How to Play Basketball Knockout

Knockout (also known as Bumpout, Bump, Lightning, Elimination and Putout) is a fun basketball game that a team or a group of friends can play as a way to increase common basketball skills such as free throw shooting and rebounding.

What You Need

The game must be played with a minimum of two players but there is no maximum amount of participants. The only equipment that is needed is a basketball hoop and two basketballs. The objective of the game is to make free throws in order to survive, while at the same time, eliminating the other players.


The game begins with all players lined up in a straight line starting at the free throw line and extending towards half court (see diagram #1). The first two players start with a basketball.

Player one shoots a free throw and tries to make it. If the player misses, he/she must grab the rebound and score as fast as possible. Player one’s second shot does not need to be from the free throw line. He/she can shoot a jump shot, lay-up or whatever is needed in order to score fastest.

Player two cannot shoot until after player one has shot their first free throw. The goal for player two is to score a basket before player one does. If player two misses their free throw he/she must also rebound their miss and make a shot as quickly as possible.

If player one makes a basket first, he/she goes to the back of the line (see diagram #2). If player one fails to make a basket before player two, player one is eliminated (all eliminated players stand off to the side until the game is finished).

Once player one makes a basket he/she passes the ball to the next player in line. That player tries to make a basket before player two does. If this occurs, player two is out. If player two scores first, he/she goes to the end of the line and passes their ball to the fourth player in line (see diagram #3).

The game continues like this until only one player is left standing.

One surprise in the game that is different from actual basketball is that players can “bump” or “knock” the ball out of another person’s hands once they have taken their free throw. This strategy is used to make the player chase after their ball and create more time for you to make a basket.

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions. . .


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Dave says:
1/26/2024 at 4:38:42 PM

Is it a rule that you can’t take the other person’s ball?


Payton Larsen says:
11/26/2023 at 6:58:06 PM

Does player 1 have to wait to shoot their first shot (the free throw) until player 2 has the ball?

  1 reply  

Lolita says:
1/28/2024 at 9:47:19 AM

No. Player Two can shoot his free throw just as soon as Player One is off the free throw line.


Sirri says:
4/7/2022 at 11:25:07 AM

I’m a little stock


Maverick Brum says:
11/4/2021 at 3:56:49 PM

Hi My Name Is Maverick and I don''t know how to play knockout still

  2 replies  

Dylan herplinck says:
2/15/2022 at 6:10:03 PM

Smack the ball out of there hand athen shoot the ball


unknown says:
5/16/2023 at 2:01:19 PM

This is easy


Sky Nguyen says:
11/3/2021 at 3:57:48 PM

Thanks for the help, but that doesn't solve my probelm. You see, everytime I play knockout with my friends, they just get my ball and kick it like 1 mile away from the basket. So I just wanted to know if that is allowed as well.


Lolita says:
3/8/2021 at 3:38:18 PM

Our older students like to play this game. But I've noticed that some of the students are trying to 'knock out' their opponents balls by throwing the ball from the bottom of the net and blocking the opponents ball from falling through the net. Is this cheating and shouldn't the person who did this be considered out?

  1 reply  

BBigler says:
6/9/2021 at 3:20:19 PM

If it is declared before the game that participants can throw the ball at the other ball “to bump” than yes, it is allowed!

  1 person liked this. 1 reply  

Lolita says:
1/28/2024 at 9:41:58 AM

Thank you for the clarification!


J says:
11/5/2020 at 12:34:38 AM

Any strategies to win? I've gotten top two as my highest.


Levi says:
3/27/2020 at 5:11:52 PM

You are not always forced to rush your shots in bump/knockout. It might still help practice your rebounding and shooting


hi says:
9/25/2018 at 7:35:48 PM

when was it started?


Champ says:
8/1/2018 at 9:05:54 PM

Question: There are 3 players. 2nd in line knocks 1st out. Who passes the ball to 3rd? I was 2nd and kept my ball. He claims I cheated.

  1 reply  

jiyoung says:
10/31/2019 at 11:02:18 PM

If player one was the one who got out, and you were player two, then that means that player one should've given his ball to the player behind you.

If there's only three players, it honestly doesn't matter who gives who the ball, but you keeping your ball is not you cheating.


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