- The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
- The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands, but never with the fist.
- A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man running at good speed.
- The ball must be held in or between the hands. The arms or body must not be used for holding it.
- No shouldering, holding, pushing, striking or tripping in any way of an opponent. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul; the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game. No substitution shall be allowed.
- A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violations of Rules 3 and 4 and such as described in Rule 5.
- If either side make three consecutive fouls it shall count as a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the meantime making a foul).
- Goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the ground into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edge and the opponents move the basket, it shall count as a goal.
- When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field and played by the first person touching it. In case of dispute the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on them.
- The umpire shall be judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have the power to disqualify men according to Rule 5.
- The referee shall be the judge of the ball and decide when it is in play in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the goals with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.
- The time shall be two 15-minute halves with five minutes' rest between.
- The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winners.
Many of the same rules that Naismith created in 1891 apply to the game today, and 10 feet is still the standard basket height. Some changes that occurred included, in 1895, the standardization of number of players per team— five for men, six for women-and the introduction of dribbling in 1900 (originally, Naismith required only that the ball be passed before a shot). Another change that came about occurred somewhat accidentally when Naismith attended one of the first women's games at Smith College. The coach for the team was using Naismith's original rulebook, which contained a diagram of the playing court. On the diagram, Naismith had drawn three dotted lines, only to simplify the picture. The coach, however, had interpreted the lines as indicators of playing areas, and the women were playing on only half the court. When Naismith realized what the coach was doing, he decided that even though this was not his original intention, it made sense (women in the 1890s were not particularly athletic, as a general rule) and said that the division of field rule applied to women, but not to men. Thus the division-of-the-field rule was added.
The game also evolved physically; for instance, within two years the peach baskets had been replaced by a wire cylinder, and by 1894 soccer balls had been replaced by regulation-size basketballs. At one point chicken-wire netting under the cylinder caught the ball, which then of course required manual retrieval; later the basketball net was put in, which allowed the ball to fall through the cylinder but stay in the same general area. In 1895, backboards, as a safeguard to keep the ball from flying into the audience, were initiated.