I've recently started playing basketball and was wondering about some of the comments made about this (pretty cool) NBA commercial featuring LeBron James. It looks like he takes 1 step after receiving the ball before dribbling it, is that considered to be a travel? I doubt the NBA would make a commercial showing a blatant violation so I'm assuming it's valid but want to know what the exact rule is.
You would think they wouldn't include a blatant violation, but they did. From the NBA Rules Section XIV:
f. In starting a dribble after (1) receiving the ball while standing still, or (2) coming to a legal stop, the ball must be out of the player's hand before the pivot foot is raised off the floor.
From listening to my friends who I would consider avid NBA fans, travelling and carrying seem to be the most common complaints where modern referees often ignore the written rules.
There's also some additional information regarding traveling in the 2011-12 NBA Rulebook:
a. A player who receives the ball while standing still may pivot, using either foot as the pivot foot.
b. A player who receives the ball while he is progressing or upon completion of a dribble, may take two steps in coming to a stop, passing or shooting the ball. A player who receives the ball while he is progressing must release the ball to start his dribble before his second step.
The first step occurs when a foot, or both feet, touch the floor after gaining control of the ball.
The second step occurs after the first step when the other foot touches the floor, or both feet touch the floor simultaneously.
A player who comes to a stop on step one when both feet are on the floor or touch the floor simultaneously may pivot using either foot as his pivot. If he jumps with both feet he must release the ball before either foot touches the floor.
A player who lands with one foot first may only pivot using that foot.
A progressing player who jumps off one foot on the first step may land with both feet simultaneously for the second step. In this situation, the player may not pivot with either foot and if one or both feet leave the floor the ball must be released before either returns to the floor.
Columnists have blasted the rule:
And while you’re at it, clean up traveling, too (the two-steps-and-bunny-hop is especially insulting to the memory of Dr. James).
-- Shaun Powell
So the rule specified in @Will Cole's answer conflicts somewhat with this one. According to this 2009 ESPN article, the league has generally instructed refs not to enforce the rule.