Basketball is an extremely popular sport. If you aren’t gathered around the TV watching March Madness, then you’re at the gym enjoying a high school basketball game. No matter where you watch the sport, the beginning of the basketball game might seem a bit confusing.
Every basketball game, whether professional or unprofessional, starts with a jump ball. The team that wins the jump receives possession of the ball, while the team that loses the jump will start with the ball at the beginning of the next quarter. Possession alternates at the start of every quarter.
To really get into the game of basketball, you need to fully understand the rules. What better place to start learning than how the game starts? Keep reading to learn more about the rules of basketball!
The Start of a Basketball Game
When you arrive at a basketball game, you’ll probably see all the players on the court practicing passing and shooting. But this isn’t how the game starts. This is merely the warmups. You will also see a timer on the scoreboard. When there is only a minute or two left on the scoreboard, all the players will run back to their team’s sideline for a quick pregame huddle. And now, it is time to start the game.
Before you can start the game, you need to know how many players you’ll need. While most basketball teams have at least 12 players, only five are allowed on the court at a time. If you want to switch players, you’ll have to wait for a break in play to make a substitution.
At the start of a basketball game, five players from each team will line up around the half-court line. In the center of the court, there is a circle. This circle is referred to as the “jump circle.” Allowed inside the jump circle are two players, one from each team, and a referee. The other players will spread out around the circle and wait for “the jump.” Cramming three people into a tight space can lead to some funny situations, like the one in the video below!