Does The Basketball Have To Go Through The Net? (To Count)

Have you ever shot a ball that went through the rim but got stuck in the net or went out on the side of the net?

The big question is, does this count as a basket?

The basketball doesn’t have to go through the net for it to count. It just needs to go through the rim itself. When basketball was first played, they used baskets as hoops so the ball wouldn’t be able to physically go through like it would with a net.

But if that’s the case, what’s the purpose of the net? In this guide, we’ll uncover the answers to all of that and more.   

Does the Basketball Have to Go Through the Net?

In basketball, a lot of unpredictable things can happen anytime. For instance, a basketball can get stuck on top or at the back of the backboard. This has happened a lot of times in the NBA and other leagues.

But what if the basketball goes through the hoop but doesn’t go completely through the net?

The basketball doesn’t have to go through the net for it to count. It just has to go through the rim. So even if it gets stuck in the net or goes out sideways in the net, it still counts.

The official NBA rulebook states that:

A legal field goal or free throw attempt shall be scored when a ball from the playing area enters the basket from above and remains in or passes through the net.

This rule makes perfect logical sense because back when basketball was first invented, they had peach baskets as their hoop.

Every time a shot went it, the ball won’t be able to go through the basket and they had to use a stick or a broom to get it out.  

What is the Purpose of the Net?

If you don’t need the basketball to completely pass the net to count as a field goal, then what is the purpose of the net?

It serves several purposes with the first two one being the primary:

1. So officials, players, and everyone can easily see if the ball went in

2. To retrieve the ball easily

3. So players and fans can hear the swish sound

While the NBA rule states that the ball doesn’t have to go through the net to be counted, they still mandate courts to have them.

This is so everyone most importantly the officials and players could see if the ball went it. If you’ve ever played in a netless hoop, a successful shot looks like an airball a lot of times.

Another primary reason why nets are important is for easy retrieval of the ball. The net slows down the ball as it goes down so that players can easily get it from one place and then inbound immediately.

Lastly, hearing the swish sound when a basketball goes through the net is so satisfying for everyone that the NBA even has microphones under the rims for this reason.  

Why is There Confusion About This?

A lot of non-players and even players would naturally get confused about this topic. After all, you would naturally think that the net is part of the rim since it’s attached to it.

But when you think at it logically, the rule makes sense since the ball can get stuck or may pass through the sides of the net.

This is especially true if you’re playing in a street court and the nets are a damaged.

Or you might encounter a rare situation where the ball passed through the rim, but the net pushed it back out. In both cases, the basket still counts.

What is Basket Interference?

While a ball not going through the hoop completely might be rare, a basket interference can happen more frequently.

It’s when a player touches the rim, net, or the backboard while the ball was attempted as a field goal.

In simple terms, no player defensively or offensively, can interfere with the natural flow of the ball once it has been attempted as a field goal.

The violation for basket interference when the defensive team commits it is that the offensive team is awarded the points for the basket.

But if the offensive team commits basket interference, it will be a turnover and they will lose possession of the ball.

What is Goaltending?

Another similar thing that can happen near the rim is goaltending. It’s a rule that states prohibit players from touching the ball while it’s in a downward trajectory to the rim.

A defensive player will naturally try to block a shot but when the shot is on its downward trajectory, no one can stop it.


If the basketball enters the rim through the bottom, does it count?

No. If the ball entered at the bottom of the rim which is through the net, then it’s a turnover. For a field goal to occur, the ball needs to enter the rim from above.

Can you score by bouncing the ball off the ground?

If you bounced a ball and somehow it made its way through the rim, then it will be counted. But the question is, this is an extremely difficult shot to make which is why no one will attempt it.

Plus, the moment the ball bounces in the ground, players will scramble for it before it even has a chance to enter the ring.

If a ball goes through the hoop twice in one shot, does it count?

If a ball goes through a hoop and somehow the net sways it back up and into the hoop again, the first basket is only counted. It can be two or three points depending on where the shooter shot it.

The second hoop doesn’t count because theoretically, no one shot it (except the net).

Final Thoughts

Even if you the ball doesn’t go through the net completely, it will still count according to the rules. But even if that’s the case, the chance of this happening is rare.

Read these next:

Leave a Comment