What are the unwritten rules of basketball?

I just saw this morning’s post on the WoW Journal.  Its an interview with the author of the book “The Baseball Codes“, which is a book documenting the unwritten rules of baseball (like don’t cross over the mound, ARod!)

I was thinking, are there any unwritten rules of basketball?  I could only come up with 3, and they all relate to pickup basketball, although #2 relates to every sport and every facet of life, and from what I’ve seen, #3 is practiced in the NBA.

1. No cherry picking — this one gets other players IRATE when it happens.  Its almost seen as a form of cowardice.

2. No intentional shots to the nads (who was it that broke this rule, was caught, and got suspended?  I think it was a college incident)

3. In warmups, you make the shot, you get the ball back.  You miss it, it belongs to the rebounder.  That’s observed everywhere the game is played, and I recently taught it to my nephew the Cman.

Anyone got any more?  There has to be tons (but “Winners keep the court”, a definite ancient schoolyard rule, has been actively phased out by the YMCA because players were organizing loaded teams to monopolize noon basketball and others “couldn’t participate”.  That’s the explanation I was given.)

Addendum:  Mystery solved with regard to nut shot


11 Responses to “What are the unwritten rules of basketball?”

  1. coachbean Says:

    How about if you need to pickup a 10th person for a game and it happens to be a 11 year old or a female, and that player ends up guarding you, then you DON”T try to go KOBE on them. Also you are only half ass it on defense, unless they hit a lucky jumper, then you are allowed to embarrass them for a play or two.

  2. brgulker Says:

    1a. No passing the ball over halfcourt; the ball must be dribbled over halfcourt.

    A man can’t block the shot of a woman, in a co-ed game.

    The way players line up around the center circle for the jump ball at the start of every game (to my knowledge, there’s nothing in the rules about that?).

  3. Nigel Tufnel Says:

    I think it was Ron Artest that was caught in an NBA game going for someone’s nuts. I could be wrong of course but remember the incident involving Houston a couple of years ago and thought Ron Ron was the best canidate to do this.

    Are you talking unwritten NBA rules or uwritten basketball rules? There are dozens of general basketball rules but one unwritten NBA rule i can think of is not scoring if you have a substantial lead and possession in the final seconds of the game. I can’t remember who but I vaugly remember someone shooting, missing on purpose and possibly scoring in the final seconds of a game already won just to pad tne stats for a triple double.

  4. Shawn Ryan Says:

    4. The third pick-up game when nobody’s subbing out is 97%+ horrible jumpshots.

  5. Abe Says:

    Chris Paul in college?

    • tywill33 Says:

      No, wasn’t it someone from Florida… I remember someone stepped on someone’s head and then someone else did the unthinkable to someone in the post, and it was all in the same weekend I wanna say.

  6. tgt Says:

    Competitive, definitely nba: If you’re up by 25 in the first half, or 20 in the second half, sit your stars. If you’re losing huge, you don’t have to sit your stars, but you normally do.

    I think that is why 20 point leads are lost more than one would expect. Good teams don’t necessarily have good end of bench players.

    Not an elbow, but Chris Paul threw a nut punch in his final regular season college game. Maybe that’s what you’re thinking of. My name links to the ESPN story.

  7. brgulker Says:

    4a. Especially when playing by ones and twos (not twos and threes)!

  8. brgulker Says:

    4a. Especially when playing by ones and twos (not twos and threes)!

  9. Shawn Ryan Says:


    Of course.

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