What is the 13 Rule in Basketball?

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world, and it has its own set of rules and regulations that must be followed in order to ensure the game is played fairly and safely. One of these rules is the 13-second rule, which is an official rule of the National Basketball Association (NBA). This rule states that a team must attempt to score within 13 seconds of gaining possession of the ball, or else they will be penalized with a turnover. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the 13-second rule in basketball, including its origin, what it means for the game, and how it is enforced.

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History of the 13-Second Rule

The 13-second rule was introduced to the NBA in 2001 as part of a larger effort to improve the flow of the game and reduce the number of stalled possessions. The rule was introduced by then-NBA Commissioner David Stern, who believed that the game had become too slow and needed to be sped up. The 13-second rule was meant to be a way to encourage teams to move the ball up the court quickly, as well as to prevent teams from holding onto the ball for an extended period of time without making an attempt at scoring.

What Does the 13-Second Rule Mean?

The 13-second rule is a simple concept: if a team is in possession of the ball, they must make an attempt at scoring within 13 seconds of gaining possession or else they will be penalized with a turnover. This means that once the ball is inbounded, the team must make an effort to move the ball up the court and either score or pass the ball to a teammate in order to reset the clock. If the clock reaches 13 seconds and the team has not made an attempt at scoring, then the ball is given to the opposing team and the team that was in possession is penalized with a turnover.

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How Is the 13-Second Rule Enforced?

The 13-second rule is enforced by the referees on the court. The referees will keep track of the clock and will call a violation if the 13-second clock runs out before the team in possession has made an attempt at scoring. The referees will also watch for any other violations that may lead to a stalled possession, such as a player holding the ball for too long without passing or dribbling.


The 13-second rule is an important rule in basketball that encourages teams to move the ball up the court quickly and to make an effort to score within 13 seconds of gaining possession. While this rule can be difficult to enforce, it is an important part of the game and should be followed by all teams in order to ensure a fair and exciting game.