Can You Get 31/40 on This Basketball Knowledge Quiz?

By: Gavin Thagard

Can You Get 31/40 on This Basketball Knowledge Quiz?
Image: Keith Allison via WikiCommons

About This Quiz

It's hard to imagine that basketball started with the simple goal of putting a ball into a basket, a literal basket. Looking at the sport today, the original rules of the game make it seem like an ancient practice, played by some distant dynasty, where only the most privileged members of society could take part. Maybe there is some truth in that, but it's certainly not the way that basketball is played today. 

In the current era, basketball has become a cultural phenomenon marked by full-court sprints and highflying actions. Its popularity is mostly predicated on how many points each team can score as players fire away at the basket throughout the game. No league better exemplifies this than the NBA, but there is plenty of action at different levels to keep participants involved and fans entertained. 

How familiar are you with the sport known as basketball? From the positions on the court to the way statistics are determined, can you score on every question we throw your way? Be careful, though, because not knowing the rules might just be your downfall. 

If you're ready to give this quiz your best shot, jump in and see if you're more of a 3-and-d player or an all-time great. 

Rebound What is it called when a player grabs a missed shot?
Hold
Take away
Steal
Rebound
Wilt Chamberlain finished his NBA career as the all-time leader in rebounds, racking up 23,924 of them throughout his career. In his best season, Chamberlain averaged 27.2 rebounds per game.

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Goaltending Why does an offense get two points if the ball is tipped above the rim by a defender?
Goaltending
During an NBA game in 2012 between the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns, Jermaine O'Neal received a goaltending call on the final shot of the game, which was tied before the shot. The call costs the Suns an opportunity to win the game in overtime.
Scoring block
Early blocking foul
Stoppage

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5 Players On Court Each team is allowed to put how many players on the court?
Three
Five
The Golden State Warriors from 2016 through 2019 put together one of the best five man lineups ever. Led by Steph Curry, the team won two straight championships and would have won a third had injuries not taken their toll.
Seven
11

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Tip off Are you familiar with how the NBA determines who gets the basketball to start a game?
Coin flip
Home team
Away team
Tip off
The NBA team that wins the tip off and opens the game with possession of the ball receives the ball back in the fourth quarter. The other teams receive the ball in the second and third quarters.

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Point guard Do you know which position is typically responsible for orchestrating an offense?
Point guard
Isiah Thomas is regarded as one of the best true point guards the league has ever seen. The 12-time All-Star was a team leader who led the Detroit Pistons to two NBA Championships, earning the Finals MVP in one of them.
Shooting guard
Power forward
Center

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Scorer's table If a player wants to substitute into the game, they must go where?
Substitution line
Scorer's table
Players can receive chalk at the scorer's table, which is used to dry their hands for a better grip on the ball. LeBron James used to throw this chalk into the air during his pregame ritual, but the NBA forced him to stop.
Entrance table
Entrance box

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easy layup The best players can get inside for an easy layup, which is worth how many points?
One
Two
When a team needs two points, Kyrie Irving has proven he's one of the best in the business at getting them. The skilled offensive weapon uses a variety of moves to get to the basket, hitting his shots 46 percent of the time.
Three
Four

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Number 5 Which number is assigned to the center position?
1
3
4
5
There have been many great centers throughout the history of the game, but none were quite as dominant on offense as Shaquille O'Neal in his prime. O'Neal bullied opposing players underneath the basket, where the big man scored at will.

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Foul line Where does a player go to shoot foul shots?
Penalty box
Foul line
At just over 98 percent, Jose Calderon's 2008-09 season was the best of any player from the free throw line. Calderon accomplished the feat while playing 68 games for the Toronto Raptors.
Baseline
Foul arc

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Man defense Do you know which type of defense requires each defender to play a single offensive player one on one?
Zone defense
Trap defense
Press defense
Man defense
Scottie Pippen, who played sidekick to Michael Jordan, was one of the greatest one-on-one defenders throughout the '90s. His defensive skill helped the Chicago Bulls bring home six NBA championships.

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inbound pass After an inbound pass, where does an offensive player have to progress the ball not to get a backcourt violation?
Opposing the free throw line
Three-point line
Quarter court
Half-court
In a 2007 college basketball game, Byron Eaton hit an incredible half-court shot in the second half against the Texas Longhorns. His shot seemed almost impossible considering he was turned away from the basket and falling out of bound when he hit it.

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Small forward Can you identify the offensive position that's abbreviated with an SF?
Small forward
By tradition, LeBron James has been a small forward throughout his NBA career. However, considering that he controls the ball most of the time, he is actually more of a point forward in today's NBA.
Single forward
Small flanker
Shift flanker

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Assist What does a player earn if they pass the ball to a teammate who immediately scores?
Assist
By the end of his 19-year career, John Stockton had more assists than any other player to ever step on the court. Stockton benefited from playing alongside Karl Malone, who was called "The Mailman" because he delivered the passes to the basket.
Help
Completion
And one

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Dunk A player has accomplished what if they thrust the ball downward through the basket?
High fly
Dunk
Nicknamed "The Human Highlight Film," Dominique Wilkins was one of the most prolific and violent dunkers in the league from the time he entered the NBA in 1982. His ability earned him two NBA Slam Dunk Contest trophies.
Linedrive
Alley-oop

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Pick and roll What is it called when an offensive player without the ball sets a screen then moves towards the basket?
Power screen
Heavy roll
Dive
Pick and roll
Few players in NBA history could defend the pick and roll quite like Hakeem Olajuwon. The two time NBA Defensive Player of the Year had a 7 feet 6 inch wingspan that allowed him to defend both offensive players at the same time while cutting off any passing lanes.

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Loose-ball foul Can you name the personal foul given out if neither player is in possession of the ball?
Loose-ball foul
Players in the NBA who can't shoot free throws are often fouled on purpose near the end of games. Defenses use this strategy to get the ball back, while also not allowing the other team to run up the score or run out the clock.
Double foul
Offender foul
Possession foul

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24 seconds An offense must get a shot off before the play clock runs out. How long do they have?
24 seconds
Buzzer beaters are all the rage in the NBA, firing up a crowd and cementing a star's legacy as a clutch shooter. Damian Lillard hit a legendary buzzer beater against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2019 NBA Playoffs that sent the Thunder home and his Portland Trailblazers to the next round.
30 seconds
35 seconds
40 seconds

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Technical foul Which foul is called on a coach for requesting a timeout their team doesn't have?
Bench foul
Flagrant foul
Personal foul
Technical foul
If an NBA coach receives two technical fouls, they are ejected from the game. Some coaches, like Gregg Popovich, have been known to purposely get thrown out of a game to send a message to both the referees and his players.

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Steal If a defender gets the ball away from an offensive player, they're awarded which stat?
Takeaway
Turnover
Reverse
Steal
In a matchup against the Miami Heat in 1999, Kendal Gill came into the game looking to make an impact on the defensive side of the ball. He did just that, tying the single-game record for steals by pressuring the offense for 11 takeaways.

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When a player touches the ball Do you know when the play clock starts on an inbound pass?
When a player touches the ball
In a 1995 playoff game, Reggie Miller scored eight points in only nine seconds. Three of those points came when he stole an inbound pass from the opposing team and scored on a three-point shot.
When the ball first hits the court
After half court
After two steps from the ball handler

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10 ft A basketball rim is placed how high off the ground?
8 ft
9 ft
10 ft
Considering the rim is 10 feet off the ground, taller players have a natural advantage when it comes to basketball. Yao Ming, for example, stood 7 feet 6 inches, which made him a problem for opposing players on both offense and defense.
12 ft

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Alley-oop When a player slams down a dunk on a pass from another player, which type of play has occurred?
And one
Backdoor shot
Alley-oop
When Chris Paul joined the Los Angeles Clippers in 2011, he was placed beside two high flying big men in Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The trio put on a show with alley-oop after alley-oop, which earned them the nickname "Lob City."
Bank shot

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Block A defender who stops a shot by making contact with their hand earns what?
Takeaway
Turnover
Box out
Block
Dikembe Mutombo was one of only a handful of players to make it into the Hall of Fame because of his defensive prowess. Mutombo only averaged 9.8 points per game during his career, but he did average 2.8 blocks per game.

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Charge Can you identify the foul called when an offensive player with the ball runs into a defensive player in a stationary position?
Flop
Charge
LeBron James preserves his body during the season, but he isn't afraid to put it all on the line in the biggest moments. He did just that in the 2018 NBA Finals, stepping in front of Kevin Durant to take a charge call. However, the referees reviewed the call and overturned it in favor of Durant.
Interference
Stop

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NBA overtime ends Are you familiar with when an NBA overtime ends?
After the clock runs out
The Oklahoma City Thunder played the Philadelphia 76ers in a matchup that went into three overtimes in 2017. In the end, the Thunder came out victorious after Andre Robertson hit a shot under the basket after receiving a pass from Russell Westbrook.
After the first team scores
After both teams have an opportunity to score
After one team gets 10 points

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Flagrant 2 In the NBA, a player is ejected from the game on which type of foul?
Player foul
Flagrant 1
Flagrant 2
Draymond Green was suspended from Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals after he received his fourth flagrant foul of the playoffs. The suspension allowed the Cleveland Cavaliers to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the series to win the championship.
Technical foul

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Foul A player has committed what if they break the rules on the court?
Penalty
Infraction
Foul
Players in the current era of basketball are often criticized for being too soft as the rules of the game have changed, resulting in less contact and easier shots. The rule changes have opened up a place for smaller players, who rely on spacing and speed to get open shots.
Violation

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Flopping Players are often criticized for exaggerated the extent of a foul. What is this called?
Flopping
James Harden has become a master at flopping while also getting the foul called against the opposing player. It's one of the reasons he has led the league in scoring the past two seasons, even earning the NBA MVP in 2018.
Faking
Unsportsmanlike conduct
Falsifying

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Double dribble The person in possession of the basketball cannot stop their dribble then restart, or they have committed which foul?
Late dribble
Travel
Double dribble
Not even the best players in the NBA are immune to committing a double dribble in the heat of the actions. Kevin Durant did just that in the final seconds of a game in 2019 against the Miami Heat. The problem is that the referees forgot to call the foul, but that's what Durant earns for being a star in the NBA.
False start

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5 seconds On an inbound pass, a player has how long to get rid of the ball?
Three seconds
Five seconds
Chauncey Billups made a living from being one of the craftiest players in the NBA, which led to his sneaky inbound pass off Kobe Bryant's back in the Western Conference Finals. Bryant, who played for the other team, had no idea the pass was coming, leading to an easy score for Billups.
Eight seconds
10 seconds

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The restricted area To draw an offensive foul, a defender must position themselves outside what?
The foul line
The free throw lane
The restricted area
Anthony Tolliver has found a place in the NBA as a defensive specialist, particularly when it comes to drawing offensive fouls. This unique skill has earned Tolliver a place on 10 different teams throughout his NBA career.
The rim box

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Bank shot Are you familiar with the name given to a shot that bounces off the backboard and goes in?
Back shot
Fadeaway
Pull up
Bank shot
Tim Duncan made so many bank shots during his time in the NBA that it almost seemed like the 15-time All-Star had found a cheat code to the game. His skill off the glass helped the San Antonio Spurs win five NBA titles.

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5 fouls When does a team enter the bonus due to fouls given?
3 fouls
5 fouls
Saving a foul for a late-game situation can sometimes be crucial in the final shot attempt. The foul can both allow a defense to reposition itself while also taking time off the clock as it runs down.
7 fouls
10 fouls

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48 minutes How long is an NBA game?
30 minutes
48 minutes
Played in 1951, the longest game in NBA history lasted 78 minutes and spanned six overtimes before it finally ended. Oddly, the final score of the game was only 75-73 with the Indianapolis Olympians coming out victorious over the Rochester Royals.
60 minutes
120 minutes

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Elbow If a player wants to post up, where on the court should they go?
Top of the three point line
Corner of the three point line
Elbow
Kevin McHale was a masterful player from the elbow, which he used as part of his post-game. In his best season, McHale averaged 26 points per game while shooting over 60 percent from the field.
Above the foul line

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Clear path foul Do you know which foul is called during a fast break when an offensive player is hit by a defender to keep them from scoring an easy basket?
Clear path foul
No team over the last several seasons has been as good as the Golden State Warriors when it comes to getting fast breakpoints. With a roster full of players who could push the ball, opposing teams racked up quite a few clear path fouls against them.
Open court foul
Breakaway foul
Backcourt foul

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22 feet How far from the basket is the corner three-point line in the NBA?
15 feet
18 feet
22 feet
In large part to the three-point shooting ability of the Golden State Warriors, the NBA has changed in recent years into a three-point shooting frenzy. The best shooters now pull up from just about anywhere beyond the arc if they are left open.
25 feet

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hand check When is a defender allowed to hand check an offensive player?
When they are moving
Before they cross the half court line
Beyond the three point line
When they have their back to the basket
Nikola Jokic, who plays power forward for the Denver Nuggets, has proven he's as good as anyone with his back to the basket. Not only can he score from this position, but the big man is also a great passer.

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6 timeouts in game A team is awarded how many timeouts throughout a game?
Three
Five
Six
Coaches implement a variety of strategies when it comes to utilizing their timeouts throughout a game. One reason timeouts are called is to stop the momentum of another team when a player gets hot and is scoring at will.
Eight

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Free throw lane What is another name for the key on the basketball court?
Foul lane
Free throw lane
Giannis Antetokounmpo is a force coming down the free throw lane, where he slams the ball on any defender in front of him. His highflying ability has led many to call him the "Greek Freak."
Charge arc
Post zone

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You Got:
/40
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