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Tokyo 2021: How Basketball In The Olympics Differs From The NBA

ByScotty Jenkins

Published on Tue Jun 29 2021

|

2 min read

Tokyo 2021: How Basketball In The Olympics Differs From The NBA

Basketball in the Olympics follows the FIBA International rules, rather than the NBA rules that American fans are more used to. FIBA is the International Basketball Federation and oversees responsible for overseeing international competitions like the Olympics.

Because the International Olympic Committee only recognizes FIBA as the sport's global governing body, NBA stars born in the United States have to adapt to a few new rules when they play oversees.

Below, we outlined a few of the rules that NBA stars will need to get used to before the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo:


Olympic Basketball Courts Are Slightly Smaller Than The NBA's

An official NBA court is 50 feet wide and 94 feet long, but in the Olympics, the court is only 49 feet wide and 92 feet long. Not only this, the FIBA three-point line is slightly shorter than the NBA's, so players like Steph Curry and Damian Lillard are somehow, even more, deadlier on the national level.

Game Length Is Shorter In Olympics

In the NBA, every game includes four 12-minute quarters. In the Olympics, though, each quarter is only 10 minutes long. So, FIBA-regulated games are eight minutes shorter than the games in America.

The shorter quarters means top players that usually need to rest during NBA games, like Zach Lavine or Zion Williamson, will be able to have a little extra juice in the 4th quarter of a shorter international game.


Olympics Have No Defensive Three Second Rule

Ever wondered why the tallest players, like Joel Embid or Rudy Gobert, don't camp in the paint, waiting to block shots during NBA games. Well, it's because players can't stay in the restricted area around the basket for more than three seconds.

Luckily for those two international stars, this rule does not exist in the Olympics, which means players like Giannis Antetokounmpo can't take advantage of floor spacing as easily. This rule could also be the reason that Luka Doncic once said that the NBA is easier than the Euroleague in his rookie season.


Goaltending Rules

In the NBA, you can't touch the basketball if there is any chance at the ball going in. FIBA rules, on the other hand, allow players to swat the ball out of the air once it touches the rim.


Amount Of Fouls Allowed

Only 5 fouls are allowed per game in the Olympics, so teams can't take advantage of poor free-throw shooting like they can in the NBA. Players like Shaq and Ben Simmons don't have to worry about being intentionally fouled just because they can't shoot free throws consistently.


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