Did you know that the basketball court measurements that are followed in the National Basketball Association (NBA) are different from the measurements followed by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA)?
Basketball, one of the widely viewed sports in the world, is a team sporting event wherein two teams, comprising five players each, take on each other. Points are scored by throwing the ball through a hoop placed at a height of 10 ft. These hoops are located on either ends of the basketball court, which is 91 ft 10.4 inches by 49 ft 2.6 inches in size according to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) norms.
Basketball Court Size and Layout
Although the rules constituted by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA)―the governing body for international basketball competitions―state that the court size must be 91.86 ft × 49.21 ft , the size of the court varies in different competitions and at different levels. In the National Basketball Association (NBA) games, for instance, the court is 94 ft × 50 ft, which is slightly larger than the FIBA norms. National federations under FIBA are permitted to use smaller courts for domestic competitions, but the size of the court should be a minimum of 85 ft 3.6 inches × 45 ft 11.2 inches.
Center circle is the area at the center of the court, wherein the tip off takes place (or the match begins). At the tip off, only two players―one from each side―are allowed to be in the center circle. The three-point line demarcates the beginning of the three-point area and the baskets executed from this area earns the team three points.
The area which is farthest from the basket, but inside the three-point line and outside the free throw lane, is referred to as the perimeter. The shots executed from here are called perimeter shots. The area closest to the basket, but outside the free throw lane, is referred to as low post.
The key, also referred to as shaded area, is the painted area beneath the basket, which is used to prevent the players from standing below the basket continuously for a long period. In NBA, there is an added feature known as the restricted area arc, which is used to prevent defending players from making apparent fouls.
In the NBA games, the length of the court is 94 ft (28.65 m), while the breadth is 50 ft (15.24 m). The rim or the hoop is located at the height of 10 ft (3.05 m). The radius of the restraining circle is 4 ft (1.22 m), while the radius of the center circle is 6 ft (1.82 m). The key, i.e., the shaded area below the basket, is 16 ft (4.88 m) wide. The three-point line is located at a distance of 23.9 ft from the center of the basket, while the free throw line is located at a distance of 15 ft from the backboard.
As per the FIBA norms, the length of the basketball court is 91.85 ft (28 m), while its breadth is 49.21 ft (15 m). The height of the rim or hoop is the same as in NBA, i.e., 10 ft (3.5 m). In fact, the height of the hoop is same irrespective of the measurements in senior level basketball. The radius of the restraining circle is also 4.10 ft (1.25 m) as in NBA, but the radius of the center circle is 5.90 ft (1.6 m) which makes it slightly smaller than NBA regulations. The three-point line is located at a distance of 22.5 ft (6.75 m), while the free throw line is located at a distance of 15.09 ft (4.6 m) from the backboard. In college basketball in the United States, the three-point line is located at a distance of 19.75 ft.
In 2010, the FIBA approved some historic changes in the game, some of which were related to court dimensions. These changes were perhaps implemented to add to the popularity of the game at the international level, and that explains their similarity to the NBA norms.