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Even though the first official game of basketball was played over 100 years ago and there are over a dozen professional basketball leagues around the world (and many more amateurs ones), today, we define basketball court size under 3 main professionally recognized categories.
NBA is probably the most well-known league in the world. Because of its popularity, it is what most people know which means that most people base their knowledge of basketball according to how it is played in the NBA. The same applies to the knowledge of courts, size, and equipment. So, it seems right that we start with this one. At the NBA level, the basketball court is 94 feet long by 50 feet wide. However, this only takes into account the court itself, as in the area considered in play, and it doesn´t include the adjacent areas. For example, the entire parquet floor should be at least 110 feet long. That extra 6 foot of space is intended for members of the media.
Other NBA court dimension facts:
- The minimum distance from the sideline must be at least 3 feet.
- The 3-point line is 23 feet from the center, 22 feet from the corners and 23 feet and 9 inches from the elbow.
- The straight line on the corner 3-point shot is 14 feet long and the area is just 3 feet wide.
- The paint area is 12 feet wide.
On A Professional Level
So, we have established that a professional basketball court is 94 feet long by 50 feet wide. Of course, this means that the shape of a court is rectangular. Alongside these measurements, there are a few more which don’t necessarily relate to the sizing of the basketball court itself but they are handy to know.
- A professional basketball rim should be 0.6 inches thick and 18 inches in diameter
- At a professional level, the basketball needs to be 30 inches in circumference
- A basketball should weigh between 20 and 22 ounces
- A slightly rarer fact is that a basketball can be made from either rubber (most common) or leather
- For professional games, the basketball has to be either orange in color or brown
n regards to FIBA rules, the courts are 91.9 feet long and 49.2 feet wide, slightly smaller in comparison to the NBA.
Other FIBA court facts:
- The 3-point line is 22.14 feet long from the center
At a college level, a basketball court has the same dimensions as the NBA. So, there aren´t any differences here in terms of the court size. This is largely because of the age group of college students. By this point in their lives, they have developed into adults and their bodies can cope with playing on a full-sized court. It’s probably another reason why college basketball is taken so seriously and really a time when college players can compare themselves to the pros.
How About At A More Amateur Level?
When talking about an outdoor basketball court and what dimension it should be, it all depends on the available space. There isn´t any official ruling on this. People have the flexibility to use any dimensions that best suit their needs and preferences. But, with very few exceptions, amateur courts, and particularly outdoor courts, resemble a professional basketball court dimensions. Especially, when referring to parks or indoor gyms.
What About Indoor Courts?
This is often also the case for in-house indoor basketball courts. In this situation, the most critical factor is the available space which is why we often see in-house indoor basketball courts without the appropriate dimensions. It just doesn´t matter. What does matter, though, is to get the game going and to push your limits and abilities.
In fact, we often see in-house basketball courts to be just half-courts without even a 3-point line. This is partly due to space and partly because a full-sized court just wouldn’t get the use that it deserves. Let’s face it, if you had a full-sized NBA style basketball court in your home, how often would you be able to get enough people together to play a legitimate game of basketball? Sure, at first you would have plenty of visitors but, eventually, things come up and you’re playing with just a few players. When this happens, it is unlikely that you will have enough energy to use the full length of the court.
Also, when playing indoors we don´t have to worry about setting aside any space for an audience or media members.
Some Interesting Facts And History Of The Basketball Court
You may have heard them before or it might be the first time; either way, here are some fun facts and history about the basketball court.
- Back in December 1891, the first basketball hoops were used, just not in the form of a hoop. Instead, Dr. James Naismith nailed peach baskets to a 10-foot high rack. Game officials retrieved the ball after every shot.
- The half-court shot isn’t 47 feet as you may have thought. It is actually 43 feet as the backboard protrudes by about 4 feet. In high school basketball, it would be 38 feet.
- The first-ever ball to be used as a basketball was actually a soccer ball.
- The iconic orange basketball that we all know and love wasn’t actually introduced until the 1950s.
- The first official basketball game that was played was on a court half the size of the ones we are familiar with today which was in 1892.
- A warm basketball is actually bouncier than a cold one. Surprisingly, this is due to the warm molecules moving at a higher speed.
Little changes in terms of the size of a basketball court these days and if it does, then it will be a long process. There will be many, many hoops to jump through before any sizing changes, and we mean that quite literally.