Several years ago I was playing in an adult basketball league and a player took a bad shot that entered through the bottom of the hoop, hit the backboard and re-entered the hoop. The referee counted the bucket.

Last week at an open gym had the same thing happen, so I'm curious about the official rule at various levels.

I've seen a few things online, the most prevalent is that it is a dead ball just as if it went out of bounds (belongs to the team who didn't touch it last). However, there is nobody justifying this with a rule.

The way the official scoring rules read I could argue that it is a basket since they only state that it must enter from above the rim. In this case, it eventually does.


1 Answer 1


You are correct in your "most prevalent" observation. A ball that enters the basket from below is whistled dead and a change of possession occurs.

The NCAA and FIBA see it as a violation.

This is addressed for the FIBA in its rule book under "THE GAME": Rule 1, Article 16, 2.4 (certain emphasis added)


Art. 16 Goal: When made and its value

16.2.4 If a player causes the entire ball to pass through the basket from below, it is a violation.

The FIBA's definition and handling of violations.


Art. 22 Violations

22.1 Definition - A violation is an infraction of the rules.

22.2 Penalty - The ball shall be awarded to the opponents for a throw-in at the place nearest to the infraction

This is addressed for the NCAA in its rule book under "VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES": Rule 9, Section 6


Section 6. Travel, Kick, Fist, Through Basket from Below

A player shall not travel or run with the ball, intentionally kick it, strike it with the fist or cause it to pass through the basket and enter the cylinder from below.

This is addressed for the NBA in its rule book under "PUTTING BALL IN PLAY - LIVE/DEAD BALL": Rule 6, Section I, e(2).


Section I—Start of Games/Periods and Others

e. On the following infractions, the ball shall be awarded to the opposing team out-of-bounds on the nearest sideline at the free throw line extended:

(1) Three-seconds (offensive)

(2) Ball entering basket from below

(3) Illegal assist in scoring

(4) Offensive screen set out-of-bounds

(5) Punching foul

(6) Free throw violation by the offensive team

(7) Flagrant foul-penalty (1) or (2)

(8) Defensive three-seconds (offensive team retains possession)

(9) Jump ball violation at free throw circle

(10) Ball passing directly behind backboard

(11) Offensive basket interference

(12) Ball hitting horizontal basket support

(13) Loose ball fouls which occur inside the free throw line extended

(14) Five second back-to-the-basket violation

  • 1
    +1.. FIBA has the same ruling, although is pointed out in the point section of the rules, and is call a violation.
    – gbianchi
    Sep 28, 2012 at 16:39
  • Gotcha. I was looking at NCAA as well....trying to cover all bases. Thanks @gbianchi.
    – user527
    Sep 28, 2012 at 16:41

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