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Basketball 4-Point Play

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Basketball 4-Point Play

A 4-point play in basketball is a scenario where four points are scored on a single basket. This can only happen if a player is fouled while attempting a three-pointer and then makes the subsequent foul shot. Most 4-point play opportunities are converted since professional basketball players shoot above 50% from the free throw line, but many times the free throw is missed.

While less common, another way of earning a 4-point play technically speaking would be to draw a technical or flagrant foul after making a two point shot and then making both free throws to accumulate four points in one possession.

Professional History

A 4-point play was impossible in the National Basketball Association up until 1979, when the 3-point line was introduced. 3-point plays were common, as players would sometimes get fouled on layup or jumper attempts and convert the free throw attempt, but the 4-point variety was non-existent.

It was not until 1986 that the 3-point line was introduced in the NCAA and 1997 for the WNBA, which enabled the leagues to feature 4-point plays.

The first 4-point play was executed in the beginning weeks of the 1979 season by Chicago Bulls player Sam Smith.


Jamal Crawford is the all time leading 4-point play scorer with 60 such occurrences, while James Harden is in second.

Due to the rarity of the play, the most impressive feat is perhaps James Jones completing two 4-point plays in a span of only 11 seconds in 2009.

See Also

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