Basketball Unsportsmanlike Foul

Basketball Unsportsmanlike Foul

Most basketball fouls come from actions that hinder the progress of the opponent, like blocking and shooting fouls. However, there is a type of foul that is called when a player has no intention of playing the ball, and is simply being unsportsmanlike. Read on to learn more about this unsportsmanlike conduct foul in basketball, including why it is called and what happens afterward.


An unsportsmanlike foul in the game of basketball is defined as a foul committed by a player who has acted against the sportsmanship rules of the game. In other words, this could be a hard foul including elbowing or an instance where a player uses profane language directed toward the referee. There are many other reasons why an unsportsmanlike foul may be called, but it is up to the referee to determine if the actions were unsportsmanlike and detrimental to the game.


This type of foul results in a personal foul being charged to the offending player as well as two free throws and possession of the ball for the other team, a fairly substantial punishment. 

Depending on what happens on the play after the free throws are shot, the opposing team could gain five points from this foul call and shift a deficit in their favor moving forward. So, unsportsmanlike fouls are usually negative for both the player who was called for it as well as the team in which they are on, as it can shift a game out of their reach.

Referee Signal

For an unsportsmanlike foul in basketball, the referee will make this signal for a technical foul. This signal involves the referee making a T-shape with his hands, similar to the signal used for timeouts in other sports, like football.


What is an unsportsmanlike foul in basketball?

An unsportsmanlike act in basketball results in a technical foul, also known as an unsportsmanlike foul. Unsportsmanlike fouls may be called for disrespectfully addressing an official, physically contacting an official, or taunting.

What is the result of an unsportsmanlike foul in basketball?

If a team is assessed an unsportsmanlike foul, the other team will be granted two free throws and possession of the ball. This results in a huge swing for the non-offending team, as they can possibly add two points to their score along with possession of the ball. These consequences are so severe due to the nature of the foul, as actions that result in unsportsmanlike fouls are detrimental to the game.