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4 Really Obscure (But Really Real) Pro Basketball Rules

December 15, 2014

Following our recap of weird football rules, here are some weird basketball rules.

Weird Basketball RulesShattered

If a player dunks the ball with such force that they shatter the backboard, it’s a spectacular sight and fans might love it, but in the NBA rules it’s considered “unsportsmanlike conduct” and it warrants a technical foul.

Wrong side

If during the jump ball that begins a game, players must make sure that they are lined up on the correct side, facing the basket they’re supposed to score on. If the teams line up on the wrong sides and it’s noticed within 24 seconds, the game has to start over again.


In an NBA game, a team gets six timeouts, four of which must be used. (It’s reportedly so TV networks airing the games get enough chances for revenue-generating commercial breaks.) They even have to save some for the fourth quarter. If they don’t, the refs will call one for them, and they’ll receive a technical foul.

The Sixth Man

There was once a rule on the books that allowed the normally five-man NBA squad to field six players at once. The trick? Being sneaky. Teams could send six men onto the court and score. If the referees didn’t notice before the points were scores, the points would stand, although the other team would get to take a free throw.

For more basketball trivia read Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Sports Spectacular.

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