Held Ball In Basketball

Basketball Held Ball

There are several situations in basketball that cause the fast-paced play to come to a sudden halt. One of these is a held ball, which occurs when two opponents contest possession of the ball. Keep reading to find out how held balls work in basketball.

What Is a Held Ball in Basketball?

A held ball in basketball occurs when two players simultaneously have firm possession of the ball. In other words, if two players have one or both of their hands firmly on the ball and it is unclear who has control of the ball, a held ball will be signaled by the referee. According to the rulebook, referees are instructed not to call a held ball until both opponents have their hands so firmly on the ball that neither can gain possession without undue roughness.

Held balls typically happen in situations where many players are going for the ball, such as a loose ball or after a rebound. If the players fighting for possession hit the floor or use aggressive movements to try to rip the ball away, a held ball will be called immediately.

Result of a Held Ball

The result of a held ball call varies at different levels of basketball. If the referee whistles a held ball, the play will always be stopped. In high school and college basketball, a held ball will be given to the team that currently has the possession arrow. In the NBA, a held ball will result in a jump ball between the players that were fighting for the ball.


What is a held ball?

A held ball is when two players simultaneously have possession of the ball. In more technical terms, it is when two players each have at least one hand firmly on the ball, and thus, it is unclear who has control of the ball. If the players fight for possession or fall to the ground, a held ball is signaled by the referee.

Is a held ball in basketball a violation?

A held ball is not a violation in basketball. It is not against the rules for two opponents to contest possession of the ball, so there is no punishment for it. However, a held ball can result in a loss of possession, so players on offense should try to avoid them.