Among the many sports that exist today, it’s undeniable that basketball is a worldwide favorite.
Although basketball originated in the states, basketball games nowadays take place anywhere and everywhere – from your neighbor’s garage to the NBA arenas you watch on the big screen (or in person if you’re lucky) and in every country in the world.
Now, there are no fundamental rules to the amount of space you need when you’re playing with friends or strangers at the park.
You can take your basketball game anywhere there‘s a flat surface and a hoop (makeshift or otherwise). You don’t even need a full court to run a smooth game!
That being said, in the big leagues it’s a different story. Asphalt or concrete simply won’t cut it for such a fast-paced, hands-on sport.
If you’re wondering how much space is necessary to host these internationally-loved basketball games, here’s everything you need to know about the dimensions of an NBA court!
The Standard Size of an NBA Court
The National Basketball Association (or the NBA) courts are 94 feet long by 50 feet wide, or 28.65 meters long by 15.24 meters wide.
The key components of an NBA court are the half-court line, foul line, 3-point line, the backboard with a rim, the key, and the restricted arc. Let’s take a deep dive into the specifics, shall we?
The half-court line falls in the middle of the court, at about 47 feet or 14.33 meters from either end of the court. At its center, you’ll find the home team’s logo within a circle, approximately 6 feet (1.8 meters) in radius.
This circle is also known as the tip-off circle since it’s where a player from each team will try to tip a jump ball to their side to start the game off.
The Foul Line
The foul line is located in front of the hoop where foul shots or “free throws” are made, which is why it’s also referred to as the “free throw line.” It’s 15 feet (4.6 meters) from the hoop and 18 feet (5.5 meters) from the baseline.
A misconception about the foul line is that it’s 15 feet from the basket; it’s 15 feet (4.6 meters) from the front of the backboard.
The 3-Point Line
The 3-point line, also known as “the arc,” has moved around on the court up until 1979. The reason for its nickname is due to its imperfect arc shape that takes up about half of the court, mirrored on both sides.
Now, the 3-point line extends 16 feet and 9 inches (5.1 meters) from the baseline. At its highest point, it reaches 23 feet and 9 inches (7.28 meters) in distance from the hoop.
The Backboard and Rim
The dimensions of the backboard and its rim are regulated in all NBA courts. The rim hangs at 10 feet from the ground for all games.
The regulated backboard dimensions are 6 feet (1.8 meters) in width by 42 inches (1.06 meters) in height. It extends 4 feet (1.2 meters) past the baseline, making the aforementioned distance between the foul line and the backboard the15 feet (4.6 meters).
The key, also known as “the lane,” is regulated at 16 feet (4.9 meters) wide and stands 19 feet (5.8 meters) away from the foul line. The name traces back to the start of the game in 1936 when the area was much smaller on the court and resembled the shape of a key.
The half arc that completes the key is 6 feet (1.8 meters) and extends away from the backboard and rim. The backboard extends 4 feet (1.2 meters), placing itself right above the key.
The “top of the key,” a frequent term you’ll hear in the game, refers to the space above the free throw half-circle from either side. Along the sides of the key, there are lines placed 3 feet apart (0.9 meters) to mark standing positions for player positions during a free throw shot.
The Restricted Arc
The restricted area is located within the key, designated by a 4-foot (1.22 meter) half arc centered right under the hoop. Defensive players aren’t allowed to draw charging fouls when their feet are inside this area.
This area of the court only exists in the NBA, and it’s a relatively new rule. Created in 1997, the purpose of the restricted area is to stop fouls from being made under the basket – this is a fair rule, considering the unfair advantage defensive p[layers have in this spot.
Women’s National Basketball Association Dimensions
In comparison, the Women’s National Basketball Association (commonly known as the WNBA) professional court dimensions are almost completely identical to that of the NBA court. This is due to WNBA teams sharing the same courts with the National Basketball Association.
The only difference lies in the 3-point line. Instead of extending 23 feet and 9 inches (7.28 meters) from the basket, the distance matches that of the regulated FIBA court (International Basketball Federation). Their 3-point line is 22.15 feet (6.7 meters) from the hoop.
Key Differences In Court Dimensions
Besides the WNBA, there are key differences in the dimensions of other professional courts from that of the NBA.
As mentioned above, the FIBA courts have different regulated dimensions. This is because they host international games, relying on the Imperial system for their measurements and inevitably altering the court dimensions overall.
NCAA Basketball Courts
The NCAA stands for National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the organization hosts professional college basketball games.
The NCAA basketball court dimensions hold many similarities to the NBA court. The overall court dimensions, foul line, basket height, tip-off circle, and backboard are all the same in measurement.
The differences lie in the key, restricted area, and the 3-point line. The NCAA’s key is 12 feet (3.7 meters) wide instead of 16 feet (4.9 meters), and the first box alongside the key is 6 feet away from the baseline instead of the NBA’s, which is 7 feet.
The restricted area makes a 3-foot half arc on the court, making it a foot smaller than the regulated measurement of the NBA. The 3-point line is only 20 feet and 9 inches from the hoop, making it smaller than the NBA’s distance of 23 feet and 7 inches.
This difference makes it challenging to assess how well a college player will perform on a professional court, as they have to adjust to these dimensional differences.
NCAA players are bound to feel the pressure of the big leagues with these differences!
High School Basketball Courts
High school basketball courts are the smallest compared to the college and professional basketball courts. The court is 84 feet long by 50 feet wide, making it 10 feet shorter than the others.
Additionally, these courts don’t have a restricted arc since that rule doesn’t apply to high school basketball. The 3-point line is also 19 feet and 9 inches away from the basket, which makes it the shortest distance compared to its professional counterparts.
There are some similarities in dimensions, however! The foul line, for example, has a distance of 15 feet from the backboard. High school basketball courts also have a key that’s 19 feet in length and matches the width of the NCAA key at 12 feet.
The tip-off circle, where the jump ball between players happens at the start of a game, matches the size of the NBA and NCAA with a 6-foot radius.
While the high school court’s backboard and rim aren’t regulated, they should match the NBA and NCAA’s size at 6 feet (1.8 meters) in width by 42 inches (1.06 meters) in height.
The size of the basketball court truly changes the expectations of performance in a game, and it’s clear that judging from the dimensions alone, NBA players set the bar for basketball games.
Now, you might not be the next Steph Curry or Lebron James, but you’re bound to make leaps in your basketball skills by aiming for these measurements in your own court.
Not looking to level up on the court? If you’re happy leaving it to the pros, you’re not the first. Next time you’re thinking about watching an NBA game on the big screen at home, consider putting yourself in the shoes of the live audience. Or better yet, watch an NBA game in person!
Hopefully, this information about the NBA court helps you enjoy the game on a whole new level once you see it before you. With measurements like these, the pros in the NBA will look a lot like superhumans flying around the court.
With that being said, this is everything you need to know about the dimensions of an NBA court!
James is a big time NBA Golden State follower, who makes sure to catch games when he's in the area. He likes to follow International Soccer, with an interest in small town soccer club, Blackburn Rovers located in the North on the UK.