This is totally off-topic but I just had to get this off my chest. I play a lot of basketball. I also used to ref for 5 years. It never ceases to amaze me how many people think that it is illegal to catch your own airball if it was a legitimate shot attempt. I bet you didn’t know that did you? I hate it and I’m here to dispell what I call the biggest myth in basketball.
We’ve all grown up playing playground basketball thinking that if you airball a shot you can’t touch the ball again mainly due to the NBA. The NBA is the only league in the world in which this is a true violation. Not in the NCAA, not in Junior College, not in Intramural Sports, not in High School, not in City Leagues and certainly not Streetball! So the next time you’re out on the courts, educate all those haters. Catching your own airball is not travelling nor is it illegal!
http://www.dallasref.com/pdf_files/most_misunderstood_basketball_rules.pdf – (#7)
http://www.longislandbasketball.com/AskTheRef2.html – (Last question at the bottom of the page)
what if the ball touches the ground, and you retrieve it. Is it a foul?
no, that’s not a foul. it’s a loose ball. 🙂
Great point Henry! I just tried to explain this rule during a pickup game. I even argued with guys on my team! Can you point me to some “official” rules so I can print them out and rub it in?
yea, but it is a violation in THE professional league, which is what most people watch. In addition how do you determine what is a legitimate shot attempt, and not some globetrotter circus type move. You need a ref, and there is no ref in street ball. It leaves too much room for subjective decisions. So I say once the ball leaves your hands after shot, pass or just losing the ball altogether you cant touch it unless it hits rim or backboard or another player, or else it’s a travel.
If you can’t determine whether or not a shot was a legitimate shot attempt, you should watch more basketball. 🙂
Every violation is subjective if the rules aren’t well understood. How many times do you see guys carrying the ball trying to bust an And1 move?
which should be the only rules you think about as it is the highest level
State that a player who attempts a field goal may not be the first to touch the ball if it fails to touch the backboard, basket ring or another player..
THEREFORE YOU ARE WRONG.
Does that mean you’ll be calling 3-seconds in the key for offense/defense, 8 seconds to get across half court, hand checking, inbounding the ball while you’re in bounds, carrying, travelling, and 2 free throws for a shooting foul?
Instead of picking and choosing which rules you want to play with, try thinking about the intent of the rule.
Explain what the intent of the rule is cause it would appear to me that the rule should be used in streetball seeing as everyone watches the NBA and not so much college. Furthermore you can’t flat out say it’s not illegal when in fact it is in the most important league of them all. And all the other calls you say people don’t call in streetball are ones that would have to be monitored by a ref otherwise it would be TOO subjective cause defenders could quickly count out 3 seconds or 8 seconds. An air ball is not THAT subjective. It’s pretty clear when someone has taken a shot.
Hi Dorian, you know what…. I just sat here for the past 10 minutes trying to think what the intent of the NBA violation is for catching your own legitimate shot airball and just can’t figure it out. So why couldn’t someone catch their own airball in the NBA? What do you think was the intent of the rule when they made that up? Why not give everyone an equal opportunity to hustle after the rebound?
Arguing that the NBA being the most important league of all is subjective. Why wouldn’t kids’ rec ball be important if that’s where today and tomorrow’s NBA stars get their starts?
There are quite a few other rules (not only NBA) that aren’t subjective but aren’t adhered to in pick up games. Some examples: not enforcing back court rules, shooting from high school/college 3 point land and not NBA range, fouling out. Calling your own foul is probably the most subjective of all things but everyone calls their own fouls right?
I would argue that because an airball is not very subjective at all, like you mentioned, why not just let it go and have everyone hustle for it as a rebound?
I know this is 4 years ago, but my dad and I have this argument ALL the time with other people at our weekly basketball game. We’ve discovered that it is illegal in the NBA and legal in every league below that.
I imagine that it’s illegal in the NBA because, while refs could most likely tell the difference between a legitimate shot and a fake one, I imagine that there are some NBA players who could pull off the fake shot to get their own rebound under the goal.
Here’s a post from an NBA ref the same year you posted this:
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Hey Henry , Just trying to re-comfirm. It’s not wrong to take your own airball when you were trying to shoot ? Cuz there’s one friend of mine says that ,” you can take your own airball but your legs can’t touch the ground , you have to pass it to your teammate ” . is that true ?
Hey Joshua, if it was a legitimate shot, then yes the shooter can catch his/her own airball, land on both feet and dribble again as if it was a rebound.
It depends on if you’re playing by NBA rules or college. Most people in pickup games play NBA rules, I think… which would mean that, no, you can’t do that.
Personally, despite which set of rules you decide to go by, I think you have to call it illegal in pickup basketball because there is no referee to settle disputes. You’ll just have people passing it to themselves all day and arguing that they were making a legitimate shot attempt.
what if a player shoots an air ball but the ball first bounces on the ground after the player that shot the ball recovers it, is that still seen as a self pass or travelling violation.
Zion Williamson was in a video playing a pickup game with Duke players. He put up a shot on the move that didn’t draw iron, but hit the backboard. He grabbed the ball mid-air as it deflected off the backboard and dunked it. That, my friends, is traveling
The only problem is that in the link the author provided, it literally says:
“A player that attempts a field goal may not be the first person to touch the ball if it fails to touch the backboard, basket ring, or another player.”
So by the rule’s definition for college and high school, it IS actually a travel 🤷♂️