Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between NBA and FIBA


Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world.  It is played by two teams consisting of five players trying to score points by shooting a ball through the top of a hoop.  A set of rules has to be followed when playing the game.

Like most sports, basketball is governed by leagues that create the rules to be followed during the game.  Two of the most popular basketball leagues are the NBA (National Basketball Association) of North America and the FIBA (Federation Internationale de Basket-ball) or IBF (International Basketball Federation), an international association of leagues from around the world of which the NBA is a member.

While basketball is an American invention, FIBA does not follow U.S basketball rules. This divergence between the two bodies is being bridged as FIBA, starting in October 2010, has changed some of its rules by adapting the American ones.

One of the differences that they had was the shape of the court.  The NBA had a rectangular court while FIBA had a trapezoidal one which affected post play.  The trapezoidal court made players catch the ball far from the basket requiring additional dribbles before players could take a shot.  This rule has already been modified to adapt the NBA’s rectangular court.

Another difference that has been changed is the distance of the 3-point line.  While FIBA’s was 20’6′ before October 2010, it is now changed to conform to NBA’s rule of having it at 23’9′.

What remains a big difference between the two is their game clock.  FIBA’s is shorter at 40 minutes compared to the NBA’s 48 minutes.  The NBA’s 12 minute quarters gives a team a better chance at making a comeback if they are behind by a few points.

The number of referees at each game is also different. The NBA has 3 referees officiating in a game while FIBA has only 2. In an NBA game, a team can have 6 fouls before being disqualified, while in a FIBA game it can only have 5.  Aside from this, technical fouls in FIBA games are counted as personal fouls.

In FIBA, the ball can be touched by a player as it contacts the rim while in the NBA the ball can only be touched when it is above the cylinder.  Players cannot play in a FIBA game wearing a t-shirt underneath their jerseys.

They also have differences in the calling of timeouts.  In the NBA, timeouts can be called by the players or the coach during team possession.  It allows 6 regular timeouts with additional 20 second timeouts during half and overtime periods.  FIBA allows only one 60-second timeout per quarter with 2 timeouts granted in the fourth quarter.

Although these differences are minor, they can affect how teams that are used to the NBA’s rules perform during international games.

1. NBA has 12 minute quarters while FIBA has 10 minute quarters.
2. NBA has 3 referees while FIBA has 2.
3. In the NBA, 6 fouls can get a team disqualified while it only takes 5 fouls in a FIBA game.
4. The ball can only be touched when it is above the cylinder in an NBA game, while in a FIBA game it can be touched by the player when it contacts the rim.
5. FIBA only allows one timeout per quarter with two during the last quarter which has to be made by the coach at the scorer’s table while there is a stoppage of the game.  The NBA allows 6 regular timeouts with additional ones during half and overtime which can be made by the players or the coach during team possession.

Sharing is caring!

Search DifferenceBetween.net :

Email This Post Email This Post : If you like this article or our site. Please spread the word. Share it with your friends/family.


  1. What the hell!? Damn, I never knew that they have different rules. I always thought that they are the same except the representing team.

  2. This is an article written by someone who hasn’t watched basketball. The court in fiba and tha NBA are the same but the key(or the paint) use to be trapezoidal in fiba. Also with 6 personals the player has to leave the court and not the team as mentioned in the article

  3. Great one… Loved reading this. Keep it up..

  4. The content of this website is out-of-date. For example, FIBA allows two timeouts in the first half, at any time. There is no restriction as to when these can be taken (i.e. they don’t have to take one per quarter). For the 2nd half, three timeouts are available for each team to use. With the only restriction being if three still remain and one hasn’t been used prior to the last 2 minutes of the 4th quarter then that team will loose one of their timeouts. Get your facts straight please, as there are MANY inaccuracies; far too many for me to comment here.

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

Articles on DifferenceBetween.net are general information, and are not intended to substitute for professional advice. The information is "AS IS", "WITH ALL FAULTS". User assumes all risk of use, damage, or injury. You agree that we have no liability for any damages.

See more about : , , ,
Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Finder