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Basketball Jump Balls

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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 side takes the jump ball by leaping into the air and trying to tip it into their team's possession. 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. Jump balls are used in order to give both teams an equal chance at possession.

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 or midcourt. This is also where every game begins as a jump ball called "tip-off" happens to open a game, it is much like an opening faceoff in hockey.

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 another player on the floor
  • You cannot tap the ball more than once
  • All other players must be outside the jump circle

When Jump Balls Happen

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

Basketball Centers

Any player on the floor can take the jump ball. However, the center is usually responsible for taking jump balls. This is because centers are the tallest and biggest 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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