Why Do Basketball Players Hang On The Rim After Dunking?

Sometimes, you’d see players dunking and just hanging on the rim.

Why exactly would they do this? And is this legal?

Hanging in the ring after dunking isn’t allowed in basketball if done to taunt the opposing team. But it’s legal if a player hanged in the rim to land safely or avoid others.  

So, why exactly is there a rule like this? Is there a specific time a player is allowed to hang?

Let’s find out.  

Why do basketball players hang onto the rim after dunking?

Basketball players, especially professionals, love to dunk.

It’s a surefire way to score since they’re literally chucking the ball in the rim.

But why do they hang onto the rim after dunking? There are a few reasons:

Reason #1: To Land Safely

One main reason players hang onto the rim after dunking is to regain their balance.

Once a player goes up in the air for a dunk, their body will want to keep going forward since they jumped ahead.

But since they touched the rim, the momentum will stop. Imagine if they didn’t hang onto the rim – they may land awkwardly.

This is especially true if they had much momentum going into the dunk.

So by hanging onto the rim for just a bit until they regain balance, they can land safely on two feet – which is the ideal landing.

Related: Why Do NBA Players Always Get Injured? (We Found Out Why)

Reason #2: To Avoid Other Players

Aside from protecting themselves from sprains and injuries, players hang onto the rim to avoid others.

Defenders usually try to stop players when they go up for a dunk.

There would even be a teammate closing in in case of a miss to get the rebound.

But that means that the landing spot of the dunker would be clogged with players. He could land on someone if he doesn’t hang onto the rim.

So, players sometimes check to see if anyone’s down them or nearby before landing.

Reason #3: To Taunt the Opposing Team

Call it confidence or arrogance, but many players love taunting other players.

Aside from trash-talking, players love to throw physical taunts at their enemies whenever there’s a chance.

A dunk is already an emphatic way to show your scoring prowess. But sometimes, players would hang onto the rim unnecessarily long just to taunt.

They would even stare down at the opposing players while doing so or shout.

But among the three reasons listed, this last one is actually not allowed in most professional leagues.

Is Hanging on the Rim After a Dunk Against the Rules?

Hanging on the rim after a dunk in the NBA is against the rules and considered a technical foul.

According to the NBA rulebook Section IV, “An offensive player who deliberately hangs on his basket ring, net, backboard or support during the game shall be assessed a non-unsportsmanlike technical foul.”

The exception is when the player hangs on the ring to avoid getting an injury to himself or other players.

So, as long as he’s doing it to land safely or avoid other players, he’s good to go.

Aside from that, these aren’t allowed:

  • Players pulling themselves up on the rim
  • Hanging and making obscene gestures

Since there’s not a specified amount of time that players are allowed to hang in the rim, it’s up to the officials. They’ll determine whether it was done for acceptable reasons or to taunt.  

Why is Hanging on the Ring Against the Rules?

We now know that hanging in the ring isn’t allowed if it’s not to land safely or to avoid others.

But why exactly is it against the rules?

Although there are no reasons explicitly stated by the NBA in their rulebook, there are obvious reasons for it.

1. For the safety of everyone

Obviously, the NBA and most other professional leagues prioritize the safety of everyone.

They want fans to be entertained, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of injuries.

So when players hang to the rim unnecessarily, they endanger themselves and everyone around them.

They can slip or even break the backboard.

2. So the rim wouldn’t become tilted

Another reason why hanging in the rim is against the rules is so the rim wouldn’t become tilted.

Although modern rims are strong enough that they wouldn’t bend or tilt easily, they’re still not perfect.

There are even instances where games can be delayed for a long time to get the rim to center.

So to avoid unnecessary game delays, the league wouldn’t allow anyone to hang excessively on the rim.  

3. To avoid breaking the rim, net, or backboard

Modern backboards are now stronger than ever before. But back then, so many NBA players, especially Shaquille O’Neal, broke the backboard.

Although the rim and backboard are now more robust, they still can’t let players have free reign. Plus, rings cost a lot of money, so it’s better just to make it illegal to hang onto the rim.

Final Thoughts

Dunks are one of the best highlights in any basketball game. But they’re also risky, especially if the landing isn’t done right. That’s why players would sometimes hang onto the rim after dunking.

But if they just do that to taunt the opponents, it’s illegal and will be called a technical foul.

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