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What is a Travel in Basketball? Explained in Detail

Last Updated April 22, 2024 Last Updated October 18, 2023 by Edward Pullen

In the exciting world of basketball, where players dribble, pass, and shoot their way to victory, a rule often leaves spectators and even some players puzzled: the travel violation.

What is a Travel in Basketball?

What is Called a Travel in Basketball?

A travel in basketball refers to a violation where a player takes excessive steps while holding the ball without dribbling it. In essence, it’s a breach of the rules that aim to maintain fairness and uphold the fundamental principles of the game. When a player travels, they gain an unfair advantage by covering more ground than allowed, potentially altering the course of the game.

What is an Example of Travel in the NBA?

Imagine a scenario in the NBA: a player receives a pass while on the move. However, instead of immediately dribbling the ball, they take three steps before finally starting to dribble.

In this case, the player has committed a travel violation. The rules stipulate that a player can take only one or two steps after gathering the ball before they must dribble.

Why is a Layup Not Traveling?

Layups, a staple in basketball, may seem like they involve a player taking multiple steps. However, they are not considered travels due to a specific rule that addresses the “gather step.”

In a layup, a player gathers the ball while taking a step and then takes another step before releasing the ball toward the basket. This gather step is allowed, making the subsequent movement permissible and not counted as a travel. But is a jump stop a traveling violation or not? Find out here:

Is 3 Steps a Travel?

The concept of a “three-step” rule is a common misconception. In reality, players are allowed a limited number of steps after picking up their dribble or receiving a pass. The number of steps varies depending on the specific situation, but typically, a player can take one or two steps before releasing the ball or dribbling. Taking three steps without dribbling constitutes a travel violation.

Can You Travel While Dribbling?

Traveling while dribbling is a rare occurrence because it involves a controlled and rhythmic movement. However, a player can still commit a travel violation if they interrupt their dribble and then take steps before resuming it. The key is maintaining a continuous dribble while in motion to avoid being penalized for traveling.

The Best Basketball Shoes for Running: Unveiling Performance and Comfort

Regarding basketball, having the right footwear can make all the difference in your performance. Combining the demands of the game with the need for optimal running support, we’ve curated a selection of the best basketball shoes that excel in both categories. Whether you’re a seasoned player or an enthusiastic amateur, these shoes offer the perfect blend of style, comfort, and functionality.

1. Under Armour Unisex-Adult Lockdown 6 Basketball Shoes

“Unmatched Performance and Style”

Under Armour Unisex-Adult Lockdown 6 Basketball Shoes

Key Features:

  • True to size fit for comfortable wear.
  • Available in a variety of stylish color combinations.
  • Diverse product assortment designed for different weather conditions.
  • Superior build quality with attention to innovation and design.


  • Exceptional comfort and support.
  • Versatile for all-season wear.
  • Technologically advanced materials for enhanced performance.
  • Wide range of sizes available for both men and women.


  • Some users may find the pricing on the higher side.
  • Limited availability of certain color options.

The Under Armour Unisex-Adult Lockdown 6 Basketball Shoe is a testament to the brand’s commitment to innovation and design. With a true-to-size fit and a variety of stylish color combinations, these shoes offer exceptional comfort and cater to different weather conditions.

Under Armour’s dedication to technology ensures that players experience top-notch performance regardless of the playing environment. While the price point may concern some, these shoes’ features and benefits make them an excellent choice for serious basketball players.

2. adidas Originals Men’s D.o.n. Issue #1 Basketball Shoe

“Elevate Your Game with Iconic Style”

adidas Originals Men's D.o.n. Issue #1 Basketball Shoe

Key Features:

  • Available in a range of colors for a personalized look.
  • True to size fit for consistent comfort.
  • Unique design and style that captures attention.
  • Designed with high-quality materials for durability.


  • Exceptional fit and comfort for prolonged wear.
  • Iconic design that appeals to sneaker enthusiasts.
  • Wide variety of color options to suit individual preferences.
  • High-quality build ensures longevity.


  • Some users may prefer more cushioning for impact protection.
  • Pricing may be a bit higher compared to other models.

The adidas Originals Men’s D.o.n. Issue #1 Basketball Shoe is a testament to adidas’ legacy of creating iconic and high-performance footwear. With its attention-grabbing design and range of color options, these shoes are not only comfortable but also elevate your style on and off the court. While the cushioning could be improved for impact protection, the overall build quality and aesthetic appeal make these shoes a strong contender for anyone seeking performance and style.

3. Nike Men’s Basketball Shoe

“Unleash Your Potential with Unmatched Cushioning”

Nike Men's Basketball Shoe

Key Features:

  • Wide range of sizes and color combinations for customization.
  • Designed with Nike Renew technology for cushioning and resilience.
  • Lightweight, layered mesh upper for enhanced support.
  • Durable rubber sole with unique traction pattern.


  • Outstanding cushioning and support for optimal performance.
  • Lightweight and breathable upper ensures comfort during play.
  • Innovative traction pattern offers excellent grip on the court.
  • Durable build designed for outdoor courts.


  • Some users may find the shoe sizing slightly inconsistent.
  • Pricing varies based on size and color options.

The Nike Men’s Basketball Shoe showcases Nike’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation. With the inclusion of Renew technology and a layered mesh upper, these shoes provide exceptional cushioning and support. The unique traction pattern on the sole enhances grip, while the durability of the build caters to outdoor play. While sizing consistency could be improved, the superior comfort and performance features make these shoes an excellent choice for players looking to optimize their game.

Just as selecting the right basketball shoes is crucial for enhancing your performance on the court, understanding the nuances of traveling in basketball is equally vital to maintaining fair play and game integrity. Much like the diverse features and advantages the reviewed shoe models offer, the rules surrounding traveling cater to different player preferences.

Whether you prioritize seamless movement, tactical execution, or dynamic plays, a clear grasp of travel regulations ensures that you navigate the court with finesse. Embrace the parallels between choosing the ideal footwear and adhering to travel rules, as both contribute to an unparalleled experience in basketball.

How Do NBA Players Travel?

NBA players are highly skilled and well-versed in the game’s intricacies, including the rules regarding traveling. While accidental travels can still happen, players are trained to maximize their dribbling technique and footwork to minimize the risk of committing a travel violation. Precise footwork, quick reactions, and an understanding of the rules are crucial in avoiding travels during fast-paced NBA games.

How Do You Not Travel in Basketball?

To avoid committing a travel violation in basketball, players must adhere to a few key principles:

  • Maintain Dribble: If a player has the ball, they should keep the ball bouncing on the court using dribbling techniques to establish legal movement.
  • Limited Steps: After stopping their dribble or receiving a pass, players are allowed only a certain number of steps before they must either release the ball or resume dribbling.
  • Gather Step: When driving toward the basket for a layup, players can take a step before releasing the ball, ensuring their movement is legal and not considered a travel.

Why Are Travels Not Called in the NBA?

Sometimes, viewers may observe instances that seem like travels in the NBA but are not called by the referees. This can occur due to various factors, including the fast pace of the game, the difficulty of judging split-second movements, and the focus on allowing players some leeway to execute dynamic plays. While some travels may go unnoticed, referees strive to make the fairest calls possible, given the challenges of officiating such high-speed contests.

Understanding the concept of traveling in basketball is essential for players, fans, and enthusiasts alike. This rule ensures fair play and maintains the integrity of the game. By comprehending the nuances of traveling, players can refine their skills, and fans can enjoy the sport with greater insight.