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7 Off-the-Wall NBA Rules You Never Knew Existed

The NBA is home to some of the most talented athletes from around the globe. The league is a multi-billion-dollar industry that continues to grow even amid a pandemic.

While the game of basketball is quite simple, there are some unusual regulations that govern the NBA. From mandatory timeouts to specific jersey numbers, here are seven off-the-wall NBA rules you never knew existed.

No Pregame Dunking

For whatever reason, the NBA prohibits players from dunking the basketball during pregame warmups. You’d think the league would want its players to perform high-flying, flashy dunks to get fans pumped for the game.

Perhaps league officials don’t want some of their biggest players getting hurt prior to the game or maybe they feel it’s just completely unnecessary Either way, dunking during pregame is off limits.

Zeros on the Jersey

While the NBA doesn’t have a lot of rules regarding a player’s jersey number choice, aside from duplicates and retired uniforms, there is one stipulation that involves the number zero.

The league does not allow players on the same team to have the number zero and double zero. Only one player can have either a single zero or two zeros on the back of their jersey. There can not be a zero AND a double zero on the same team.

Mandatory Timeouts

Per NBA rules, each team is given six timeouts per game to use at their leisure. There is a catch, however. The timeouts are mandatory to a certain extent.

Teams are REQUIRED to use at least four of their allotted timeouts, and they MUST save one for the fourth quarter. If they enter the final quarter without a timeout, the officials will call one, and give the offending team a technical.

No Shatter Rule

While breaking the backboard during a powerhouse dunk is impressive and exciting, it’s also extremely dangerous. Such an action sends shards of glass into the crowd, on top of the players, and onto the court. It’s also difficult to clean up.

Whether intentional or not, any player that shatters the backboard will receive a technical foul. If the ball traveled through the basketball, the points are not counted. A player who breaks the backboard is not ejected from the game.

Staying in the Game After Six Fouls

NBA rules state if any player receives six fouls during a single game, he is removed from the game. He must sit on the bench for the remainder of the contest, and is not permitted reentry. However, there is an exception.

If at any time a team is unable to put five players on the court due to injury or ejection, a player who has previously fouled-out is allowed to re-enter the game. If the disqualified player commits a foul, his team would be penalized with a technical foul.

Scoring in Own Basket

Both the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the NBA have a rule that states a player is not allowed to intentionally score in his own basket. Why any player would ever want to do that is beyond me.

However, if a player deflects the ball during a shot, rebound, or pass and the ball goes through their own hoop, the point is awarded to the opponent. This has happened on numerous occasions, and the offensive player closest to the ball gets credit for the points.

Free Throw Shot Clock

While some diehard NBA fans are aware of the free throw time limit, the league has done a poor job at enforcing it. During a foul shot, a player has exactly ten seconds to shoot the ball once he receives it from the referee.

The penalty for violating the 10-second rule is the exact same as if a player stepped over the free throw line or into the paint before the ball is released. If the shot was made, the point is erased and possession goes to the other team.

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