Flagrant foul

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Jordan Farmar (No. 5 in purple) flagrantly fouls Rajon Rondo (No. 9 in white) as Rondo attempts a dunk. NBA flagrant foul.jpg
Jordan Farmar (No. 5 in purple) flagrantly fouls Rajon Rondo (No. 9 in white) as Rondo attempts a dunk.

In basketball, a flagrant foul is a personal foul that involves excessive or violent contact that could injure the fouled player. A flagrant foul may be unintentional or purposeful; the latter type is also called an "intentional foul" in the National Basketball Association (NBA). However, not all intentional fouls are flagrant fouls, as it is an accepted strategy to intentionally commit a foul (without intent to injure) in order to regain possession of the ball while minimizing how much time elapses on the game clock.



The National Basketball Association (NBA) established the flagrant foul to deter contact that, in addition to being against the rules, puts an opponent's safety or health at risk. When the flagrant foul was introduced in the 1990–91 season, the only penalty beyond that of a common personal foul was that the coach of the offended team could select which player would shoot the resulting free throw attempts. [1] Starting with the 1990–91 season, the offended team also retains possession of the ball following a flagrant foul, in addition to receiving free throw attempts. [1]

The NBA defines two levels of flagrant fouls, "Flagrant 1" and "Flagrant 2". [2] Flagrant 1 is "unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent", while the more serious Flagrant 2 is "unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent." [3] Flagrant 2 results in an immediate ejection of the offender. Flagrant 1 does not result in the offender's ejection, unless the same player commits a second Flagrant 1 foul in the same game. Thus, Flagrant 1 and Flagrant 2 are analogous to the yellow card and red card used in various other sports. NBA referees have discretion in determining which level to call. Starting with the 2006–07 season, all Flagrant 2 fouls are reviewed via instant replay, and may be downgraded as a result of the review. [1]

Flagrant 2 fouls result in an automatic fine of the offending player. [2] Additionally, the NBA has a "penalty points" system, whereby players committing a Flagrant 1 or Flagrant 2 are assessed one or two penalty points, respectively. During the regular season, accumulating more than five points results in an automatic suspension. [1] During the NBA playoffs, suspensions of one or two games are meted out for every penalty point a player accrues above a total of three. [3]

Game tactics

It is an accepted basketball strategy for a trailing team to commit fouls intentionally late in a game, in an attempt to regain possession of the ball while minimizing how much time elapses on the game clock. A common personal foul gives the fouling team a chance to regain possession of the ball by rebounding a missed free throw. Alternately, if the offended team makes both free throws, the fouling team will then be given possession of the ball, potentially giving them an opportunity to make a three-point field goal, which if made, yields a one-point gain to the fouling team.

In this context, the flagrant foul rule deters undesired, potentially injurious play by awarding possession of the ball to the offended team as an extra penalty. If the fouling team is judged to have committed a flagrant foul, the offended team retains possession of the ball following any free throw attempts. As there is no change in possession, there is no benefit to the team that committed the flagrant foul. Thus, teams that attempt a strategy of intentionally fouling, must do so without having their fouls judged as flagrant.


International Basketball Federation (FIBA) basketball rules have similar fouls but use different terms.

The penalty for these fouls in full-court basketball is two free throws and a throw-in from the throw-in line in the team’s frontcourt.

In the halfcourt 3x3 variant, the penalty is also two free throws, but possession after the free throws varies based on the degree of the foul. After a player's first unsportsmanlike foul, possession goes to the team that was otherwise entitled to possession at the time of the play. Following any foul that results in ejection, possession goes to the non-offending team. The only exception is in the case of a double unsportsmanlike foul; no free throws are awarded in such a situation.

United States scholastic rules

U.S. college and high school rules define a flagrant foul as a personal or technical foul that is extreme or severe.


The NCAA's Playing Rules Oversight Panel adopted the "flagrant" term before the 2011-12 season for both men's and women's basketball. [5] However, the NCAA's women's rules committee abandoned the term "flagrant", effective with the 2017–18 season, in favor of FIBA's "unsportsmanlike" and "disqualifying" terms. [6] These fouls are counted as personal fouls and technical fouls.

Certain conduct constitutes a flagrant foul despite not being malevolent or unsportsmanlike. [7]


In the United States, the NFHS rulebook defines flagrant fouls in Rule 10: Fouls and Penalties. The word "flagrant" itself is defined in Rule 2: Definitions; 2-16c calls it "a foul so severe or extreme that it places an opponent in danger of serious injury, and/or involves violations that are extremely or persistently vulgar or abusive conduct."

Equivalents in other sports

Related Research Articles

Basketball Team sport

Basketball, colloquially referred to as hoops, is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one, two or three one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.

In basketball, a technical foul is any infraction of the rules penalized as a foul which does not involve physical contact during the course of play between opposing players on the court, or is a foul by a non-player. The most common technical foul is for unsportsmanlike conduct. Technical fouls can be assessed against players, bench personnel, the entire team, or even the crowd. These fouls, and their penalties, are more serious than a personal foul, but not necessarily as serious as a flagrant foul.

Free throw Penalty in basketball

In basketball, free throws or foul shots are unopposed attempts to score points by shooting from behind the free throw line, a line situated at the end of the restricted area. Free throws are generally awarded after a foul on the shooter by the opposing team, analogous to penalty shots in other team sports. Free throws are also awarded in other situations, including technical fouls, and when the fouling team has entered the bonus/penalty situation. Also depending on the situation, a player may be awarded between one and three free throws. Each successful free throw is worth one point.

Personal foul (basketball)

In basketball, a personal foul is a breach of the rules that concerns illegal personal contact with an opponent. It is the most common type of foul in basketball. A player fouls out on reaching a limit on personal fouls for the game and is disqualified from participation in the remainder of the game.

Rules of basketball

The rules of basketball are the rules and regulations that govern the play, officiating, equipment and procedures of basketball. While many of the basic rules are uniform throughout the world, variations do exist. Most leagues or governing bodies in North America, the most important of which are the National Basketball Association and NCAA, formulate their own rules. In addition, the Technical Commission of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) determines rules for international play; most leagues outside North America use the complete FIBA ruleset.

Hack-a-Shaq Basketball strategy of committing intentional fouls against selected opponents who shot free throws poorly to the purpose of lowering opponents scoring

Hack-a-Shaq is a basketball defensive strategy used in the National Basketball Association (NBA), where Dallas Mavericks coach Don Nelson adapted the strategy of committing intentional fouls to the purpose of lowering opponents' scoring. He directed players to commit personal fouls throughout the game against selected opponents who shot free throws poorly.

Ejection (sports)

In sports, an ejection is the removal of a participant from a contest due to a violation of the sport's rules. The exact violations that lead to an ejection vary depending upon the sport, but common causes for ejection include unsportsmanlike conduct, violent acts against another participant that are beyond the sport's generally accepted standards for such acts, abuse against officials, violations of the sport's rules that the contest official deems to be egregious, or the use of an illegal substance to better a player's game. Most sports have provisions that allow players to be ejected, and many allow for the ejection of coaches, managers, or other non-playing personnel.

Glossary of basketball terms Wikipedia glossary

This glossary of basketball terms is a list of definitions of terms used in the game of basketball. Like any other major sport, basketball features its own extensive vocabulary of unique words and phrases used by players, coaches, sports journalists, commentators, and fans.

In basketball, a foul is an infraction of the rules more serious than a violation. Most fouls occur as a result of illegal personal contact with an opponent and/or unsportsmanlike behavior. Fouls can result in one or more of the following penalties:

Unsportsmanlike conduct

Unsportsmanlike conduct is a foul or offense in many sports that violates the sport's generally accepted rules of sportsmanship and participant conduct. Examples include verbal abuse or taunting of an opponent, an excessive celebration following a scoring play, or feigning injury. The official rules of many sports include a general provision whereby participants or an entire team may be penalized or otherwise sanctioned for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament

The Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament is a nationwide event for players of a variety of age and skill levels in the United States. Although every tournament is different, a typical Gus Macker event involves basketball courts set up in parking lots or closed-off public streets Tournaments are mid-level to major sports media events and are held virtually every weekend from spring through summer.

In basketball, the five-second rule, or five-second violation, is a rule that helps promote continuous play. There are multiple situations where a five-second violation may occur.

Delay of game is an action in a sports game in which a player or team deliberately stalls the game, usually with the intention of using the delay to its advantage. In some sports, the delay of game is considered an infraction if it is longer than that permitted according to the game's rules, in which case a penalty can be issued. Some sports that have a delay of game penalty are American football, Canadian football, ice hockey and association football.

Key (basketball) Area on a basketball court

The key, officially referred to as the free throw lane by the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the restricted area by the international governing body FIBA, and colloquially as the lane or the paint, is a marked area on a basketball court surrounding the basket. It is bounded by the endline, the free-throw line and two side lines, and usually painted in a distinctive color. It is a crucial area on the court where much of the game's action takes place.

Foul (sports)

In sports, a foul is an inappropriate or unfair act by a player as deemed by a referee, usually violating the rules of the sport or game. A foul may be intentional or accidental, and often results in a penalty. Even though it may not be intentional fouling can still cause serious harm or injury to opposing players, or even their own players if unaware of their surroundings during particular situations on sports. Fouls are used in many different sports. Often own teammates can clash and foul each other by accident, such as both going for and with eyes on a ball in AFL. Strategical fouls violate the traditional norms of cooperation and agreement to the essential rules and regulations of the game, or are perhaps not part of the games at all.

Bonus (basketball)

In the sport of basketball, the bonus situation occurs when one team accumulates a requisite number of fouls, which number varies depending on the level of play. When one team has committed the requisite number of fouls, each subsequent foul results in the opposing team's taking free throws regardless of the type of foul committed. Teams under the limit are commonly referred to as having fouls to give, and thus they can try to disrupt their opponents without being penalized free throws. These fouls reset every quarter or half depending on the rules in use.

Basketball is a ball game and team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules. Since being developed by James Naismith as a non-contact game that almost anyone can play, basketball has undergone many different rule variations, eventually evolving into the NBA-style game known today. Basketball is one of the most popular and widely viewed sports in the world.

3x3 basketball Basketball variant played on half of a regulation court

3x3 basketball is a form of the game played three a side on one basketball hoop. According to an ESSEC Business School study commissioned by the International Olympic Committee, 3x3 is the largest urban team sport in the world. This basketball game format is currently being promoted and structured by FIBA, the sport's governing body. Its primary competition is an annual FIBA 3X3 World Tour, comprising a series of Masters and one Final tournament, and awarding six-figure prize money in US dollars. The FIBA 3x3 World Cups for men and women are the highest tournaments for national 3x3 teams.

The FIBA 3x3 World Cup is a 3x3 basketball tournament for national teams organized by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The debut of the tournament then named as the FIBA 3x3 World Championship was held in August 2012 in Athens, Greece. The current champions are United States in the men's division and China in the women's division.


Big3 is a 3-on-3 basketball league founded by hip hop musician and actor Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz. The league consists of twelve teams whose rosters include both former NBA players and international players. The rules enforced in Big3 games contain major deviations from the official rules of 3-on-3 basketball as administered by FIBA. In January 2020, Big3 announced its rule set would be the core of a new basketball variant called "Fireball3".


  1. 1 2 3 4 "NBA Rules History". NBA. 2008-05-02. Archived from the original on 2011-03-03. Retrieved 2017-11-23.
  2. 1 2 "ArticleList NBA Rule No. 12: Fouls and Penalties". NBA. 2001-01-31. Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2017-11-23.
  3. 1 2 Caron, Emily (May 10, 2019). "NBA Playoffs Flagrant and Technical Foul Rules, Suspensions Explained". Sports Illustrated . Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  4. 2018 Official Basketball Rules (PDF). Mies, Switzerland: FIBA - International Basketball Federation. 2019. pp. 44–45.
  5. Greg Johnson (2011-05-26). "PROP approves rules changes". NCAA. Retrieved 2017-11-23.
  6. "NCAA Women's Basketball Playing Rules History" (PDF). Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  7. Anthony Chiusano (2017-03-17). "The flagrant foul at the end of Arkansas vs. Seton Hall explained". NCAA. Retrieved 2017-11-25.