Why Do Basketball Teams Switch Sides After Halftime?

Why do basketball teams switch sides?

Do they just want to try different rims? Are there any differences between the two sides at all?

Basketball teams switch sides after halftime because it has been a long-standing practice. It’s to give the teams a fair chance at the two sides of the court. Lastly, it’s also for fans to get different views of each team.

So, to know more about this tradition, we’ve prepared the best guide for you.    

Why do Basketball Teams Switch Sides After Halftime?

If you’re wondering why exactly basketball teams switch sides, there are a handful of reasons for them.

Here are the three main reasons:

1. Because it’s in the rules (kind of)

Well, not exactly in the rules of most basketball leagues but it’s been the policy of many to change sides.   

This tradition started in football to give each team equal chances for sunlight and other elements.  It has since been adopted by other sports such as basketball, American football, and rugby.

Today, this tradition has carried on into every professional and even amateur basketball games.

2. To give equal chances to both teams

Another reason why this is a practice in basketball is to give equal chances to both teams.

Back then, courts weren’t perfect as some baskets were lose or the floor had some roughness on one end.

So, in the name of fairness, they let teams switch sides at halftime so they will have the same experiences.

Today, most professional courts are maintained and inspected to perfection before every game. They make sure that the rims are in the right height and alignment, the floors are dry, and everything is symmetrical.  

As such, there’s not really a reason for this practice to continue other than to show that the leagues are being fair.

3. For the fans

In soccer, most fans are divided between two sides to show support to their teams. As such, the fans will have equal opportunities to cheer for their team and boo for the opposing team.   

On the other hand, basketball doesn’t have a fan seating arrangement as in soccer. But by teams switching sides, spectators can have equal opportunities to see the teams play.

For instance, you may be seated just beside the rim. So, at first, you’ll be able to see the home team score on that side of the court. But after halftime, they will be on defense on that same side of the court.

How does the Process of Switching Sides Occur in Basketball?

Now that we know why basketball teams switch sides, you might be wondering how exactly this happens?

To start, the home team may start on the right or left side of the court depending on where their locker room is close to.

But the absolute rule is that the team’s court side is where the team’s bench will sit as well.

Then at halftime, the teams will go to their respective locker rooms. After halftime, they will go to the side opposite of where they started. In short, this is where the switch will occur.

But in case of an overtime, they won’t switch sides again. They will remain in their sides even after another overtime occurs and until the game ends.

What is Halftime in Basketball?

A basketball game consists of forty-eight minutes of gameplay divided by four quarters. Aside from quarters, they’re divided by two halves which is why there’s a halftime.

After the second quarter, the halftime will occur which is a 15-minute break for both teams.

The halftime is beneficial for both teams and spectators because:

  • Players will have time to rest, change jerseys, shoes, have a snack and go to the toilet
  • Coaches can provide new strategies that can potentially turn the momentum around
  • Fans can buy snacks or go to the toilet
  • Officials can take a break
  • Halftime shows


Where do NBA players go after halftime?

NBA players will go to their locker rooms during halftime. This is a 15-minute break after two quarters so teams can rest and strategize.

Do basketball teams switch sides every quarter?

No, they only switch sides once per game which is after the second quarter or halftime.

Do NBA teams switch benches at halftime?

Yes, NBA teams switch courts and benches after halftime.

Do NBA players change shoes at halftime?

Some may do so in case that they don’t find their shoes comfortable enough. But in most cases, they won’t change their shoes unless needed.

Final Thoughts

The halftime is a time for teams to rest and to strategize. After that, teams will switch sides to give each other a fair chance.

Although there aren’t any differences in both the court’s sides, this is a great practice to show fairness.

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