Northern Coast Officials

Gerry Davis
Officials Outlet
D1 Sports Apparel
Black and Blue Ump Camp

Basketball - Myths or Facts of the Game

Due to time, TV announcers and mis-informed fans, many myths of the game need to be cleared up.

Knowledge is power!
A little knowledge is dangerous.
All knowledge is wisdom.
Let’s clear up some myths…

Myth or Fact

1. During a throw-in, the player making a throw-in moves their pivot foot – this is traveling.


Myth - Travel rules are NOT in effect during a throw-in

Myth or Fact

2. A player dives for a loose ball, games control of the ball and slides about 10 feet before coming to a stop – this is traveling.


Myth - A player is allowed to dive and slide to get the ball. Once on the floor the player may pass, shoot, start a dribble or call a time-out. Once the player has the ball and is no longer sliding, he/she may not roll over. If flat on his/her back, the player may sit up without violating. Any attempt to get to the feet is traveling unless player is dribbling. It is also traveling if player puts the ball on the floor, then rises and is first to touch the ball. (4-44-5b).

Myth or Fact

3. A player cannot dribble a ball no higher than their waist, otherwise they will be called for a “high dribble” violation.


Myth - There is no dribble height limit. Just cause it looks ugly does not make it illegal.

Myth or Fact

4.  A hard thrown ball is stopped by a player and the ball bounces to the floor.  This same player grabs the ball and then starts dribbling.  Perfectly legal.


Myth - Dribbling starts when a player in control of the ball intentionally strikes the ball with the hand(s) or pushes the ball to the floor once or several times.

Myth or Fact

5.  When the ball is loose on the floors and players are going for it.  Officials should primarily look to call a jump quickly.


Myth - Officials should make sure there is no illegal contact first.

Myth or Fact

6.  Slapping the net while the ball is in the air during a try for goal is always basket interference.


Myth - A player can touch the net as long as the ball is not on the rim or with in the cylindar in the rim. See Basket Interference and Goaltending.

Myth or Fact

7.  Slapping the back board is always a technical foul.


Myth - If a player is making a legal attempt to block the ball and makes contact with the backboard it is ok.

Myth or Fact

8.  During a throw-in an inbounds player while airborne catches the ball is allowed to land with a foot in the front court first then a foot in the back court without a back court violation being called.


Fact - An airborne player during a throw-in does not have court status. An airborne player after catching the ball is allowed to land with both feet before having court status.

Myth or Fact

9.  There is a penalty for “moving screens”.


Myth - No contact equals no penalty.

Myth or Fact

10.  “Reaching in” is legal.


Fact! - According to rule 4-24-2 on page 35 of the rule book "It is LEGAL use of hands to reach to block or slap the ball controlled by a dribbler or a player throwing for goal or a player holding it and accidentally hitting the hand of the opponent when it is in contact with the ball."

Myth or Fact

11.  If a defender is moving when contact occurs the defender should be called for a foul.


Myth - If a defender obtains legal guarding position they can move. If contact occurs in the defenders torso, the opponents is responsible for the contact

Myth or Fact

12.  If a defender has his/her arms straight up above their head and the shooter makes contact with this defender a foul should be called on the defender.


Myth - If a defender had legal position then the defender is not responsible for the contact. Principle of verticality. Spot ownership.

Myth or Fact

13.  An airborne player has the right to come down to any spot on the floor even if the defender got to the spot first prior to the player going airborne.


Myth - Offense Has a Right to a Spot. So does the defense. He/she who gets to the spot first legally, owns it!!

Myth or Fact

14.  Officials should wait until the game is getting too rough to start calling fouls.


Myth - Officials should set the tone early on what is going to be called. It is better to start tight and make the players play basketball then to try to get control when it is too late.

Myth or Fact

15.  A 6’5” player reaches over a 5’6” player to grab a rebound without making contact.  A “over-the-back” foul should be called.


Myth - No contact equals no foul.

Myth or Fact

16.  A player is standing on the floor while attempting a shot is fouled, will not be awarded free throws because he/she “was on the floor” at time of contact.


Myth - Continuous motion applies to NBA, College AND High School basketball. Once a player STARTS any motion to shoot the ball they are allowed to complete that action whether on the floor or in the air. DO NOT reward the defensive foul by not awarding points and/or free throws on a player who has just started a try for goal. If the foul occured clearly before the shot began, the official should use "before the shot" terminology, not "on the floor".

Myth or Fact

17.  An official hustling throughout the game to be in position will increase the chance that the official will get the call right.


Fact - Working hard to get angles and get into position will greatly increase the officials chance of getting the call right.

Myth or Fact

18. Coaches, players and fans don’t know the rules as well as officials that is one of the major reasons officials get yelled at during games.


Fact - Officials are better educated on the rules these days. Many coaches have admitted to me that they have never opened the rule book.