What Does Bonus Mean in Basketball?

For any game, there are some codes of conduct.

These regulations ensure a fair competition between the teams, and every team is obliged to follow them.

However, if a team violates any rule, that team has to pay for it by rewarding penalty to the opponent. Bonus in basketball is a type of penalty.

In every game or a part of game, a certain team is allowed to commit a particular number of fouls.

Accidently, if that team exceeds that allocated number of fouls, their opponent team gets bonus. This bonus is been rewarded as means of free throw to the basket.

Though this is the common meaning of the term bonus, you may also find other meanings of the term when you visit different basketball leagues around the world.

Here we are going to cover three popular leagues’ perspective of bonus.

NBA Professional Basketball League:

NBA stands for National Basketball Association is a men’s professional basketball league in North America. The league is composed of 30 teams and follows their own set of rules.

In the NBA league, if a team commits more than 4 fouls per quarter of the game, the opponent gets the bonus. This bonus is given by two free throws.

For example, if a team has already committed 4 fouls in the quarter portion of a match, for each foul they commit after the 4th foul, opponent team gets the opportunity for two free throws.

This process of giving and getting penalty keep going after each foul. And the points the rewarded team gets from each penalty counted as bonus here.

FIBA International Basketball League:   

The International Basketball Federation is the organizer of international basket tournaments. FIBA includes international matches and most of the matches are held outside of USA.

According to the FIBA rules, if a certain team commits more than 4 fouls per quarter of a game, the rival will get rewarded free throw for the 5th foul and all other subsequent fouls after the 5th one.

In the match, the other team will be rewarded with a bonus for all the non-shooting fouls committed by a particular team. And, the bonus will be given in terms of 2 free throws to the opponent team’s basket.

NCAA College Basketball League:

College bonus rules are quite stricter than the NBA and FIBA. As you know an NBA game is divided by four parts and each part is called quarter, but a college match has only two halves.

In college league match, a team can commit 6 fouls per halves of a game without being charged by the bonus penalty.

After 6th foul, the team is been charged by the penalty. This penalty has two dimensions:

Firstly, for the 7th, 8th and 9th foul, the opponent team gets one free throw.

If the rewarded team can score from that one chance, they will get the second chance. If they can’t score from the first throw, the referee resumes the game.

Secondly, if any foul after the 9th is committed, the rival team gets two consecutive free throws.

In this respect, it doesn’t matter whether the team scores or misses the first chance, they are allowed to take two throws at a time.

Two free throws at the same time is also known as double bonus.


Bonus can be the curse for a team and be the main reason behind the defeat of a match.

Moreover, when a team’s foul becomes the reason of the bonus, the team spirit gets affected. So,if you are a basketball player, you should have a positive impact to your team avoiding any kind of foul.

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