Is Palming The Ball In Basketball Illegal?

Watching a basketball game and witnessing something that doesn’t seem right? Or you may be looking for a new sport to support.

Basketball is a fun and exciting sport in which many come together to support. Enjoyed by adults and children alike, the sport offers a sense of community.

Is Palming the Ball in Basketball Illegal

With stars such as LeBron James and Michael Jordan evolving the sport into what it is today, it’s no wonder everyone gathers to watch the NBA season in its entirety! 

Whilst the sport overall is energetic, sometimes the rules are not as clear. With many questioning the difference between palming and carrying?

This clear guide tells you everything you need to know about palming the ball during basketball. You’ll never be wondering why the ref passed a carry one time but whistled the next!

What Is Palming The Ball?

Palming the ball is a technique used to grip underneath the ball with one hand whilst dribbling. This is a technique which is often used low to the court during an offensive play.

Palming the ball regularly results in a turnover, when the team loses the ball to the opposing team. 

Palming the ball is more common among younger players of the sport as it mainly occurs whilst attempting to perform a crossover.

Whilst the technique can be useful in learning to dribble the ball down the court and to perform crossovers, it is commonly stated that the technique is counterproductive within refereed games. 

Whilst all players are taught not to palm the ball, sometimes the act happens automatically. In this case, players should still be called for their mistakes in order to learn. However, often it is ignored. 

Is Palming The Ball Carrying? 

Palming is a type of carrying technique. As the player grips the ball from underneath in order to slow the dribbling speed, they prevent gravity from assisting in carrying the ball.

Touching any part of the ball below the midpoint is considered palming the ball as the player’s hand stops gravity from interfering. 

In order to avoid this form of carrying, many players slide their hand to one side of the ball. This provides the player with more control over the speed and direction of the ball.

Another form of carrying is when players push the ball upward. In this case the player cannot continue moving or dribbling down the court.

Continuing to dribble down the court, or simply move their feet whilst pushing the ball upwards is considered carrying and is not acceptable on the court. 

 However, there has been speculation over whether NBA basketball players are allowed to carry, a technique often frowned upon.

This is due to the limited amount of times that NBA players partake in palming the ball or carrying. NBA players, whilst being known for their exceptional skills, are also known for their large hands.

This allows them to control the ball without touching below the midpoint or having to grab the ball from underneath. 

Although, if the player does happen to palm the ball or carry the ball, it is often done so quickly that the ref may miss or not call it in order to avoid interrupting the game. 

Is Palming the Ball in Basketball Illegal (1)

Consequences Of Palming The Basketball

Like in most sports, the act of performing a technique against the rules is often called by the ref and consequences are given in accordance. For example, in football if a player performs a false start the entire team will be punished with a five yard penalty. 

In basketball if a player is called for palming the ball or carrying the ball, the game will be interrupted and the ball given to the opposing team.

This results in the team losing an opportunity to score more points and may decrease their chance of winning. If a player consistently palms or carries the ball they may be taken off the court and “benched” for part or the remaining time of the game. 

Whilst palming the ball may be done automatically or accidentally whilst performing a crossover, players are advised to avoid the act.

In order to prevent players carrying the ball, coaches teach their players that only their fingertips and finger pads should be touching the ball.

Often telling players that they should be able to see daylight through the gap of their palm and the ball. Unless shooting of course. 

Why Is It Illegal To Palm The Ball?

Whilst it may seem like no big deal in the grand scheme of dribbling the ball. Palming the ball is considered a violation in basketball as it provides the ball handler with an unfair advantage over their opponent.

As the ball handler is essentially balancing the ball on their palm they are providing with more control and hold over the ball whilst dribbling or performing a cross-over. 

How To Prevent Palming Of The Ball

As palming or carrying of the ball is often seen in youth basketball players, the act can be unlearned from their skill set. 

With practice over dribbling and completing crossovers, players will gain more skill and confidence in controlling the ball. Overtime the act of palming the ball will decrease and stop the infractions occurring during games. 

Final Thoughts

Is palming the ball illegal in Basketball?

Whilst often not called or whistled by the referee, palming the ball is illegal in basketball. As mentioned above palming the ball or carrying occurs more often than it is called out.

This is due to the entertainment factor of the sport and the ref not wanting to continuously interrupt for such a minor transgression. 

However, when a player consistently palms the ball from below, the referee will blow the whistle and make the necessary changes. Whether that’s benching the player in question or making a penalty turnover. 

Recently palming the ball  has become more popular to be ignored during NBA games with fans beginning to notice.

With NBA players being highly skilled the act is often not required and is performed accidentally when performing a crossover or throwing off an opponent. 

Overall, performing a carry or palming the ball is not acceptable on the basketball court. 

Steven Anderson