Basketball Rules: Double Dribble

Basketball Rules: Double Dribble

The National Basketball Association rules prohibit players from beginning a second dribble after they have voluntarily ended the first. The phrase “double dribble” describes the violation of this rule.

Double Dribble Definition

Once a player picks up his dribble by catching the ball with both hands, he must pass it or shoot it. The player cannot begin a second dribble after ending the first. If he begins a second dribble after voluntarily ending the first, he commits a ​double dribble​ violation.

Legal Second Dribble

A player may begin a second dribble if:

  1. He ended his first dribble to shoot, and the shot hits the rim or backboard and he gets it back
  2. He lost control of the first dribble due to a defender touching the ball
  3. Another player touched the ball as a result of his own pass or fumble


If a player begins a second dribble illegally, the referee will call a 'double dribbling' violation and that player’s team will lose possession of the ball. The opposing team will gain possession of the ball at the sideline nearest the violation but no closer to the baseline than the foul line extended.