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Can a Basketball Player Step Out of Bounds & Step Back in & Touch the Ball?

author image Richard Manfredi
Richard Manfredi has more than a decade of professional writing experience, both in the media and at a corporate level. Since 2003, he has worked in the public relations industry, creating and executing campaigns for technology and entertainment companies. Manfredi is also a journalist who has worked for the "Orange County Register," as well as several online publications.
Can a Basketball Player Step Out of Bounds & Step Back in & Touch the Ball?
Basketball Photo Credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

The rules of basketball make it pretty clear that you can't touch the ball while any part of you is out of bounds. The rules are different if a player steps out without the ball. Players who go out of bounds can legally rejoin the play and touch the ball once they have both feet back on the court.

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Establishing Position

Players are considered in or out of bounds based on where their feet were before they touched the ball. If a player leaps from out of bounds to touch a ball before she lands in-bounds, it's a turnover. The reverse is also true, as players can jump from inside the court and touch a ball as long as they're not touching it when they land out of bounds. An example is a player leaping to tip a ball that was going out of bounds toward a teammate to avoid a turnover.

Rules Comparisons

The requirements for players leaving and reentering the field of play are different for basketball than in some other sports. For example, in football, a receiver who leaves the field without being forced out becomes an ineligible. Any pass he catches will be waived off.

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