If player A has control of the basketball and begins his two-step run at a lay-up within the painted area, and Player B (defender) slaps the basketball hard as Player A goes by, is this a foul by Player B?

Player A argues that the hard slap "impedes his progress/path" and is always a foul "unless the ball is stripped completely." Player B argues that contact was "all ball" and therefore should not be a foul.

What are the rules on this? NBA? FIBA?


In FIBA it is not a foul to play the ball with an open palm. If you make only contact with the ball there is no foul. If you also make contact with the player before or after contacting the ball a foul situation arises.

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In my interpretation of the rules, this situation is not a personal foul.

I believe the rule in question is the following:

B. Personal Foul

Section I—Types

A player shall not hold, push, charge into, impede the progress of an opponent by extending a hand, arm, leg or knee or by bending the body into a position that is not normal. Contact that results in the re-routing of an opponent is a foul which must be called immediately.

Contact initiated by the defensive player guarding a player with the ball is not legal. This contact includes, but is not limited to, forearm, hands, or body check.


I can see Player A's point about "impeding the progress of an opponent" but if Player B did not make any contact with Player A and Player A was not "re-routed" from his original path to the basket, this is a legal contact with the ball.

Here are a few other Sports.SE questions that are related.

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No it is not a foul and is not even in discussion for being a foul with anyone with even beginner's level of basketball aptitude - across all levels and basketball leagues. There is no rule to point to because there are only rules for fouls and this clearly isn't. Smacking the basketball is not a foul - ever - unless it is done with a closed fist or leg/foot. Since you did not insinuate those things I will not bother people with the rules for those.

If you want to think about it this way. When you smack a basketball, the ball is just as much yours as your opponents while you are in contact with the ball. And your opponent using your thought process would be impeding your smack by holding onto the ball tight (your thought process is wrong just giving you an example).

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  • 1
    why did someone -1 this answer ? – phil soady Jan 2 at 3:16
  • 1
    @philsoady - I mean honestly? Because there are like 10 guys on this site who are SE "drones" with ZERO sports knowledge and downvote anything that doesn't have an annotation, especially from me - someone who doesn't have to look up basic rules. But they will upvote wrong answers with a quote. Maybe this needs to be in meta - but this SE site voting wise is a bit of a joke. There are wrong answers everywhere upvoted and accepted. – Coach-D Jan 2 at 22:35
  • Sorry for drawing attention to it Coach-D. Seems that has triggered some foIk here. I actually like your answers (Im FIBA ref) If people down vote, ok thats their right. However it would be nice to see them say why at least. – phil soady Jan 3 at 11:11
  • You can't cite a rule when you're asserting that a play is LEGAL. There are only rules for what is prohibited, which Coach-D points out in the statement that you can't smack the ball with a closed fist or leg/foot. I don't think that statement needs citation. This answer deserves the checkmark. Somehow, it has -2, net downvoted. Absurd. – Tom Mercer Feb 13 at 16:04

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