What is a Carry in Basketball?

What is a Carry in Basketball

In basketball, a carry is a violation that occurs when the ball handler stops dribbling, holds the ball in one or both hands, and then dribbles again. It can also happen when the player’s hand is placed underneath the ball. Carrying can be similar to a double dribble and a traveling violation, which means the ball turnovers to the other team.


But basketball fans may be left wondering why carrying is illegal in basketball. Does a high dribble count as a carry? And, though they are similar, what is the difference between a carry and a double dribble or a traveling violation?


Here is a complete breakdown of a carry during a basketball game.


Is a High Dribble a Carry?

Is a High Dribble a Carry

A high dribble occurs when a basketball player dribbles the ball higher than usual. It is good practice not to dribble higher than your shoulders at any time, but does that mean it is a violation? A high dribble is not a violation, and most refs will not issue a carrying call.


As long as the offensive player keeps their hand on the top side of the ball, it counts as a regular dribble. A carry violation is called only when the dribbler’s hand moves to the bottom of the ball. When this happens, it is known as “palming the basketball.” Palming usually takes place when a dribble has gone too high, and the only place the dribbling player can regain control of the ball is from the bottom.


How Long Is a Carry in Basketball?

How Long Is a Carry in Basketball

Long story short, the act of carrying the ball is very short. From the point the player places their hand on the bottom part of the ball after a dribble, the ref should start looking for that carrying call. A carry should be called if the player dribbles again or takes too many steps. However, it is essential to realize that some moves initially appear as a carry but are not.


For example, some players may like to perform hesitation dribbles before going in for a field goal or a simple backboard shot. These dribbles make it seem like the player has picked up the ball, but they don’t. These tend to occur at the three-point line and confuse the defensive player. The downside is that it may also confuse the ref, who may call a carry violation.


Why Is Carrying Illegal in Basketball?

Why Is Carrying Illegal in Basketball

Carries are different from many other violations because they are usually done unintentionally. Usually, the player has no idea that they even committed the error. Usually, a carry occurs after a high dribble, and the player tries to get the ball back under control. However, just because it is unintentional does not stop it from being an illegal move. For this reason, teaching correct dribbling skills starts in youth basketball.


A carry is illegal in basketball simply because it is an incorrect dribble. The NBA basketball rules on dribbling clearly state that “a player who is dribbling may not put any part of his hand under the ball and carry it from one point to another or bring it to a pause and then continue to dribble again.”


This action will result in a carrying violation against the player. A carry is a dribbling action that will give you an unfair advantage over the opposing team.


What Is the Difference Between Carrying and Traveling in Basketball?

What Is the Difference Between Carrying and Traveling in Basketball

A carry and a travel violation are very similar in basketball, and some refs will even use the two calls synonymously. A travel violation penalty occurs when the ball is in a player’s hand while the player’s feet are still moving. Traveling happens after the player takes three steps without dribbling the ball.


To be considered a carry, the player will stop dribbling with their hand on the lower part of the basketball, and their feet will continue moving. In this case, the referee will either call a carry or travel.


Either way, the results are the same no matter what call takes place. After either a carry or travel happens, the ref will give possession of the ball to the opposing team.


What Is the Difference Between Carrying and a Double Dribble?

What Is the Difference Between Carrying And a Double Dribble

Carrying and a double dribble violation are also very similar and sometimes called synonymously by the referees. A carry and a double dribble are even more similar than a carry and a walk. A double dribble occurs when a player picks up the ball from his dribble and then begins to dribble again.


To be considered a carry in this situation, the player will pick the ball up from the bottom side, with his palm facing up, and then start dribbling again. Sometimes, the player does this in a fairly fluid movement, with only a tiny hesitation move. However, College basketball and the NBA rarely experience a carrying call since players don’t make this mental mistake.


The results are the same whether the ref calls a carrying violation or a double dribble in a basketball game. The opposing team will receive possession of the ball, and the game will continue.


Conclusion: What Is a Carry in Basketball?

In conclusion, a carry in basketball occurs when the ball handler stops dribbling, holds the ball in one or both hands, and then begins dribbling again. When a carry is called, the opposing team is awarded possession of the ball. However, due to the skillset of players in the NBA, WNBA, and College basketball, carry calls tend to be rare.


High dribbles are generally not considered a carrying violation unless the ball handler has placed his hand on the bottom half of the ball with his palm facing up. Carries are also very similar to walks and double dribbles, and refs may even call one when they meant the other. They might even call both of them at the same time.


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