Question: In a tournament last year, the referee explained to me that we didn't get the charging call because my player had started to fall back before contact was made. However, wouldn't the opponent still have been guilty of charging? (Unless the ref judged the defensive player guilty of a Vlade Divac-like flop). My interpretation of the rules below is that as long the defender had established a legal guarding position, contact to the torso by the offensive player is a charge even if the defensive player is leaning back at a 45 degree angle when contact is made:

When judging a charge/block situation involving a player with the ball, an official
shall use the following principles:
- The defensive player must establish an initial legal guarding position by facing the player with the ball and having both feet on the floor.
- The defensive player may remain stationary, jump vertically, move laterally or backwards in order to maintain the initial legal guarding position.
- When moving to maintain the initial legal guarding position, one foot or both feet may be off the floor for an instant, as long as the movement is lateral or backwards, but not towards the player with the ball.
- Contact must occur on the torso, in which case the defensive player would be
considered as having been at the place of contact first.
- Having established a legal guarding position the defensive player may turn
within his cylinder to avoid injury.

Answer: The explanation given by the official sounds to me like the defensive player began to fall back BEFORE contact on the torso occurred. By rule, a defensive player after establishing an initial legal guarding position is allowed to move backwards to maintain that legal guarding position, but in order to draw a charging foul, there must be sufficient contact on the torso to place the defensive player at a disadvantage or give the offensive player an advantage.

I would offer (without actually seeing the play) that the contact in this particular play was incidental...since the defensive player began to fall backwards before contact occurred that could have placed him/her at a disadvantage.
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