An Illegal Dribble is defined as a second dribble after his/her first dribble has ended, of course with some exceptions.  Correctly ruling when a dribble begins and ends is important in being able to correctly rule when the second becomes a violation.


Rule 4-15 states a Dribble is “ball movement caused by a player in control who bats (intentionally strikes the ball with the hands) or pushes the ball to the floor once or several times.  It is not a part of the dribble when the ball touches a player’s own backboard.”


This definition centers around the intentionality of the dribble.  Did the ball bounce off the player’s hand, or did he push it deliberately to the floor?  What about when the player taps the ball, it bounces, and he picks it up?  Is this a the end of the first dribble?


So many rulings in the game of basketball leave it up to an official’s judgement as to whether a foul or violation occurred.   Many officials will consider this ‘tapping’ of the ball an intentional dribble and the second dribble an Illegal Dribble.  The case book, however, answers this question for us and let’s our judgement take a rest…


Casebook 4.15.1 – Situation B: A1’s throw-in pass is beyond A2. (a) A2 reaches out and slaps the ball towards A’s basket; or (b) A2 muffs the pass.  In both situations, A2 then gains control and dribbles to the basket and scores.  RULING: No violation in (a) or (b).

Based on the casebook, the following play should not have been ruled an illegal dribble.