Basketball Court Boundary Lines

Chapter 1.4

Are there rules to where basketball players can be on a court? What does inbounds and out-of-bounds mean? Get ready to learn about the boundary lines on a basketball court.

The Boundary Lines

We've learned in past chapters about the baselines and the sidelines. Together, these lines make up the boundary lines on a basketball court.

Rookie Road Basketball Boundary Lines Image

You can think of anything inside of the rectangle in the picture above as inbounds. Everything on or outside of this rectangle is considered out-of-bounds.

Inbounds vs. Out-of-Bounds

So what does inbounds and out-of-bounds even mean? When players are on the court playing basketball they are always either inbounds or out-of-bounds. There are rules associated with the boundary lines. For example,

Touching The Lines

What about the lines themselves? Are they considered inbounds or out-of-bounds?

If a player touches any part of the boundary lines or crosses the boundary lines in any way he/she is considered out-of-bounds.

Rookie Road Basketball Stepping Out-of-Bounds Image

PRO TIP: It is possible for a player to be in the air and pass the ball while out-of-bounds as long as he/she doesn't touch the ground with his/her feet.

A player must be careful not to touch the ball while out-of-bounds or it will result in a turnover to the other team.


If the ball goes out-of-bounds in basketball it is a turnover, meaning the other team gets the ball. The other team has to bring the ball back into play with a throw-in. We'll learn more about turnovers and throw-ins in future chapters.

Last To Touch The Ball

What happens when the ball rolls out-of-bounds but is not held by any player? The last team to touch the ball will lose possession of the ball. This also applies if the ball bounces or ricochets off of a player.

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