What is a Carry in Basketball

Carry in Basketball: Definition and Explanation

As a basketball player and fan, I have often heard the term “carry” being used during games. But what exactly is a carry in basketball? Simply put, a carry is a violation where the player gains an unfair advantage by holding or carrying the ball while dribbling. It is one of the most common violations in the game of basketball and can result in a turnover.

Carrying the ball occurs when the player places their hand under the ball while dribbling or allows the ball to come to a momentary rest in their hand. This action is also known as palming or double-dribbling. The rules governing carrying the ball are different in high school, college, and professional basketball. Therefore, it is essential to understand the specific rules of the league or level you are playing in.

In this article, I will explore what a carry is in basketball, the different types of carries, and how to avoid committing this violation. Whether you are a player, coach, or fan, understanding the rules of basketball can enhance your appreciation and enjoyment of the game. So, let’s dive in and learn more about what a carry is in basketball.

Carry in Basketball

What's A Carry In Basketball & What's Not? Basketball Rules Explained!


As a basketball player, I know that carrying or palming the ball is a violation that occurs when the ball handler holds the ball in one or both hands and then dribbles again. It can also happen when the player’s hand is placed underneath the ball, and it looks like they’re “carrying” the basketball with their hand instead of dribbling it.

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According to the NBA, a carrying violation happens when a player “places his hand underneath the ball and brings it to a pause and then continues to dribble again with one hand.” This violation is called a carry because of the action the player does when they commit the violation – it looks like they’re carrying the ball instead of dribbling it.


The rule against carrying has been around since the early days of basketball. In fact, the first set of official basketball rules, written in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith, included a provision that stated, “The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands, but never with the fist.” This rule was later modified to prohibit carrying the ball as well.

Over the years, the definition of carrying has been refined, and today’s players are subject to strict enforcement of the rule. While carrying violations are not called as frequently as traveling or double dribbling, they can still have a significant impact on the outcome of a game.

Types of Carry


Palming is a type of carry that occurs when the player holds the ball in one hand and uses the other hand to support or guide the ball while dribbling. This technique is often used by players to gain better control of the ball, but it is considered illegal in basketball as it interrupts the dribbling motion.

Palming can also occur when the player holds the ball with one hand and moves it around their body or behind their back. This type of palming is also illegal as it gives the player an unfair advantage over the defender.

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Carrying is a type of violation that occurs when the player allows the ball to come to a momentary rest in their hand while dribbling, or when they push or hit the ball with their palm while dribbling. This technique is often used by players to gain better control of the ball, but it is considered illegal in basketball as it disrupts the dribbling motion.

There are different ways in which carrying can occur, including:

  • Player is dribbling too high and hand is placed underneath the ball.
  • Player hesitates with their dribble, and their hand slides under the ball.
  • Player is sprinting while trying to control their dribble, leading to a carry.

When carrying is called, the player loses possession of the ball and the opposing team gains possession. It is important for players to avoid carrying the ball to prevent turnovers and maintain possession of the ball.

Penalties for Carry

Technical Foul

If a player is caught carrying the ball, it will result in a technical foul. This means that the opposing team will be awarded two free throws, and they will also get the possession of the ball. It is important to note that a technical foul can also be given to a player or coach for unsportsmanlike conduct or any other violation of the rules.


When a player is called for a carry, it is a penalty on the offensive player and results in a turnover. The referee will blow his whistle, make the carrying motion with his right hand, and award the basketball to the opposing team. Sometimes the referee will call a double dribble on the dribbling player instead of a carry.

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It is important to note that carrying the ball is not the only violation that results in a turnover. Other violations include traveling, double dribbling, and stepping out of bounds.

It is crucial for players to understand the rules of basketball to avoid committing turnovers and technical fouls. Coaches also play an important role in teaching their players about the rules and helping them avoid violations.

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