Can A Basketball Player Play The Whole Game?

Can A Basketball Player Play The Whole Game

Key Takeaway: Basketball players can play the entire game as long as they do not foul out or get ejected. Coaches may opt for this strategy due to reasons such as lack of bench players, the game being at risk, or load management, with notable cases of players surpassing the typical 48 minutes of playtime in NBA history.

Basketball is a team game that consists of a total of 12 players, five on the court, and the rest is reserved. The team needs a reserve so that if the other player is already exhausted, one of the reserves replaces the exhausted player on the court. It is normal to get fatigued while playing basketball because the normal duration of a basketball game is 48 minutes, 12 minutes each quarter.

To be good at basketball you also need to have good cardio and stamina to run court to court continuously. All basketball players are required to train to improve their cardio and stamina because it is one key to winning a ball game. Having good cardio and stamina is a must for a basketball player especially when a player is willing to play more minutes. 

But the question is, can a basketball player play the whole game? What are the reasons why basketball players would play the whole game anyway? In today’s article, we are going to discuss different reasons why a basketball player plays the whole game. We will also answer if a basketball player can play the whole game. Let’s go!

Quick Answer

Yes, players can play the whole game. There are no rules written in the rule book that forbids a basketball player to play the whole game. Every rule written in the rule book is universal, it means that every basketball league around the world allows a player to play the whole game.

Players can play the whole game as long as he/she does not foul out, and as long as he/she has not been ejected in the ball game. 

Reasons Why A Basketball Player Play The Whole Game

You may be asking why do players need to play the whole game if there are 12 players in a team? These are the reasons why some basketball players play the entire game. 

Lack Of Players 

There are many reasons why a basketball team may lack players. Injuries are the common reason why a team may run out of players, and even though injuries are inevitable while playing basketball, it could still be preventable. 

There are other reasons why a basketball team may lack players like if a player did not show up in the game because of personal problems or maybe a player failed to show up in the ball game because of accidents.

Every Coach is always ready when this incident happens. Coaches allow a player to play the whole game when their team lacks bench players, and usually, ace players are the ones who are trusted to play the entire game. 

When The Game Is At Risk

In any basketball game, there will be one game that puts your team in jeopardy, and every basketball player can relate to this situation. Every coach needs to do something that would help his team to escape the risk of losing. 

One strategy coaches make if their team is at risk of losing, especially if it is an important game, coaches let their ace player play the whole ball game. We often see this strategy in the NBA where coaches let their superstars play the entire game if the team is at risk of falling in the playoffs. 

How Many Minutes Do NBA Players Usually Play?

The average playing time of an NBA player today is considerably low compared to the past players, NBA players average playing time today is between 15-20 minutes. But some coaches let their stars have more playing time, especially if the game is crucial. 

Nowadays, coaches limit the playing time of their star players to avoid the risk of getting injured throughout the season. Every NBA season has 82 total of games, which means that it will be a long way to reach the playoffs is why coaches limit the playing time of their superstars so that the superstars will be healthy when their team reaches the playoffs. 

Load Management

Load management is a program by each NBA team and players to monitor each player’s physiological stress throughout the season. It is lowering the threshold of load on a player for him/her to recover and to decrease the risk of getting injured.  

When a player exceeds his capacity, he/she has a high chance of getting injured. For example, if a player has a mild injury but can play, coaches are required to lower down the minutes played by this player. If a player exerts himself too much, there is a high chance for him to have severe injuries and miss many games. 

Is There Any NBA Player Who Has Played 48 Minutes?

There have been many NBA players that have played a total of 48 minutes, and some exceed the 48 minutes playing time. The noticeable players that have played more than 48 minutes in NBA history are Nikola Jokic, Xavier Mcdaniel, and Dale Ellis. 

Stars like Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, etc. are the players well known to have more playing minutes because of their excellent playing mechanism that helped their team to win games. 

NBA Records For Most Minutes Played

Most Minutes Played In One Game

Last November 9, 1989, the Seattle Supersonics star Dale Ellis played 69 minutes while Xavier Mcdaniel played 68 minutes in one game against the Milwaukee Bucks. The game went to five overtimes, and even though these two superstars played the most minutes, the Milwaukee Bucks still managed to win the ball game (154 to 155 in favor of the Milwaukee Bucks).

Most Minutes Played In A Season

In the 1961-1962 season, Wilt Chamberlain averaged 48.5 minutes per game. No one has beaten the record of Wilt yet and Wilt Chamberlain is still the record holder for most minutes played in a season.

Most Minutes Played In A Career

Kareem Abdul Jabbar retired at the age of 42 last 1989. He is the record holder for most minutes played in a career. Kareem Abdul Jabbar has a total of 57,446 minutes of playing time throughout his career.  


Players and coaches will do everything to win a ball game, coaches will unleash every asset they have to win. Salute to all basketball players that are willing to sacrifice their physical health just to win a ball game. I hope I have answered your questions, and I hope your coach gives you more playing time. 

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