Basketball Rules for a Jump Ball

Basketball jump ball

The jump ball has been a part of every basketball game since the creation of the sport by Dr. James Naismith in 1891. Over time some of the jump ball rules have changed; however, the one that still remains in place is when and where the game-starting jump occurs.

When, Where and Who

  • The start of the game
  • The start of each over time period
  • When the ball is possessed by two players at the same time
  • Two opposing players stand inside the circle, and each one faces the basket where his team will attempt to score

Jump-Ball Rules

  • Jumpers must have both feet inside the circle
  • Jumpers are not allowed to touch or tap the ball until it has reached its peak

The ball is automatically awarded to the opposing team if:

  1. A jumper taps the ball twice
  2. A jumper leaves his half of the circle before the ball has been tapped
  3. A jumper taps the ball to himself

If neither jumper taps the ball and it falls on the floor, the jump is repeated.

Other Situations

In the NBA, other situations can also lead to a jump ball:

  • A double foul during a loose ball
  • A ball gets lodged between the rim and the backboard
  • The ball goes out of bounds and the official is not sure which player touched the ball last

NCAA Alternate Possession Arrow

The NCAA uses a possession arrow instead of a jump ball to determine which team gains possession after a violation or a possession situation. Teams alternate possession depending on which direction the arrow points.