Basketball Basket Interference

Basketball Basket Interference

While it is legal to block a shot in basketball, you are not allowed to interfere with a shot that has entered the “cylinder,” an imaginary plane above the rim and basket. Read on to learn about this kind of violation, called basketball interference.

Basketball Basket Interference

Basket interference in basketball is a violation that occurs when a player touches the ball when it is above the hoop, ring, or in the net. Basket interference can be committed by both the offensive team and defensive team.

Offensive Basket Interference

An offensive basket interference is when an offensive player makes contact with the basketball while it is inside of the cylinder. The cylinder is a term for the imaginary ring that extends upwards from the basketball rim.

Defensive Basket Interference

Defensive basket interference is the more common of the two and is known simply as goaltending. The restrictions for what the defender can do are technically the same, however the rules were put into place for defensive situations where shots are attempted to be blocked. For that reason, defensive basket interference is stricter than offensive interference. Just like the offense there is no touching the ball while it is on or above the cylinder of the rim.

On top of that, there are rules that prohibit a defender from altering the shot by grabbing onto or contacting the rim or net.


An offensive basket interference results in a turnover, and the opposing team gaining possession of the ball. If the shot went into the basket after the basket interference, the points will not count and the play will immediately be blown dead.

A defensive basket interference automatically results in the shot attempted by the offensive team counting. Whatever the shot would have been worth had it gone in is added to the offensive team’s score.

Referee Signal

The official signal for a basket interference foul in basketball involves the referee holding their left hand in a closed fist in front of their body, and then drawing a circle over the closed fist with the pointer finger of the right hand.


What is basket interference in basketball?

Basket interference is a violation in basketball that occurs when a player makes contact with a shot when it is directly above the basket. Basket interference can be called on the offense or defense. If defensive basket interference is called, the shot made by the offensive team will count for as many points as it would have if the ball had gone in the basket. If offensive basket interference is called, possession will be given to the opposing team.

Are basket interference and goaltending the same violation?

Basket interference and goaltending are similar violations, but are not the same. Basket interference is called when a player makes contact with a shot directly above the basket. Goaltending is called when a player makes contact with a shot while it is on its downward trajectory.