Friday, October 16th, 2009 at 11:55 am  |  59 responses

‘New’ NBA Traveling Rules

by Ryne Nelson

A fans were getting all ‘crabby’ last season, complaining that the referees were too lax on travel calls. Clearly, some clarification of the rules on traveling was in order.

According to ESPN, the unofficial is finally official: “The NBA has put into writing a rule allowing players on the move to gather the ball, after driving or catching it, and then take two steps.”

The lingo gets confusing, so just know this — The League isn’t changing its traveling rules, it’s merely updating an outdated rulebook. Players are allowed to take two steps once they pick-up their dribble — something that referees have been allowing for decades.

Is this a cause for worry? No. Remember, this is just a clarification of the rules. Players are brought up learning to take two (and a half) steps on the way to the cup. The pro hop wouldn’t be allowed in the pros if two steps wasn’t allowed. LeBron’s crab dribble is still illegal.

If you think players will be running to the basket like a running back, think again. It’s unofficial has just become official — two steps without a dribble, no more.

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  • Kevin

    Two steps!!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    Bron + Crabb Dribble = Changing NBA rules. Sweet.

  • http://www.myspace.com/weezyleezy337 Gametime Weezy

    thats kinda cool but they never really call anyone on a travel for that anyway

  • http://www.paidtosave.info Kristopher Hollie

    LOLLLL wow u knw wat? Who needs dribbling? Let’s just run with the ball!!!

  • la huey

    a sign of historical greatness is when they change the rules because of you. congrats, king crab!

  • gdogg

    > a sign of historical greatness is when they change the rules because of you. congrats, king crab!

    ^ Yeah, when they change ‘em to make it harder for you!

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    I bet they’re just trying to make Lebron feel better after a supposed Swine Flu scare.

  • iamse7en

    Case in point. See this crucial play in the ’06 Playoffs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_mdDBjpNME

    Then read the rule:

    “An offensive player may end his dribble by alighting off of one foot and then landing simultaneously on both feet. However, the player may not pivot after he lands; if he lifts either foot, the ball must be released prior to that foot returning to the floor.”

    Then you can see the NBA video rulebook’s example of traveling after a jump stop: http://www.nba.com/videorulebook/category.html?cid=76

    Then you can view LeBron’s travel again. Not only did he pivot after his jump stop, but he TOOK ANOTHER STEP. This is such a blatant travel, and a disgrace for the refs to allow it to happen. What was Mike Brown and Lebron’s reaction to this play? They wanted the foul, too.

    I guess that’s what happens when you give crybabies their bottle all the time; they’ll expect it, and more.

  • Yann Blavec’s wife’s husband

    There will be a lot of travelling in next Fiba World championships in Turkey.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    Why is Maggette on the picture for this post? lol

  • J

    This not basketball.

  • http://yahoo.com shay_boogy

    James, Corey Maggette is the most traveling mofo there is…


  • Rasheedionics

    I bet Lebron can make it from half court to the basket in 2 steps. I hate this rule. This is the strategy to make All Star players even more unstoppable. They’re slowly phasing defensive aspect out of NBA. All for the sake to make NBA appealing to casual fan, well knowing that hard core fans may complain but still going to stick around. Thanks NBA! It is truly AMAZING.. what you do for $$$$$….

  • Jacki Jormp-Jomp

    So the NBA are cementing as law they have been ridiculously inept at calling. Travelling is called properly in the NBA, will this change that or is it just confirmation that travelling is called terribly?

  • TW

    i was never brought up that you were allowed to take two and a half steps. I was told one and a half. if these players are such great ball handlers they shouldnt need two and a half steps

  • Jacki Jormp-Jomp

    *cementing as law SOMETHING they…

    **Travelling is NOT called properly

    Im going for a nap.

  • http://itsadcthing.blogspot.com Squad

    LeBron James 4 King of the WORLD!

  • rog123

    this is not a new rule. They didn’t change anything. This post was just made so more people could hate on bron. Thanks slam. Like we need more haters

  • http://www.slamonline.com JL

    they’re going the wrong way here! show some back bone! It’s like owning a dog and letting them lead the pack. Be the alpha and be in control! otherwise it just looks silly.

  • onlyclipfanonslam

    Maggs is on the Pic of the post because every single time he faces up he does an illegal shuffle. He is by far the worst when it comes to bending the traveling the rules. have you ever wondered how he always seems to get the first step on a guy and somehow always gets 10 free throws a game? Yup it’s his footwork. IIRC there is a youtube clip of him traveling six times on one play.

  • Young Lebron 23

    The real king of traveling is dirk nowitzki. When he goes to the basket and kinda exposes the ball a little, look at his feet really closely cause he travels every single time

  • J-RO

    man LeBron is really spoiled….they even change the rules for him…..

  • http://slamonline.com Big D

    Is this rugby? Why not just add the rule: Can run with the ball for 10 yards before releasing the ball?

  • http://realcavsfans.com Anton

    Dribbling is just padding your stats.

  • ab_40

    so now when a young player emulates his favorite player in his league with his freinds it’s a travle and in the nba it’s not. way to go nba real basketball role models. first the hand checking and now this? they should give it a new name and a new history books because stats these days compared to the 90′s and earlyer are inflated. this SUCKS.

    you know how easy it is to make a good post move or a fake if you don’t have to worry about traveling. the nba game is all about shooters and power players now. finesse players on the wing and in the post are getting less and less calls and therefore balls in the game which will ruin watching nba ball even further. 2010 spain world champs? you know Lebron can adapt but all the young guys especialy in the post are gonna be in a world of hurt with all the calls against em then.

    This rule sucks. I thought it only existe in french youth leauges but it’s in the nba now haha

  • Hum

    hey dwyane wade travels a lot and doesn’t get called for it. Just sayin

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    LeBron’s PPG just went down about 2.7.

  • http://manyoonited Z

    um… who has ever been called for travel for taking two steps on a layup? yeah exactly. read the damn articles, people have been taking two steps since the jerry lucas days across the globe. the rule was not reflecting how the game was called. no current nba player has nothing to do with it. we call travel when you take MORE than two steps. get real.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    You know, they’re supposed to change the rules to STOP a player from being dominant. They widened the lane so other teams could have at least a CHANCE of going against Wilt. They implemented goaltending to stop George Mikan from snatching everyone’s shots. They even banned dunking in college because of Kareem (Lew) Abdul-Jabbar…
    But changing the rules of traveling so that an already dominant player in LeBron James can have an easier time? That’s just laughable.
    However, that being said, the new rule isn’t anything bad at all. Its just putting a common action into words, so that people stop questioning the referees to much. The hop-step is essentially a travel most of the time but its such an effective and fun move to watch, that it deserves to be kept.
    Now, the crab dribble on the other hand, is still illegal as far as I’m concerned, but they won’t call it on LeBron anyways.

  • la huey

    guys, my earlier comment was kind of a joke. why would i compliment someone and immediately make fun of him?

  • Roybot

    What is veryone so upset about???? They haven’t changed the rules, it has always been 2 steps. Do you guys play basketball or what because it’s has always been two, not one and a half, not two and a half. They merely released the rule in a more modern English form so people would understand it

  • Izzo

    Big D:That’s not a rule in rugby…

  • Simmy Sosa

    This doesn’t have anything to do with Lebron or his famed crab. This is just officially updating the two steps taken before the shot. As mentioned in the article anyone whose played organized ball knows the two steps, but it came along after the rules. This is an update of the rules, the game will be called the same. Now if they could do something about palming the ball…

  • Furious

    Lets not pretend anyone is ever going to call a travel on any superstars. they reserve travel calls for average players to try to appease actual basketball fans.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I found this video very informative. It outlines all the rules in traveling. Basketball fans will be taught.

  • Afonso


  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    ladainian tomlinson should look into a career as a NBA point guard now that he sucks at football. Sh!t would be perferct. LT + 2 dribbles + 40 steps = 2 points everytime

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    this was really only done to make the replacement refs (who have no bias at all) still give certain players the ‘superstar treatment’ but without breaking any rules. David Stern=Smooth

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    mmm is this some kind of inside joke that im not getting? NOTHING has changed. it’s like if the rulebook in baseball never allowed for runners to advance once a fly ball has been caught but people had always done it. NOBODY has ever been called for travel for taking 2 STEPS. ever.

  • http://jggamer14@aol.com jose

    ppl gonna be more traveling more than Q-Rich this season…

  • ab_40

    look I red it and you can take two steps out of a stand still position.

    that’s a travel. you don’t have a pivot foot so on the wing or in the post the fundamentals become a lot easier. as walt frazier said wil would average 100 ppg with those rules it just isn’t fair. Also lebron’s famous crab dribble is valid again becaus the two feet jump stop now counts as one step. don’t get me wrong I love the game but making the rules easier ones you’ve reached the top makes no sense to me.

  • Furious

    yes nothing has changed in terms of what they claim the rule is, but all the premier perimeter players in the league take as many steps as they want. they take 3+ steps before they dribble on the fast break then again afterwards. look the Lakers-Kings highlights on nba.com. kobe gets a fast break dunk where he takes 1 dribble and 8-10 steps.

  • dial up

    It’s called 2 steps you geniuses, not two hops. what idiots.

  • http://thesportsdiaryonline.blogspot.com Roy

    This can’t be good for the L.

  • Yesse

    Now they are giving just more room for LeBron.This rule is ridicilous.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    David “Sneaky” Stern

  • rog123

    I guess bron is the only guy who has traveled in the nba and gotten away with it. Apparently jordan, kobe, magic, pippen, ducan, shaq, stocton and all the other greats have never traveled without gettin a call.

  • Dagomar

    This comments section has lowered my respect for humanity. If you can’t read such a brief article correctly, what can you do?

  • http://www.bebo.com/SupahhHuman B-Moore

    Now go and 2 step.

  • http://www.bebo.com/SupahhHuman B-Moore

    Yeah.. @ Big D. You can run as far as you want in rugby till you get tackled.. Then you release the ball..

    Perhaps aussie rules is more appropriate.. 10 metres then you either bounce, pass or kick the ball.

  • LCD screen cleaner

    This comments section has lowered my respect for humanity. If you can’t read such a brief article correctly, what can you do? <<< ditto. :(

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    “Technically” that means that the stutter step is illegal too then – How many steps does a player normally take on that? What about in’n'outs? 4? 5? Maybe even as much as 8.

  • youngmuggsy

    This a rule change to officially allow two steps for a layup, something players have been doing for decades, not to help Lebron. And players have gotten away with travelling for years, don’t believe me? Watch a Pistol Pete highlight vid on youtube.

  • http://slamonline.com Dave

    ESPN has a poll on this, and of the 13 states that voted for “change” (as oppose to ‘enforce old one-step rule’) only one is above 60% for change.
    That state?

  • flash

    stern is only doing this for lebron aint no secret about that! stern is lbj’s bitch! well anyways… players were doing it before they changed it so i guess its ok. my only concern is when they play internationally i bet theyd be calld for travelling a thousand times!

  • flash

    anything for lebron

  • la huey

    we do need education reform in this country.

  • rikson

    “we call travel when you take MORE than two steps” -> No…. you dont!

  • j

    It’s not just lebron, it’s everyone who plays the game. Even if you play pick-up basketball, ppl take an extra step or hop around. It makes no sense to allow anything more than 1.5 steps because 2 steps is equivalent to a jump (up and down)–an obvious traveling call.