Basketball rules can be grouped into four categories: game structure, player position, player interaction and ball-handling. Rules within these categories may vary somewhat among leagues.
Examples of fairly consistent game structure rules of American basketball include: shot-clock time limits, game clocks and boundaries for three-point shooting, foul shooting, lane play and overall game play. Player position rules include: back-court violations, in-bounding violations, lane violations and zone defense violations.
Player interaction rules center around the foul structure and include penalties assessed to players based on prohibited conduct against another player and for general misconduct. Players can be assessed personal, flagrant or technical fouls depending on the nature of their actions. Fouling out occurs when a player reaches the maximum number of fouls allotted within a game. Another rule pertaining to player interaction not included in the foul structure is goal-tending, in which a player interferes illegally with a shot being taken by another player.
Ball-handling rules include rules against carrying that forbid a dribbler from placing his hand underneath the basketball in between dribbles. Double-dribbling rules prevent a player from dribbling the ball with both hands simultaneously or dribbling again after having stopped dribbling. Kicking rules prohibit a player from moving the ball with his feet. Traveling rules encompass several violations such as jumping up and down with the ball in hand, falling down and getting up with the ball in hand, and taking more than two steps without dribbling.