The court is an essential part of basketball. This is where the game takes place and the size of the basketball court depends on the level of the competition, the organization, and the age of the students.
What is the size of a court for the NBA? According to the rules of basketball in the NBA, the court must be rectangular and measure 28.7 by 15.2 meters (94 by 50 feet). The size of a basketball court is different for European tournaments under FIBA rules.
Often, different sizes of the playing court are used for training sessions or amateur tournament matches, but also in basketball, there are officially established standard field sizes. We will have a look at this topic thoroughly in the following article.
Different Zones on a Basketball Court
When we talk about a basketball court for the NBA, there are several zones or areas which are marked by lines. We can have a look at these lines:
- Boundary Lines – these lines are located along the perimeter of the court. The lines behind the ring are called front, on the sides – lateral);
- Center Line – it runs parallel to the end lines and divides the court in half. According to the standards, the center line should extend beyond the side lines by 15 cm. In the center there is a circle with a diameter of 3.6 m, in which the ball is played at the beginning of the match);
- Three-point lines – these lines are located from the backboards on both sides, consist of 2 lines and a semicircle. Straight lines are 2.99 m in length and 0.9 m from the side line. The distance from the ring to the three-point line in FIBA is 6.75 m, for the NBA – 7.24 m.
- Free Throw Lines – these lines outline the nearest zone from the backboard, consisting of a free throw line and paint The size of the paint is 5.8 m in length and 3.6 m in width.
- Paint zone lines – these are the notches on the court that limit the players competing for rebounds during the free throw, located on both sides.
The basketball court must be at least 2 meters away from the stands, substitutes’ benches, scoreboards and other obstacles.
In addition to the court itself, other areas must be taken into account, such as, for example, the area with the substitutes’ bench, which must also have its own dimensions. The first thing to remember is that the benches are on the same side as the officials’ table. The very same space for reserve players is limited by lines from 2 meters, it cannot be less. It can be a square or a rectangle.
The basketball backboard also has its own standards. The rules state that the backboard must be 183 by 107 centimetres. The inner rectangle measures 59 by 45 centimetres. The basketball hoop must have a diameter of 450 millimetres. The mesh that is attached to the ring should be 400 to 450 millimetres long. The distance from the ring to the floor is 305 centimetres. If we talk about the mandatory conditions for installing the supports on which the shield structure is attached, it should be noted that the front side should be upholstered with soft material to minimize injuries, the thickness of which is at least 50 millimetres. The structure is located at least 2 meters from the front line.
As we talk about backboards, it is necessary to point out that they went through significant changes. When Shaq appeared in the NBA, he was too strong for these backboards and they were broken regularly. The NBA decided to change the structure of these backboards to avoid breakages. Such cases also happened in the early period of the NBA, but with Shaq, it was prevalent.
Amateur Basketball Court Sizes
As for amateur basketball, the sizes of the fields there can be completely different:
- For schools and universities: 21-28 m long, 12-15 m wide
- Mini basketball (for children under 12 years old) – 17 × 12 meters
There are other competitions of course that have their own system and structure when it comes to basketball courts, but overall the sizes are not that different from each other. Streetball courts are also not different from other courts.
The First Sizes of a Basketball Court: Brief History
The first basketball court was limited by the size of the college gymnasium in which it was located. The court was 54 feet by 35 feet (16.45 x 10.66 meters). Of course, the initial version of a basketball court was completely different from what we have now – both by the structure and dimensions. Since basketball developed rapidly, so were the courts.
In 1891, physical education teacher James Naismith at Springfield College Massachusetts invented a new game that he later called basketball. At the first stages of the formation of a newly-made sport, instead of rings, there were peach baskets, and in his first 13 rules, the creator did not indicate the size of the court.
As basketball grew in popularity, it became necessary to standardize field sizes. In 1924, the rules established the maximum size of the site – 28.65 by 15.24 m and the minimum – 18 by 9 meters. The NBA still has such rules for the size of the court, and FIBA eventually established its own standard – 28 × 15 meters.