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Basketball Instruction/Dribbling between an opponent's legs question


1) Why is it legal to bounce a basketball between an opponent's legs? Shouldn't this be considered carrying the ball, especially if the ball doesn't touch the opponent and bounces more than once? 2) Furthermore, if contact is made while the dribbler bounces the ball through the legs, wouldn't the onus of any resulting foul be against the dribbler and not the defender? 3) Finally, even if dribbling between an opponent's leg is legal, what is the best way to defend this move, esp when tasked with defending a ball handler very closely? Many thanks!


There is nothing illegal about bouncing a ball in between the defender's legs. It can't be carrying the ball because the ball handler no longer has possession.

As far as contact being made, it depends on who initiated the contact, if the defender was in legal guarding position(2 feet on the floor facing the opponent) or if the offensive player illegally contacted the defender. There are many scenarios that can play out. Your question is a bit vague. I would need a specific play in order to answer whether or not it's legal or illegal contact.

As far as defending it, not really sure. I'm not a coach. That's a question more fitting to someone who coaches defense.

If you have a more specific play in mind, it might be easier for me to give a more precise answer.

thanks for your questions.  

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Bret Temple


My expertise is in the craft of Officiating Basketball and I can answer questions pertaining to basketball rules; youth level through CIF High School, NCAA college and NBA rules as well. I can either help define a specific rule for you, or interpret a specific rule to clarify how other officials and I view and call the game.


I have been a Basketball Official now for over 19 years, officiating at all levels. I have attended numerous training camps throughout the years in an attempt to constantly become a better official. I have been evaluated by top Officiating organizations and Assignors, and I've had the fortunate experience to officiate former Division 1 and NBA players.

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