Basketball Jump Balls

What is a jump ball? Where do jump balls happen on the court? Get ready to learn about the rules of jump balls, also known as the center toss, in basketball.

Basketball Jump Balls

A jump ball in basketball is one of the ways to put the ball into play. On a jump ball the referee blows his whistle and tosses the ball high into the air. One player from each take the jump ball by leaping into the air and trying to claim possession of the ball. Players are not allowed to grab the ball. Instead, they must tap and redirect the ball in the direction of a teammate using one hand.

Basketball Jump Ball

Basketball Jump Circle

Jump balls take place on the midcourt line at the jump circle. The jump circle is also known as the center circle.

Basketball Jump Circle

Jump Ball Rules

There are rules that dictate how players take jump balls. Here are the rules of jump balls:

  • Both feet must be in the jump circle
  • You cannot leap for the ball until it has reached its maximum height
  • You cannot leave your team's half of the jump circle
  • You cannot grab or hold the ball until it has touched the other players on the floor
  • You cannot tap the ball more than once
  • All other players must be outside the jump circle

Basketball Jump Ball Purpose

There are two purposes for jump balls in basketball:

  1. To put the ball into play
  2. To give each team an equal chance of getting possession

When Jump Balls Happen

In basketball, a jump ball will be used to put the ball into play:

PRO TIP: There are few more reasons that a jump ball will be used to put the ball into play like if the ball gets stuck in the hoop between the backboard and the rim.

Basketball Centers

Any player on the floor can take the jump ball. However, the center is usually responsible for taking jump balls. Centers are the tallest players on the team. Since jump balls require players to jump in the air and redirect the ball to a teammate, it is in a team's best interest to have their tallest player take jump balls.

Basketball Center

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