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Palming a Basketball

Palming a Basketball: Grip, Control, and Controversy

Basketball is a game that merges strategy, skill, and athleticism. One technique often debated and discussed is “palming” the basketball. This move, while advantageous in certain plays, has also stirred controversy due to its interpretation in official rules.

Summary of Palming a Basketball

  • Definition: Grasping the intricacies of palming.
  • Advantages: Why players might resort to palming.
  • Controversial Moments: Times when palming shifted the game dynamics.
  • Official Stance: What the NBA and other basketball associations say about it.

1. Definition

Palming, also known as “carrying”, refers to the act of spreading the hand out under the ball while dribbling, effectively pausing the ball’s motion momentarily. This can give the player an unfair advantage as it can be deceptive to opponents.

PalmingUsing the hand to momentarily stop or alter the ball’s motion
CarryingAnother term for palming, implying the ball is being ‘carried’ during a dribble

2. Advantages

Palming can offer several advantages:

  • Greater ball control during dribbles.
  • Ability to change direction swiftly, confusing defenders.
  • Facilitates a quicker shot release.

3. Controversial Moments

Over the years, numerous NBA games have seen controversial moments around palming. Star players often push the boundaries of what’s allowed, leading to heated debates among fans and officials.

“Palming is to basketball what holding is to football. Sometimes it gets called, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s always there.”

  • Shaquille O’Neal

4. Official Stance

The NBA rulebook states that palming is a violation. However, the enforcement of this rule has been inconsistent, leading to calls from many for a clearer definition and more consistent officiating.

Basketball AssociationStance on Palming
NBAPalming is a violation, but enforcement can be inconsistent.
NCAASimilar to the NBA but tends to be stricter in its application


Q: Why is palming controversial? A: It can give the player an unfair advantage, making it challenging for defenders to anticipate moves.

Q: Do all basketball associations view palming the same way? A: While the basic definition is consistent, enforcement and interpretation can vary.

In Conclusion

Palming is just one of many techniques in basketball that balances between skill and rule violation. Its proper understanding is essential for players aiming to hone their skills without crossing into foul territory. As the game evolves, so will the conversations around moves like palming.

For more detailed insights on basketball techniques, visit

Source: Wikipedia

-By Scott Jones