In the National Basketball Association (NBA), there are two main types of basketball fouls: personal fouls and technical fouls. It is up to the NBA referees to call the appropriate type of basketball foul and assign the corresponding consequence for the rule violation.
According to NBA rules, a personal foul is defined as follows: "A player shall not hold, push, charge into, impede the progress of an opponent by extending a hand, forearm, leg or knee or by bending the body into a position that is not normal. Contact that results in the re-routing of an opponent is a foul which must be called immediately." Types of personal basketball fouls include charging, blocking, pushing, holding, illegal use of hands, hand checking, and illegal use of elbows. Personal fouls are the most common type of basketball fouls in the NBA and will result in either the opposing team being given the ball or free throw attempts.
According to the NBA rules, a technical foul is defined as follows: "An official may assess a technical foul, without prior warning, at any time. A technical foul(s) may be assessed to any player on the court or anyone seated on the bench for conduct which, in the opinion of an official, is detrimental to the game. A technical foul cannot be assessed for physical contact when the ball is alive." Types of technical basketball fouls include disrespectfully addressing a referee, physically contacting a referee, the use of profanity, taunting, delay of game, and having not enough or too many players on the court when the ball is alive.
One of the most misunderstood types of basketball fouls are flagrant fouls. Flagrant fouls fall under the technical fouls category. There are two different types of flagrant fouls. Flagrant 1 fouls are characterized as unnecessary contact. Flagrant 2 fouls are defined as unnecessary and excessive contact. Both a flagrant 1 and flagrant 2 foul result in the opposing team receiving two free throw attempts and retaining possession of the ball. In addition, players are automatically ejected for having two flagrant 1 fouls or one flagrant 2 foul.
While there are many different types of basketball fouls, teams are only allowed four fouls per regulation period. If teams exceed their limit of four fouls, the opposing team receive two free throw attempts per foul over the limit of four.