Sports & Games

Understanding Basketball Courts with Numerical Measures

basketball court measurement

A basketball court, since it is played all over the world, can have different sizes and shape. Nevertheless, most courts follow quite similar, and near measurements and they feature almost the same equipment.

The NBA, FIBA, and NCAA all follow a unified guideline in making their courts across the planet. With some small and subtle differences, here we look at the dimensions and measurement of basketball courts.

Measurement of the Basketball Court

A basketball court is divided into two halves where each half is a mirror reflection of the other half. There are 5 court lines or layouts with distinctive names for the borders of the court. The measurements for NBA basketball courts and WNBA courts are similar.

NBA and WNBA basketball courts

i.                The frontcourt and backcourt

In general, it is the two half of the overall court. However, the frontcourt is usually recognized as the location of the offence’s basket. In contrast and the backcourt is known as the location of the defence’s basket.

ii.              Free throw lane and free throw line

The epicentre of the action is the free-throw lane. It is designed in each half-court with a 12 to 16 feet wide rectangle. The length of the free-throw lane is 15 feet which are measured till the free throw line from the basket.

Players who play in the offense are not allowed to stand inside the free throw lane for more than 3 seconds. However, when a teammate is shooting, the player may shoot the ball from there. After the shot, the player cannot stay there for more than 3 seconds. It is an area for the defensive players, so they can stay there as long as needed.

The free-throw line is sometimes called a ‘foul line’ is one situation. When an opponent fouls a player, that player is granted a free shot to the basket. This shot is called ‘foul shots’, and that is when the line is mentioned as a foul line.

With no defender guarding the basket, the fouled player shoots freely without touching or crossing the line until the ball smashes onto the rim of the basket.

iii.            Hash marks

The NBA basketball court contains several hash marks. First of all, 4 hash marks are drawn perpendicularly on each side of the sideline with 2 inches wide and 28 inches from the baseline mark. They must be expanded 3 feet inside the court.

2 hash marks are drawn perpendicularly on each side of the free-throw line with 2 inches wide. They are 3 feet away from the line and are expanded 6 inches inside the court.

There are again 4 hash marks that are drawn parallel to baseline and on each side of the free-throw circle with 2 inches wide. These are 6 inches in length and 13 and 3 feet away from the baseline and free throw lane line respectively.

Lastly, 2 hash marks are drawn perpendicularly to the sideline with 2 inches wide and on the midcourt line with 4 feet on each side.

iv.            The 3-point arc

This arc is located around the basket in a semicircle shape. The arc is 22 feet away from the center of the basket rim and there is a straight line that expands 16 feet 9 inches from the baseline. This line also expands from the center of the rim outwards to 23 feet 9 inches.

If a player makes a successful shot beyond this arc, the team gets awarded with 3 points. While launching for the shot, a 3-point shooter must stay behind the arc.

v.              The restricted arc

This is a semicircular area which is drawn right under the basket. It is drawn 4 feet away from the mid-point of the basket ring and with a 2 inches line being parallel to the lane line and face of the backboard.

In this restricted area, a defensive player cannot charge fouls to opponents when the player’s feet are inside.

FIBA/NBL basketball court

The court length and width are a little less than the NBA, with 91.86 feet and 49.21 feet, respectively. This difference occurs due to dissimilarity between the international measurement system and the US measurement system.

Most other measurements are quite similar to the NBA system but only with a few less amount due to the feet to inch conversion rate. The key, basket, foul line, and restricted area all have a similar measurement.

The main difference, however, is the 3-point arc. The 3-point line is 6.75 meters or 22.15 feet away from the centre of the basket. Both the FIBA and WNBA 3-point line is just a foot and a half closer than the 3-point line of NBA.

NCAA basketball court

The National College Basketball Association (NCAA) also follows the NBA dimensions. These include- court, foul line, backboard, basket height, 3-point arc and so on.

However, the court is a little bit shorter than the NBA court, with 12 feet wide and the first box being 6 feet away from the baseline. Besides, the restricted area is also smaller as it is 3 feet in diameter rather than 4 feet diameter of the NBA.

The significant difference between them is in the 3-point arc. It is much smaller and has no extra line to define space on the sidelines. The arc is 20 feet 9 inches away from the centre of the basket.

Due to such a difference in the 3-point arc, a player needs to adjust initially in national or professional level games.

High school basketball court

With still 50 feet wide, the high school basketball court is a lot shorter in its length. An almost 10 feet shorter, 84 feet length, makes the high school courts very distinctive from international and professional courts.

Another difference in high school courts is, again, the 3-point line. Being way shorter than NBA and FIBA courts, the free-throw line is 19 feet in length and 9 inches away from the circle. Furthermore, in high school basketball games, the restricted area rule does not imply.

As a result, the restricted area under the basket does not exist in high school basketball courts.

Just like other basketball courts, the high school court is similar in size in tip-off circle, backboard, basket height, foul line, and key.


Although it may seem that basketball court measurement is complex and vary worldwide, the similarities make it easier to make anywhere and by anyone. Moreover, all you need to enjoy this game is an opponent, a ball, and a basket to hang 10-feet over from where you stand.

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