen

Basketball is a sport that involves two teams of five players each. The goal is to get the ball into your opponent’s basket. Basketball has been around for some time and has evolved quite a bit since its inception. That’s why so many rules govern how it’s played and what you can do while playing it. Here are some of those basketball rules:

The game consists of two teams of five players each

At first glance, basketball rules are pretty straightforward.


Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, each of five players, compete on a rectangular court with baskets at each end. The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter and 10 feet (3.048 m) high mounted to a backboard at each end. 


A team can score a field goal by shooting the ball through the basket during regular play or passing it to a teammate, who then shoots before time expires. Players can rebound or “tap” missed shots back into the playing area using their hands or arms.


The game was created by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, in 1891, using peach baskets as hoops and soccer balls as balls. 


It soon gained popularity among college coaches and various athletic clubs because of its simple rules, lack of specialized skills required for play, relatively short time required to play out an entire game, the potential for physical contact between opposing players, and the ability for players from any size or shape body type to participate equally well.

A team has 24 seconds to get a shot 

According to NBA basketball rules, a team has 24 seconds to get a shot off before the referee blows his whistle and awards the ball to the opposing team. 


This is known as “calling” or “cutting off” the 24-second clock. The clock stops when an offensive player holds onto the ball for more than six seconds to pass it to another teammate or wait for another offensive player to enter into play.


A player can dribble the ball only once every time he moves both of his feet. A player can dribble the ball in any direction but cannot carry it. The ball must be held with two hands when dribbling.

A player has ten seconds to get the ball across mid-court

If a player has the ball and does not cross mid-court within 10 seconds, then play stops, and possession of the ball is awarded to the opposing team. A player possessing the basketball can pass it off to a teammate closer to their goal than they are. You can dribble or run with the ball across mid-court if no one on your team is near you. You cannot shoot immediately after crossing over into your opponent’s half of the court (unless there are less than 4 seconds left on the shot clock).

A player can touch the ball twice when he is dribbling it.

A player can touch the ball twice when dribbling it, but only if they touch it with one hand. If they use both hands on the ball, they will have committed a violation, and their team will be penalized. The ball has to go out of bounds, or you must pass it before you can touch it again.

A player can score more than two points for any basket he makes.


Basketball is a fun and exciting game to watch as well as play. With its fast-paced action, it’s no wonder why so many people are drawn to it. If you’re looking for more information about how this sport works, hopefully, these basketball rules have helped clarify things for you!