The Weirdest Rules in Basketball


Photo taken from Unsplash by Markus Spiske.

Carson Beasley, Staff Columnist

There are rules in all sports. Without them, you would just be throwing around a ball with no competitive attempt at all. Some rules have existed for years, some are quite new, some are needed to play, and others barely get noticed without actual research. One of the more fun parts to figure out is the weirdest rules in basketball (of which there are many).

One of the most iconic moments in basketball are backboard breaks.

Since NBA games use a traditional glass backboard, they occasionally break and shatter in iconic shots or dunks that are often remembered for years.

Famously, Shaquille O’ Neil shattered backboards so often, the NBA was forced to redesign the backboard itself and implement rules to not give points for shots that break the backboard, on top of receiving a technical foul and potentially a fine for the player.

This goes to show that many rule changes occur simply because new players burst onto the scene and change it forever.

Other rules have existed for decades, such as the 10-second free throw rule. A common tactic for free throws is to calm down and take your time, but this can lead to a too slow-paced shooter to lose out on their extra point. Even today, many players get caught out by this rarely seen rule, such as Giannis Antetokuonmpo who was marked for many violations of this rule during the 2021 playoffs.

And, finally, some rules are so weird you think they should just be common sense. Take, for example, the rule about scoring on your own team’s basket. In FIBA and NBA leagues, it is fully illegal, even more so when it is done with intent. In 2009, New York Knicks point guard Nate Robinson tried to shoot on his own team’s basket during an NBA game before the buzzer sounded, which led to the basket not being counted and a turnover being given to the opposing team.

What weird rules could possibly exist at the high school level?