The 13 Original Rules Of Basketball 2023

The 13 Original Rules Of Basketball

The 13 Original Rules Of Basketball

When Dr. James Naismith invented basketball in 1891, he essentially had to create the rules of the game from scratch. Although he took inspiration from many other sports of the time, he was determined to establish an entirely new sport with an entirely new set of rules to match.

Here are the 13 original rules of basketball as written by James Naismith in December 1891:

  1. The ball may be thrown in any direction using one or both hands.
  2. The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands, but never with the fist.
  3. A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot where he catches it from. Players are allowed a step or two in any direction before throwing the ball.
  4. The ball must be held in or between the hands. No other part of the body‒including the arms‒can be used for holding it.
  5. Shouldering, holding, pushing, striking, or tripping an opponent in any way is not allowed.

    The first violation of this rule by any player counts as a foul; the second offense disqualifies the player until the next goal is made.

    If the offense is deemed intentional as a means to injure the other player, the offender is disqualified for the rest of the game. No substitutions are allowed in such cases.
  6. Striking at the ball with the fist, violations of Rules 3, 4, and 5 all constitute fouls.
  7. If either side makes three consecutive fouls, a goal will be awarded to the opposing team. “Consecutive” in this case means that the opposing has not committed a foul in the meantime.
  8. A goal is made when the ball is thrown or batted from the playing court into the basket and remains there, provided the defending players do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edges and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal.
  9. When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field and played by the first person touching it. In case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the field.

    The player throwing in the ball is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer, possession goes to the opposing team. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire will call a foul against that team.
  10. The umpire is the sole judge of the players. It is his responsibility to note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He has the authority to disqualify players according to Rule 5.
  11. The referee judges the ball and decides when the ball is in play, in bounds, and to which side it belongs. It is also his responsibility to keep the time.

    The referee decides when a goal has been made and keeps count of the goals, along with other duties typically assigned to a referee.
  12. The game is divided into two fifteen-minute halves, with five minutes’ rest in between.
  13. The team that has made the most goals in that time wins the game. In case of a draw, the game may be continued until another goal is made with the agreement of the team captains.

Are the 13 Original Rules of Basketball Still Used Today?

The 13 Original Rules Of Basketball 2023

The essence of the 13 original rules of basketball still applies today. However, many of them have been revised or expanded upon over time. 

For example, the original rules did not include a provision for a player to dribble the ball, which is now a fundamental part of the game.

Since the first game of basketball in 1891, the rules have been continually revised and updated to adapt to changes in the game and to address safety concerns. 

Today, the official rules of basketball are governed by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), among others, and include a range of specifications for gameplay, equipment, and player conduct.

Nevertheless, the 13 original rules of basketball are still recognized as a pivotal moment in the history of the sport. Consequently, they are still sometimes used in exhibitions or special events to commemorate the origins of basketball.


What are the basic rules of basketball?

The basic rules of basketball include two teams of five players each, with the objective of shooting the ball through the opposing team’s basket to score points. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

What is the duration of a basketball game?

A basketball game is typically divided into four quarters, each lasting 12 minutes. However, the duration can vary depending on the level of competition and the rules of the league or organization.

What happens if the ball goes out of bounds?

If the ball goes out of bounds, possession is awarded to the opposing team. The ball is then inbounded from the sideline or baseline.

What is a foul in basketball?

A foul is a violation of the rules that results in a player being penalized. Fouls can include actions such as pushing, tripping, or holding an opponent. If a player commits too many fouls, they may be ejected from the game.

What is a traveling violation?

A traveling violation occurs when a player takes more than two steps without dribbling the ball. This is a violation of the rules and results in a turnover, with possession awarded to the opposing team.

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