What Is A Carry In Basketball?

Following all the major basketball leagues, you probably have not heard of the term carry. All the players in the professional leagues are pros and know the rules of basketball.

However, in junior leagues, this term comes up quite often and as an avid follower of the game, one should know about all the terms and rules.

Given the fact that in the major leagues these violations are not called that much due to the professionalism of the players, they do happen.

And sometimes it has been noticed that the referees let some pass and don’t call out the players and make a foul. Either way, we are here to help you understand what the term carry means in basketball means and what does it stand for.

What Is A Carry In Basketball?

When a player has possession of the ball and puts his palm underneath the ball while dribbling and end up holding the all in the same position for a couple of seconds that is considered a violation.

Even if the player then continues to dribble the ball after palming it, it still is a violation and can have serious consequences. It is also known as “palming the ball” and turning the ball over”.

When players throw the ball up and don’t let it fall to the ground or dribble, do not move around whilst making this motion, this particular act is a violation.

One violation, two variants:

The violation is explained very clearly in the above paragraphs, however, it hasn’t been mentioned that there are two ways this violation can occur. The first is the carry dribble and the second one is the traveling dribble.

Both of these are violations of the same category yet differ in nature by slight fractions. Let’s look at both individually to understand them better.

Traveling Carry:

When the player moves around while dribbling the ball and at the same time decides to move his hand underneath it. In that instance, the ball is being dribbled and at the same time, the player is also moving his feet and moving around. This instance would be known as the traveling dribble.

Double dribbles carry:

A double dribble carry means that the player who holds the ball is dribbling the ball and while making that motion he moves his hand underneath the ball to bring it to a halt for a couple of seconds and then restarts the dribbling motion.

This instance would be known as the double dribble carry. We’re the carrier of the ball let the ball come to a few seconds halt and then restart the dribble. The referee may call out the player and charge him the penalty.

What is the penalty of the carry-in basketball?

The penalty for carrying is very simple and basic. The player, who does the carry and is caught by the referee for performing this action, will have to hand over the ball to the opposing team. So basically your team will lose possession of the ball if your team player is caught carrying the ball.


The dribble and carry, both are very fluid movements and the players these days have learned the art of faking it and making it look like a dribble. They do not let the referee catch them in the motion and then reach the basket and score.

The referees also find it very difficult to catch a dribble and carry, due to the excellent masking skills of the players. However, fans who are sitting closer to the game may catch this motion and begin to chant and shout at the referees. This can create further chaos in the game.

Basketball fans are already very intense and animated, to top it all off add a violation that goes without being noticed by the referee that will certainly help rile the crowd up like crazy.

Even during crossovers, the ball rests in the hands of the player for a couple of seconds. This can also be considered a violation, yet the referees find it hard to call out fouls on such small unnoticeable violations.

This makes this game and this foul even more controversial and makes it tough for the players and the referees.


It is worth noting what the carry rule implies and means for the teams. It can either give you the ball or take the ball away from you. And it also depends on the behavior of the referee.

If the referee is lax about this particular violation you may not find it hard to pull off a carry during the match. However, if the referee has an eagle’s eye on the ball and watching all your moves carefully you may not be able to mask it that well.

At the end of the day, it will be your loss as you lose possession of the ball and are called out for the smallest of violations. Hence why bother risking it.

However, most players these days with their excellent masking skills can go unnoticed by the referees as they carry the ball through dribbles and during cross-overs as well.