Click here to Skip to main content

Ask Bernie: Hand part of the ball, over backboard and more

Posted Dec 30 2010 5:13PM

I have been having an argument with a good friend of mine for a couple of years now. I was up in the air for a slam dunk with my right hand and he made a block from behind me. I think it's a foul, but he doesn't agree. Can you please help?

If you are in the act of dunking, and he goes up from behind you, and there's contact from the wrist down (the arm) or excessive body contact, then it's probably a foul. If he hits the ball or your hand (which is considered part of the ball when in contact with the ball), then it's not a foul.


Have a question about NBA rules? E-mail Bernie Fryer, Vice President of Referee Operations and Director of Officials.

Bernie will only answer questions that specifically concern the purpose and/or intended administration of NBA rules and interpretations. This is your opportunity to better understand the NBA's rules and/or clarify that once-in-a-lifetime call.

Your question may be selected for use on, along with Bernie's response. In posting questions, the NBA may edit inquiries to ensure clarity and/or to generalize situations, where deemed necessary.

Click here or e-mail your question to today!

A person grabs a rebound and lands in bounds but because of this his momentum is causing him to fall out of bounds. Before he steps out he drops the ball in bounds. He then goes out of bounds, comes back in and gets both feet in bounds before he grabs the ball again. Is this legal or would the ball go to the other team?

This is a legal play, as long as he re-establishes himself inbounds with both feet legally touching the playing court before touching the ball. If he does not reestablish himself inbounds, then he may not legally be the first one to touch the ball.

If player A1 shot an airball and the same player A1 retrieves the ball without other players touching the ball first, is this considered a traveling violation? The argument is that even though the player shot an airball, it is still a shot attempt.

Yes, this scenario would be a traveling violation. The ball must hit the backboard and/or rim, or an opponent before the shooting player can be the first to touch the missed shot. If the shooting player is the first to touch an airball, then it is a traveling violation.

If a player shoots the ball, the ball hits the rim, and then bounces over the edge of the backboard, and another player grabs it before going out of bounds, is the ball a live ball?

Yes, if the ball goes over the corner as I think you are describing, this is still in play. The ball is considered out of bounds once it passes directly behind the backboard. If the ball bounces over the corner and never passes directly behind the backboard, then it's a live ball..

How are kicked balls defined? If a player throws a pass and it hits a defensive player's leg, is it a violation?

A kicked ball violation occurs when a defender makes a motion with his foot/leg as in a kick. If a ball is passed and hits the defender's leg/foot, that does not necessarily mean a kicked ball violation has occurred

I play in a small league. Many of the games I play in my feet get stepped on by the player with the ball or by a player cutting, I keep wanting to call a foul or something because I am unable to move my feet to continue guarding by no fault of my own. Is there a penalty for a player stepping on another player's foot if it prevents them from moving? Does it matter?

If you are the defender and your foot is (accidentally) stepped on, it is considered incidental contact and there is no foul.

photoGAME RECAP: Pistons 102, Lakers 97
Tobias Harris and Marcus Morris each score 23 points to lift the Pistons over the Lakers.
photoSunday's Top 10 Plays
Check out the very best from Sunday's NBA action on the Top 10.
photoGAME Recap: Bulls 108, Grizzlies 104
Doug Mcdermott goes for a career high 31 points as the bulls defeat the grizzlies.
photoGAME RECAP: Thunder 122, Kings 118
Russell Westbrook posts his 20th triple-double of the season as the Thunder defeat the Kings, 122-118.
photoSteal of the Night - Thabo Sefalosha
Thabo Sefalosha gets the steal then goes the other way for the big throwdown.

Copyright © NBA Media Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved. No portion of may be duplicated, redistributed or manipulated in any form. By accessing any information beyond this page, you agree to abide by the Privacy Policy / Your California Privacy Rights and Terms of Use. | Ad Choices Ad Choices is part of Turner Sports Digital, part of the Turner Sports & Entertainment Digital Network.