When any kid starts to learn to play or watch basketball, the rules of the game are the first step in understanding the game. For any basketball fan, learning the rules of the game may actually be the most interesting part. All of a sudden you are watching a game on TV at a young age and have no idea what is going on until you understand the rules and procedures. That is when young kids can first start appreciating the game we now know and love.
By now, those who are watching the NBA or ever had dreams of playing in the league at a young age now understand the basic rules of the sport. Not all rules are perfect or called correctly at times, but everyone has a basic understanding of what you can and cannot do on the court. Every sport has some unknown rules though, not silly unwritten rules that players should follow, but actual written rules that not many fans or players may know about. These are the types of things that some more than casual fans will know, but many people are left in the dark about some of the crazy rules and regulations the NBA has not only on the game itself, but players, coaches, and even the fans!
Here are 15 weird rules the NBA actually enforces!
15 Shattering The Backboard
Although it is much harder to do this nowadays, the NBA does have a rule in place if a player was to break the backboard after a dunk. Long gone are the days of Daryl Dawkins destroying innocent rims, though it could still happen in today's NBA. If this was to happen, the basket would not count and the player would be charged with an unsportsmanlike technical foul. The player may also be fined for the play, which would be determined on a case by case basis if it were to happen. The last time this was a problem was in 1993, on two separate occasions. The first being Shaquille O'Neal having the entire hoop be damaged after a slam, as well as Chris Morris cracking the backboard during the same year against the Chicago Bulls. The amount of times this rule has been enforced has gone down drastically with the invention of break-away rims and has not been an issue in quite some time.
14 No Logos, Except For Shoes
The NBA is changing their stance on logos more recently, allowing advertisers to have logos on the jerseys of players. Players on the other hand cannot endorse a brand or logo on any part of their clothing, or in Iman Shumpert's case, his hair. In 2013 Shumpert was attempting to sport the Adidas logo shaved into his head, but was told by the NBA it had to be removed. The next day, Shumpert posted a photo of the logo completely shaven off his hair, leaving a huge bald triangle spot instead. Item 5 of Section H of the NBA rule book's extended comments section, which governs "player/team conduct and dress", reads: "The only article bearing a commercial ‘logo’ which can be worn by players is their shoes." Years later, Shumpert was let go by the Adidas brand anyways.
13 Standing For The Anthem
This was not an issue until recently, but in order to avoid hysteryia about a trivial part of a sporting event, Adam Silver reminded players of a league rule that players must be standing during the national anthem. "It's been a rule as long as I've been involved with the league, and my expectation is that our players will continue to stand for the anthem," he said. No one knows what will happen if a player does choose to break this rule, and Adam Silver has came out and said that it would be handled on a case by case basis if it were to happen. The person who has been most vocal about opposing this rule is Kobe Bryant, who has repeatedly advocating for players to protest. If Bryant was still in the league, he would no doubt be kneeling according to the Mamba himself.
12 Six Players Loophole
What's the best way to score out of a timeout? Well, Nate McMillan believed it was to have six players out on the court. In a game between the Blazers and Celtics in 2008, this was the exact case. On this play, Portland has the extra advantage, and easily gets the quick bucket. A technical foul was called, but the referees could not do anything about the points on the possession in question. The rules stated that the points could not be taken off the board, but after this instance the rule was quickly changed over the following summer. After the play, Kevin Garnett can be seen vividly arguing the call, but it was no use. Looking back at it nine years later, this play could actually be the most impactful moment of Greg Oden's career, who assisted on the play.
11 No Double Zeros
There are very little restrictions on what type of numbers players can wear. As long as someone else on the team does not have the same number, and the number is not retired by a former player, then it is usually fair game. This is unlike the NCAA, where players are not allowed to choose 6,7,8 or 9 as their number. There is one case where a player cannot wear a certain number, and that concerns the number zero. A player can wear the number zero, or rock the double zero on his jersey, but teammates cannot have both numbers on the same team. This is due to the likelihood of a score keeper or referee making an error concerning one of those players. Imagine a player getting called for a foul in a crucial part of the game, and the referee signalling the wrong number, or a score keeper making an error earlier in the game and not recording the correct amount of fouls or stats.
10 Road Team Chooses Opening Basket
The jump ball is the obvious start to a basketball game, but there is something vital that happens before the opening tip. Teams need to figure out which basket they will be starting at, and it is the visiting teams decision that sets the tone for the rest of the game. This normally occurs before any television coverage of the game during pre-game shoot around. This seems unimportant, but there is a small amount of strategy that comes into play with this choice. Would coaches rather have their players go towards their bench so players can hear them clearly at the start of the game and set the tone, or rather opt to have players be near them for late game instructions? It seems like most coaches choose to have players go towards the opposing bench at the start of the game, in order to relay information easier during crunch time.
9 Ten Second Violation
This rule is not the amount of time players have to get across half court, which was changed to eight, but rather the amount of time a player can take to do their free throw routine and shoot. Maybe one of the most known rules on this list, but it is violated sparingly. Karl Malone became famous for taking forever to put up his shot from the charity stripe, so much so that opposing crowds would assist the referee and count to ten during the attempt. The most notable player in this day and age to struggle with this was Dwight Howard, who routinely had close calls getting up his shot within ten seconds. It doesn't look like the extra time helped his free throw shot at all, as he has struggled throughout his career. MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo was the last player to be called for this violation in 2016, and has since shortened his routine after a phone call from the NBA.
8 No Punches
Of course players can't punch other players, or in Kelly Oubre's case your own players, but they also cannot punch the ball. A closed fist while hitting the ball is illegal, and will result in a turnover. This is for a couple reasons. One being the unpredictability of a ball that is punched. It is more errant and could be a risk to fans. Imagine a player diving for a loose ball, jumping into the bench or court side seats with a closed fist and hitting the ball into a fan, or hitting the fan in general. The NBA tries to keep fans as safe as possible, and this is just another measure in doing so. It would also make the game much more violent, as some players may react quickly if they see another supreme athlete running at them with a closed fist to poke the ball away, and completely miss them. It would be pretty cool to see a player do this while saving a ball out of bounds though.
7 Mandatory Rest
The NBA is attempting to protect their players as much as possible. The extended schedule this season has allowed players to have less backs to backs and a more lenient travel schedule. Another thing the NBA has put in place, according to a CNN article posted this year, is that NBA players must have 18 days of mandatory rest. This is basically a limit on the amount of practices NBA teams can have over the course of the season. Teams are not allowed to over work their players to an extent, and this rule is in place to make sure. The NBA's recent actions have gone against there beliefs on protecting player's health though, as Adam Silver is attempting to crack down on teams resting star players during national televised games.
6 Out Of Bounds Screens
The screen is a staple in basketball. Every single night during the NBA season players are constantly setting screens to free up teammates, but there is a place you will not see a screen. That is out of bounds. To explain, a player cannot have his foot off the court while setting a screen, as well as a player not being allowed to run out of bounds while receiving a screen. This is ironically an out of bounds violation as opposed to being a type of foul. NBA.com does a perfect job explaining this rule with an example of Hasheem Thabeet attempting to free Kevin Durant with an illegal screen where he is out of bounds on the baseline. This could also be an example of a safety hazard, as NBA players would be running out of bounds coming off screens where fans and camera crews could easily be in the way.
5 No Timberlands
David Stern's 2005 dress code reform, as a direct result of "The Malice in the Palace", was outrageously strict on what players could wear in a business environment. One of the most confusing bans from the commissioner was the rule that players could not wear Timberland style boots while in the eyes of NBA fans. “There are different uniforms for different occasions. There’s the uniform you wear on the court, there’s the uniform you wear when you are on business, there’s the uniform you might wear on your casual downtime with your friends and there’s the uniform you might wear when you go back home. We’re just changing the definition of the uniform that you wear when you are on NBA business", Stern said during a press conference regarding the new policies.
4 Off The Bounce Shot As Time Expires
There is no known instance of this happening in NBA history, but it is possible according to the rule books. If a player throws up a prayer from full court with time winding down and the ball happens to bounce off the ground into the basket, should it count? If the buzzer goes off before the ball hits the ground, that is considered a dead ball and the shot attempted ended the moment the ball landed. If the ball bounces on the ground before the buzzer however, the player who attempted the shot should be considered the greatest H.O.R.S.E player of all time for the insane legal shot. Again, there is no known play in which this has happened, as the time usually expires while a full court shot is airborne. If a player were to knowingly attempt this, and fail, there is no doubt Shaquille O'Neal would have some input on the play.
3 Anti Lebron Shirts Banned
After Lebron set the NBA world on fire with "The Decision", and after fans set fire to his jersey, many NBA fans were disgruntled. Anti-Lebron campaigns swept the nation, and the NBA did what they could to crack down on angry fans with hateful messages. Security during Maimi Heat road games were instructed to look for shirts or posters that had any vulgarity or strong words aimed at Lebron. A couple of security guards were not going to stop NBA fans from attempting to get the last laugh on Lebron James, as many fans were able to sneak in some classic anti Lebron jabs via shirts or posters. The NBA attempted to crackdown on this even more during the Heat's first game in Cleveland post decision, but failed miserably as many fans had vulgar things to say with their clothing,
2 Banned Shoes (Besides Air Jordan 1)
There are not many shoes made for basketball that receive the ban hammer from the NBA. Players can wear shoes from brands that aren't from huge companies, with proof being C.J. McCollum's recent signing with Chinese company Li-Ning. Athletic Propulsion Labs Concept One shoe is an example of one of the few pieces of athletic footwear that is not allowed. This is because of the companies "Lock N' Load" technology that supposedly gives those wearing the shoes an increased vertical. The league claimed that if players wore these shoes, they would have an unfair competitive advantage due to the technology. The company is not mad at the league whatsoever, as the exposure from the ban actually propelled business way more than owners Ryan and Adam Goldston could have ever imagined in such a quick time.
1 Disaster Draft
This is by far the craziest written rule the NBA will ever have, and it is rather genius. If a tragic accident were to happen in which five or more players from a team were to die, an emergency disaster draft would be held. Each of the other teams would only be allowed to protect five players, and the team affected by the disaster would be able to draft from the pool leftover from the teams. This is sort of the expansion style type draft, but with far less players protected by the other teams due to the severity of the situation. The fact that the NBA has a contingency plan if this were to happen is crazy, and hopefully will never have to be enacted. This rule was put in place due to the almost catastrophe of the 1960's Lakers, were ten players almost died in a heavy snow storm. The pilot was able to somehow land in the middle of a cornfield, avoided a complete disaster, as well as the first disaster draft.