Tokyo Olympics 2020: 5 Major rule differences between the NBA and Olympic basketball

nidhi_p
NBA
NBA

The NBA (National Basketball Association) is said to be one of the most premier leagues in worldwide basketball. Even though the league has a massive reach, the rules of the NBA are somehow not universal.

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics around the corner, it is important to know that there are differences in the rules applied in the NBA and the basketball event held at the Olympics. Basketball fans who are all geared up to watch the 2020 Olympics should be aware of the rules and know that they can't expect the same style of play.

You'll be surprised to know that except for the NBA, all other professional basketball leagues follow these rules while the Olympic committee adheres to the rules that are set out by FIBA (International Basketball Federation).

People do believe that there is a difference in the way the NBA is played in comparison to the other international events (such as the Olympics). This is not completely false as there are some clear-cut differences. Some differences can make quite a big difference.

Explore the NBA Draft 2024 with our free NBA Mock Draft Simulator & be the GM of your favorite NBA team.

Without further adieu, here are the top five concrete differences between the Olympic rules for basketball and the NBA rules.


#1 Time of the Game

Duration of play varies in the NBA and Olympics
Duration of play varies in the NBA and Olympics

Both the event at the Olympics and the NBA comprise of four quarters per match. But the length of each quarter in the Olympics is shorter than the quarters in a game in the NBA.

NBA stars are used to playing 12 minutes per quarter, but at the Olympics, it is 10 minutes a quarter. Hence the entire game in the NBA would last 48 minutes, whereas at the Olympics it would just last 40 minutes.

On that same note about timing, the Olympics too makes use of the 24-seconds shot clock and each overtime is five minutes long.

#2 Time outs

At the Olympics, only the coaches can call for time-outs.
At the Olympics, only the coaches can call for time-outs.

The difference in timeouts with regards to regular international rules set by the FIBA as opposed to the one set by the NBA is quite important.

The ones set by the FIBA that are implied in the Olympics are pretty straightforward. Here each team gets two timeouts in the first half of the game and three time outs in the second half of the game, apart from just one in the overtime period. Each timeout lasts a minute.

In the NBA, seven timeouts can be called throughout the game, each of which are 75 seconds in length. Additionally, a maximum of two timeouts can be called in the final three minutes of the 4th quarter. In case of overtime, each team is allowed an additional two timeouts each.

Another crucial difference is that, in the NBA, even a player can call a timeout whenever he feels the situation demands a break. However, in other FIBA based events, only the coach is allowed to call for timeouts.


#3 3-point line distinction rule

During the NBA the three point line is set at a longer distance than at the olympics
During the NBA the three point line is set at a longer distance than at the olympics

At the Olympics, the NBA stars enjoy a shorter distance from the point arc which is at 22 feet and 1.75 inches at the top of the arc and 21 feet and 8 inches from the corners.

In the NBA, the arc is set at 23 feet and 9 inches at the top of the arc and at 22 feet from the corners. This in turn means that at the Olympics, the players have to cover a shorter distance while protecting the arc from good shooters.

#4 Basket interference

The rim rules differ in the NBA and FIBA tournaments
The rim rules differ in the NBA and FIBA tournaments

In FIBA based events such as the Olympics, once the ball fits the rim of the basket, it is fair play for both the teams. Any player can reach the ball and either tip it in or move it away from the net. There are no restrictions when it comes to touching the ball once it has touched the rim.

The same doesn't go for the NBA. In the NBA, once the ball is above the rim of the basket, it cannot be touched by any of the players. If any player touches the ball after it is above the rim, it becomes an interference violation.

For players who love to play under the rim, this rule is quite the blessing. During the NBA season, players need to be careful not to violate this rule.


#5 Fouls

In the Olympics, only 5 fouls are allowed
In the Olympics, only 5 fouls are allowed

The number of personal fouls allowed in the NBA is 6, whereas in the Olympics (and other international tournaments), the number is 5. In the NBA, technical fouls are not counted for the foul limit while the same is counted in the Olympics.

While the time taken post one foul does not make too much of a difference, it is only because the game is eight minutes shorter than the NBA. Also, similar to the NBA, teams will get the bonus only after the 5th team foul in a particular quarter, and if it is the final two minutes, then the second.

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now