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5 common misconceptions about basketball that you will find interesting to know about

Basketball is one of the most popular games globally, with unique rules, gameplay and team systems etcetera. Each area of the game almost directly influences other aspects. As such, it isn’t a game of absolute truths.

Like other popular sports in this category, basketball is well represented in complementary industries, such as gaming and iGaming. With its wide variety of options and huge fan numbers, basketball betting is a popular feature on many online betting platforms, thanks to leagues like the NBA. This relationship helps draw attention to the sport and boosts fan engagement.

That said, here are some common and interesting basketball misconceptions:

Referees make game-deciding calls

If this were true, referees would be the most exciting officials in sports history. But it isn’t. The official’s job is to call out violations and fouls as they unfold, regardless of the time. Whether it’s the final seconds of the game or the first two seconds of the first quarter, referees ought to call it as they see it. The ruling of the violation or foul is what attracts the penalty. So, saying a referee decided the game by awarding a free throw, for instance, is just absolving the players of responsibility because they decide the game.

Steals don’t accurately depict defensive prowess

The most important play for a defensive player is to keep the opponent away from the hoop. Keeping the offensive player in sight with your hands up improves your chances and is more effective than attempting a steal. We forget that steals often come from a lapse in judgment, errors, or slow reaction time from players, not because the defensive player is so great the ball is attracted to their hands.

Of course, there are players skilled enough to execute steals flawlessly the bulk of the time. But that’s not the case for the greater majority. And we barely ever see the data for failed steals, which stirs up the erroneous belief that the data for successful steals we do see is a testament to defensive prowess.


Fewer basketball rules are as misunderstood as traveling. The rule is that players can only travel with a live ball; otherwise, it’s a violation. Fumbling or bobbling doesn’t count as ball control; hence, it can’t be a traveling foul. To clear this misconception, always look out for the pivot foot when the ball switches hands, and you’ll better identify traveling.

Hard work pays

Don’t get it wrong: hard work is what connects desire to results. But practice doesn’t always make perfect in the same way that hard work only yields pyrrhic victories, sometimes. That’s because “any” hard work or practice won’t suffice. For instance, players that never make it off the bench are better than the average Joe. They could dance around any casual basketball player and look like prime Michael Jordan. But they aren’t top picks in their teams.

Sometimes, their efforts are channeled in the wrong direction rather than towards developing the one skill that gives them an edge. Other times, they don’t analyze their performance enough to evaluate and improve.

The Over-the-back Foul

Just like the reaching in misconception, contact must be made for a foul to be called. We can’t always call for over-the-back fouls because shorter players are deprived of the ball from behind by taller players with inside rebounds. Height isn’t a crime; illegal contact is.

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