How Do NBA Rules Compared to FIBA?

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Even though basketball was invented in the USA, the game’s rules vary. Different organizations have rules and regulations and have many differences and similarities. How do NBA rules compare to FIBA?

Both organizing bodies have four quarters during regular time; the NBA works on a 12-minute per quarter while FIBA has 10 minutes. Referees officiate the game; FIBA has two, and the NBA requires three.

Fans will appreciate the game more with this rundown of the essential things to know when watching either FIBA or NBA games.

Are FIBA and NBA Rules the SameAre FIBA and NBA Rules the Same?

There is a difference between NBA and FIBA rules. The USA team, composed of NBA players, found difficulty adapting to FIBA rules and officiating with setbacks from Australia (83-91) and Nigeria (87-90) in tune-up games before taking off to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Playing Time

The NBA has four 12-minute quarters, while FIBA has a shorter time of four 10-minute quarters. Both organizations have a five-minute extension period.

Duration Between Quarters

FIBA has a two-minute break between the first, second, third, and fourth quarters, and the NBA has 90 seconds in-between quarters.


Two referees officiate games in FIBA, and the NBA has three.

Court Dimensions

FIBA players cover a court size of 91”10” (27.99 m) L x 49’2.5” (15 m) W, whereas NBA players must run up and down more with a bigger court size of 94’ (28.65 m) L x 50’ (15.24 m) W court.

Three-Point Line

The NBA’s three-point line is 24’2.8” (7.24 m) far from the basket at the center and shorter at the sides at 21’9.8” (6.7 m).

The FIBA court has every side of the three-point line at the same distance of 22’1.5″ (6.7 m).

Free Throw Lane

Fouled NBA players shoot their gift shots on a 19’ (5.79 m) L x 16’ (4.88 m) W free throw lane, while FIBA players shoot theirs on a 19’ 3.4” (5.8 m) L x 16’1” (4.9 m) W free throw lane.

Individual Fouls

It takes five fouls for a FIBA basketeer to foul out from the game, i.e., personal and technical fouls combined. 

In the NBA, a player is out of the game after committing six fouls, and technical fouls do not count as personal fouls. However, an NBA player can be ejected from the game for committing two technical fouls.

Team Fouls

An NBA team with five team fouls in a quarter enters the bonus. A team that commits two fouls in the last two minutes of a quarter enters the bonus situation and gives the opposing team two free throws. Two free throws will be awarded on the sixth foul to the team that took the foul.

FIBA rules grant two free throws to the other team when a team commits five fouls.

Flagrant Fouls

Flagrant fouls are called in the NBA. Flagrant foul penalty 1 (FF1) is called for unnecessary contact by a player with his opponent, and flagrant foul penalty 2 (FF2) is unnecessary contact and use of excessive force. A player committing an FF2 is automatically ejected, and so does a player with two FF1s. Both fouls have a penalty of two gift shots and ball possession.

FIBA doesn’t have flagrant fouls, but they have rules covering unsportsmanlike fouls like FF1 and disqualifying fouls the same as FF2.

Play Review

In the last two minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime period, an NBA coach can challenge a referee’s call and overturn a decision based on the results of a play review.

Coaches cannot challenge a call by the FIBA referees. The referee’s decision stays.


A timeout is given to each team in every overtime. FIBA teams have five timeouts, two in the first half and three in the second half. Coaches can call two timeouts in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter.

Just the coach can call a timeout.

Each NBA team is allowed seven timeouts in regulation. Every squad can call four timeouts in the last quarter and two timeouts after three minutes of the last quarter. Each team has two timeouts in overtime.

Aside from the coach, a player with ball possession can call a timeout.

Goal Tending

Both governing bodies recognize goaltending as a violation after the ball touches the backboard.

Additionally, NBA players cannot touch the ball while it is above the rim or inside the imaginary cylinder.

FIBA athletes can touch the ball in the cylinder area even if the ball is in a downward movement.

Three-second Violation

Defensive players can stay as long as they want in the paint without any infraction, while offensive players are allowed only three seconds. 

NBA players deal with a three-second violation both on offense and defense.

How is NBA Different from FIBAHow is NBA Different from FIBA?

Basketball has a multitude of fans worldwide, with various leagues holding games with their own rules. Two of the well-known organizations are the NBA and FIBA.

The National Basketball Association or NBA comprises 30 teams, 29 from the United States and one from Canada. There are 499 players in the league for season 2022-23, including 120 foreign players from 40 countries.

The league started as the Basketball Association of America (BAA) on June 6, 1946 and merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) on August 3, 1949, to form the NBA. The franchises grew from 11 teams during inception to 30 through a series of expansions, cuts, and relocations.

FIBA stands for International Basketball Federation and is the governing body that manages basketball worldwide and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The organization was established in 1932 with eight founding national basketball federations; today, there are 212.

The committee establishes basketball rules and regulations to guide the different members of its basketball community, equipment, and facilities. FIBA prepares and supervises international competitions such as the World Cup (Men and Women), the Olympic Basketball Tournament, and 3×3 events.

FIBA has more international coverage than the NBA. As of 2020, only 33 regular season games were played by NBA teams abroad in Japan (12 games), Mexico (11 games), England (9 games), and France (1 game).

7 Similarities Between NBA and FIBA7 Similarities Between NBA and FIBA

There are many similarities and differences when comparing FIBA vs. NBA. However, the similarities between both organizations gave rise to a large fan base who enjoy watching their heroes do their stuff on the court.


Previously, NBA players were blocked by FIBA from playing in their events, and NBA players with the live contract were not allowed to play in FIBA tournaments. Doors were opened on May 9, 1990, when the NBA and FIBA reached an agreement to allow players to play for their national team and allow player transfers between the two organizations.

You’ll see familiar NBA faces wearing different jerseys when they play for their countries in the Olympics. Likewise, there’s an influx of international basketeers playing for different NBA franchises, like Nikola Jokić, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Dončić, Rudy Gobert, and Lauri Markkanen.

Three-point Shot

The three-point shot made the game exciting and explosive, leading to higher scores. It can be a game-changer when a team starts hitting the treys. You’ll be amazed when capable players from the NBA and FIBA make that three-point shot way beyond the arc.

It would be nice to see Steph Curry wear the USA uniform in the 2024 France Olympics and break the net with his accurate bombs.

Overtime Duration

It’s tiring for players, but a bonus to fans when the game goes into overtime. Both organizations require a five-minute extended playing time when the score is tied during regulation. The team with the most gas left and who wants more wins the game.

Halftime Break

Our NBA and FIBA heroes are humans, too; a 15-minute halftime break is a welcome respite. The break will allow players to hydrate and address pains to avoid injury. It will help players get enough rest to play hard in the second half.

Offensive Fouls

Neither organization do not treat offensive fouls as team fouls; instead, it’s considered a turnover resulting in a change of ball possession.

Shot Clock

Before the 24-second shot clock’s inception in the 1954-55 season, there was no time limit in an NBA game. Teams can hold onto the ball as much as they want. Opposing teams must foul and gain possession by recovering the ball from a missed free throw.  Just imagine how these types of games bore fans.

The Fort Wayne Pistons defeated the Minneapolis Lakers (19-18) on November 22, 1950. The Pistons attempted only 13 shots, keeping the ball most of the way. Weeks later, there were six overtimes between the Rochester Royals and Indianapolis Olympians, with each team attempting only one shot in every overtime.

FIBA previously used a 30-second shot clock but reduced the ticks to 24, leading to higher scores and exciting games.

Back Court Violation

The backcourt violation rules followed by FIBA and the NBA use eight seconds.

Wrapping Things Up: How Do NBA Rules Compared to FIBA?

When comparing FIBA vs. NBA rules, some similarities and differences set each governing body apart. Familiarity with these essential things can spell the difference between winning or losing a game if you’re a player or enjoying the game if you’re a fan.

Hopefully, this guideline helped you understand how basketball is played under the two organizations.

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.

Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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