Sport Rulebook

Palming: The Violation NBA Referees Often Overlook

Palming is one of the most common violations in basketball, yet it is often overlooked, especially in the professional level such as the NBA. This article seeks to explore the subject of palming in the NBA in two parts.

The first section looks at the definition of palming and the enforcement of its violation, while the second section explains why NBA referees often ignore palming violations. Part One: Palming Violations in the NBA

Palming, also known as carrying or carrying the ball, is a violation that occurs when a player places his hand under the ball while dribbling, and then picks it up to continue dribbling.

This action allows a player to control the ball for an extended period and gives them an unfair advantage over their opponent. The NBA, like any basketball league, forbids palming and other violations, which referees are responsible for enforcing.

Referees observe and determine whether a player is carrying the ball or palming, and they have specific guidelines that they follow in making such a call. According to the rules, a player is palming if they:

– Put their hand under the ball

– Take their hand off the ball and then continue to dribble

– Move their hand to the side of the ball while dribbling

When a referee notices a palming violation, they will stop play and call a turnover, which means the opposing team will gain possession of the ball.

Part Two: Why NBA Referees Ignore Palming Violations

Palming in basketball can be an exciting move when done correctly. It helps players move the ball quickly across the court and can create a more spectacular game, especially for the fans.

However, the NBA has full entertainment in mind when staging games. Spectators want to see the players pull off incredible moves and make jaw-dropping shots, and palming can play into that.

In light of this, NBA referees are often considerate when calling palming violations. The league prioritizes entertainment value over strict officiating to keep fans engaged, excited, and interested in watching.

Palming, when executed correctly, can easily thrill the crowd, and referees will sometimes let it slide. Another reason why NBA referees ignore palming violations is that they do not want to be the deciding factor in who wins the game.

Although it is their job to enforce the rules, they also have good judgment in balancing the integrity of the game and keeping the fans happy. A strict enforcement of palming can disrupt the flow of the game and cause the players to play cautiously, diminishing the excitement of the game.

Furthermore, not all palming violations are easy to spot. NBA players are some of the best in the world, and they are incredibly skilled in hiding their palming motions.

In many cases, the referees may not see the violation or interpret the move as a legal dribble and not a carry violation. In conclusion, palming in basketball is a violation that occurs when players carry the ball during dribbling.

The NBA has strict rules against it, and referees are responsible for enforcing the violation. However, the NBA prioritizes entertainment value, and in some cases, referees might ignore palming violations.

Nevertheless, players should always strive to play by the rules, as breaking them can lead to turnovers and lost opportunities. Part Three: NBA’s Business Perspective

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is more than just a sports league; it is also a business.

As such, it strives to maximize revenue and profits. One of the ways the league achieves this is by prioritizing the entertainment value of the game over strict enforcement of rules like palming violations.

The NBA generates revenue from a variety of sources, including ticket sales, merchandise, and broadcasting rights. Fans are critical to the league’s revenue because their support generates sales, attracts sponsors, and creates a demand for the game.

The NBA understands that fans enjoy fast-paced and spectacular gameplay, which can include palming moves, and they want to keep them happy. In a game where a lot is at stake – from contracts and team reputation to player endorsements, NBA referees are not just making judgment calls because they believe the crowd wants to see wild skills on display.

Shifting refereeing standards to benefit the league’s business interests is a calculated move. The league can remain financially successful while ignoring some palming violations because allowing high-speed and beautiful moves to take place on the court is inherently valuable to sponsors who make money off the game.

For advertisers, it is better to feature players performing incredible and unforgettable moves that stick in viewers’ minds, even if it means softening the enforcement of certain rules. Advertisers may be deterred if the league’s talent is limited by overly strict enforcing of rules, which would hurt the NBA’s revenue, meaning those enviable contracts and salaries would take a hit as well.

In addition, an increased focus on rule enforcement, which would mean more technical fouls and turnovers, would restructure the entire flow of the game. A slower and more technical game would be less exciting for fans tuning in.

The NBA is aware that it is not just catering to hard-core basketball fans, but also casual viewers who might only tune into the game occasionally. Baby boomers, millennials, and now Gen Z are all significant assets the NBA want to tantalize with unique and juicy games and highlight reels.

Although the NBA is a business, it is still important to ensure integrity in the game. Referees must uphold the rules to the best of their ability, without entirely sacrificing the entertainment value.

They must make calls that are fair and justifiable, but also avoid being too technical. A crucial part of the NBA’s business model is retaining the loyalty of its fans, who are attracted to the athletic ability and skills of the players, as well as the excitement of the game.

Without their support, the business model falls apart. Overall, the NBA’s business perspective plays a significant role in shaping the game.

By prioritizing the entertainment value of the game, the league can attract sponsors, keep fans engaged, and generate revenue. However, the league must also maintain the integrity of the game and ensure that rules are enforced to an appropriate extent.

While the NBA may choose to overlook some palming violations to create a more spectacular show, they still aim to ensure that the game is fair, and the fans remain loyal. In conclusion, the NBA’s decision to ignore palming violations is primarily based on its business perspective.

The league prioritizes the entertainment value of the game to keep fans engaged and generate revenue. NBA referees carefully balance the rules’ enforcement with the game’s excitement.

Although the NBA is a business, it still aims to maintain the game’s integrity and ensure that the rules are enforced to an appropriate extent. Takeaway, palming violations are common in basketball, and even in the NBA, it can be overlooked for the sake of entertainment value and business success.


Q: What is palming in basketball? A: Palming occurs when a player carries the ball or puts their hand under the ball while dribbling.

Q: What is the NBA’s business perspective? A: The NBA prioritizes the entertainment value of the game to generate revenue from sources like ticket sales, broadcasting rights, and merchandising.

Q: Why do NBA referees ignore palming violations? A: NBA referees overlook palming violations to maintain the game’s flow and keep fans engaged while still enforcing the rules to the appropriate extent.

Q: What is the importance of the entertainment value in the NBA? A: The entertainment value in the NBA is critical as it attracts sponsors and retains the loyalty of fans, which, in turn, supports the league’s business model.

Q: What is the impact of the NBA’s decision to ignore palming violations? A: While the NBA’s decision to ignore palming can create a more entertaining show, it can also undermine the rules’ integrity, leading to fewer exciting and memorable games.

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