Basketball players come in all sizes—and so do the courts they play on. Ever wondered how much of a difference there was between the dimensions of your old junior high school court and the court used for the NCAA Finals?
Or what about the difference between NBA courts and the ones that are used for international basketball competitions like the Olympics?
We’re going to give you the answers to those questions and others. Read on for a look at the world of basketball court dimensions
If an NBA basketball court seems far larger than the one at your old high school, it’s not your imagination. An official NBA court measures a whopping 94 feet in length. The half court line is, of course, at 47 feet. From side to side, the court is 50 feet.
The 3-point line isn’t a consistent distance from the hoop. At the top of its arc, the three point arc is 23 feet and 9 inches away from the center of the basket. However, near the sideline, it’s only 22 feet. It’s interesting to note that the 3-point line isn’t measured from the front of the hoop but from its center.
The free throw line is 15 feet from the backboard. Notice that we said backboard. Most people mistakenly think that the foul line is measured from the front of the rim.
The key is 14-feet wide. The free-throw line intersects a 12-foot diameter circle that extends six feet into the key and forms the outer edge of the key, extending six feet outside the free-throw lane to form the top of the key. Underneath the basket, the NBA has a restricted area defined by a four-foot half circle or arc.
There are three complete circles marked on the court. There’s one at halfcourt and one at the top of either key. All three have a diameter of 12 feet.
Where do you place the backboard? An often-overlooked aspect of basketball court dimensions is the location of the backboard. It has to be four feet from the baseline.
Standardized Basketball Court Dimensions Beyond the NBA
The backboard itself is three-and-a-half feet tall and six feet wide. It has a sweet spot target for bank shots that’s a foot-and-a-half tall by two feet wide. These are the accepted standard measurements for a regulated-sized backboard.
There are other basketball measurements that are also universal. They’re used by the NBA, WNBA, FIBA, NCAA, high schools, and junior high schools.
These standardized dimensions include the height of the basketball rim from the floor: 10 feet. The diameter of the hoop is also standardized. It measures 18 inches at all levels of play.
The WNBA competes on courts with the same basic dimensions as the NBA. The exception is the 3-point line. While the distance from the corners is the same as that in the NBA at 22 feet, the straightaway distance is different. Instead of the NBA’s 23.75 feet, the WNBA chose 22.15 feet.
In college basketball, the men shoot 3-pointers from a shorter distance than their professional counterparts in the United States. They shoot from the international line, which is 21.65 feet from the corners and 22.65 feet at its farthest.
College men’s teams also fight for rebounds in a tighter key. The college key is only 12 feet wide compared to the NBA’s 16 feet wide.
Women’s college teams have a 3-point line that’s a consistent 20.75 feet from the center of the hoop. Their key is the same size as that of collegiate men at 12 feet.
The court dimensions for international basketball (FIBA) are nearly identical to that of the NBA. The slight discrepancies lie in the international use of the metric system. The international dimensions are set closer to logical percentages of the meter, so they will tend to be slightly shorter or longer than the NBA standard.
For example, the length of the international court is 28 meters. That means it’s 91.86 feet, short of the NBA’s 94 feet. The width is 15 meters (91.86 feet).
There’s also the key. It’s larger than the NBA version, but only barely. It’s 4.9 meters (16.08 feet), while the NBA key is an even 16 feet.
The restricted arc beneath the basket is just a hair larger on the international court. It measures 1.25 meters (4.10 feet) compared to the NBA’s four feet.
The 3-point line internationally is 6.60 meters (21.65 feet) from the side and 6.75 meters (22.15 feet) at its farthest. Meanwhile, the free-throw line is 4.6 meters (15.09) from the backboard.
High school basketball courts are smaller than those in college and the pros. They’re only 84 feet long. However, they’re the same width as NBA courts at 50 feet.
The 3-point line in high school isn’t much closer than the NCAA 3-point line. The high school 3-point line is 19.75 feet away, while the college line is set at 20.75 feet.
High school players shoot free throws from the same distance as pros: 15 feet. But the key is only 12 feet wide. That’s four feet narrower than the NBA standard but identical to the NCAA model.
Junior High School
In Junior High School, the basketball courts are notably smaller than professional courts. Junior high players compete on a surface that’s only 74 feet long. The court is also narrower than most other competitive courts, measuring only 42 feet.
The basketball court size may be smaller than high school courts, but the 3-point lines are identical. Both are 19.75 feet from the center of the basketball hoop. That means that kids in junior high are hitting 3-pointers that are only one foot shorter than their collegiate counterparts.
The junior high school free throw line is set at 15 feet. That’s the same distance as both the college level and the pros.
The key in junior high school is 12 feet wide to match that of high school and the NCAA.
Feed Your Basketball Craving
All basketball courts aren’t created equal. They vary depending on the level of play.
Now you can understand why it’s impressive for a high school graduate to skip the NCAA and go straight to the NBA and be competitive. You can also now see why players in the NBA and FIBA have little trouble playing on each other’s courts.
Keep returning to our blog for insights on more than just the dimensions of a basketball court. We keep you covered on a daily basis with the best in all the major sports from the latest news to the unforgettable moments of sports history.