What is a carry in basketball? [Definition & Guide]

Unless you are part of a hardcore basketball fan, the average audience will have a hard time understanding the rules and mistakes of basketball. This is one of the most common mistakes made in amateur tournaments carrying.

So,  What is a carry in basketball? A carry is a basketball violation that occurs when a dribbler continues to dribble after letting the ball rest in one or both hands.

A carry is similar to a double dribble where the player stops dribbling for a moment and then continues. In the case of a moving ball handler, the carry equals the trip. Palming is another colloquial name for carrying, which involves holding the ball with one hand so gravity doesn’t affect your carry.

To learn more about the laws and information related to infringement, continue reading this article.

What is a carry in basketball?

Carrying, known as “turning the ball over” or “palming the ball” in basketball, is a crime.

Ball handlers let their hand fly under the surface of the ball or place it on the lower half of the ball while dribbling. That will give the ball a moment’s rest. If the server then dribbles or moves his feet, it is a violation.

See more: What is a field goal in basketball?

If a player’s hand prevents the ball from going down or pushing the ball up, they cannot move their feet or dribble. Otherwise, the referee has the right to call it a carrying phase.

To learn more about carrying, watch this video.

Different variations of a carry in basketball

Depending on the player’s ball-handling process, we can divide carrying errors into different categories. In some cases, we have a double dribble when you technically stop the dribble when you start carrying the basketball. Traveling is another example of you still moving with the ball stopped in your hand.

This section will give you an overview of two versions of this basketball error.

Carry – Double dribble

This type of foul is prevalent in most basketball games. A double dribble occurs when the ball handler is dribbling and the player’s hand is under the ball, causing a stop.

If the player continues to dribble, it will be considered a carrying foul.

The referee calls this a double dribble because the player stops their dribble and resumes it after completing it.

See more: Best Grip Powder For Basketball

Carry – travel

A trip is when the player’s hand rests on the lower half of the ball while the player is in motion. Players choose to move forward with their feet instead of continuing to dribble. Some referees call this action traveling or carrying.

Hand signal for a carry violation

After blowing the whistle, the referee will extend his hand with his wrist and issue a call. He would then turn his hand upside down to mimic basketball players carrying the ball. The referee may repeat this action to inform the administrative staff.

What is the penalty for carrying the ball?

Both carry a double dribble and the trip has the same consequences. A penalty to the offending team is a turnover. The referee shall return the basketball to the opposing team at the point on the touchline nearest to the place of the foul. This penalty only applies when the referee detects fouling during play and signals.

How can you dribble without carrying the ball?

How Can You Dribble Without Carrying The Ball?

Dribbling in basketball

To avoid violations while competing, you need to practice a lot. A trick we often see in NBA players is to make sure your hands are always on the top or sides of the basketball.

With dribbling players, they need to try to raise their palms as high as possible. The complete practice of dribbling sometimes makes it difficult for you to perform certain moves in basketball. However, if you persevere, nothing is impossible.

Specific moves that might mislead people into a carry

There are certain moves that we often see at the professional levels of basketball, such as the NBA. NBA referees need a lot of knowledge and experience to distinguish them from mistakes.


The Hesi, also known as the “hesitation dribble”, is a technique that can be easily confused with the carrier if the player is not skilled. You have to dribble down the field and get to the three-point line, making it look like you’re going to shoot.

You have to fake a shot while dribbling. One trick is to act like you’re picking up the ball with your other hand, pause for a moment, then resume dribbling. They all move in one motion.

This move fools the opponent’s defense so they have to get up and try to block your shot. This move is complex and requires a lot of practice. Highly skilled players such as Isaiah Thomas often use the lack of movement in the game to create numerous scoring opportunities.


Crossovers in basketball

Crossovers in basketball

This move is prevalent in today’s game. This happens when players try to exploit defenses and trick them into going one way instead of the other.

To figure it out, you take the ball down and move it the other way against natural gravity.

Subtle crossovers sometimes slip the referee’s eye and they are recognized as one of the legal moves. Usually, there is no room for hesitation and worry. Any moment of your pause will easily catch the referee’s eyes to catch the mistake.

Stationary dribble

Players in attacking positions run and defend the ball while waiting for play to develop. As the defense approached, they passed the ball to another teammate who was ready.

If the defender becomes aggressive and intends to steal the ball, the dribbler’s natural reflex is to squeeze the ball to gain control.

Overhand crossover

If a player dribbles down the middle of the field in transition, they may try to put the opposing player in the open field.

For example, a right-handed dribbler will outrun an opponent by catching the ball with his right hand and throwing it over his left hand.

Who is the crossover king?

Allen Iverson the crossover king

Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson is one of the greatest basketball handlers of all time. In his rookie season in 1997, he surpassed Michael Jordan and became a star. His crossovers are so magical that many believe it is a carry in basketball.

Iverson’s crossovers are a wide but fast exaggerated cross that moves from left to right and then flies away from the defense. Many argue that Iverson is the originator of the crossover, but he feels that these innovations are necessary for his game and competition.

Allen Iverson once admitted that his legendary crossover was a type of carry against NBA rules. However, he is still a Hall of Famer, known for that particular skill.

It is up to the referee to decide whether the action is a violation. Until now, there are still many conflicting opinions and controversies about this unique dribbling technique.

Final thoughts

What is a carry in basketball?? A carry violation is an action that occurs when a player places a hand under the ball and stops it in motion.

Usually, you will see this error more when watching youth or amateur matches, because at that time the players are not familiar with the ball.

Appearing in professional leagues like the NBA is very difficult. Here the players are very adept at dribbling and can do a few tricks to hide the referee’s eyes.

I hope this article by Scott Fujita gives you more exciting knowledge about basketball. Don’t forget to share if you found it useful. Thanks for reading.

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