Several slightly different sets of standards are current for basketball: one for high schools and colleges, one for women, one for professionals, and one for international matches. The biggest difference is the international standards for the court.


The ball is molded, 29½ to 30 inches in circumference and weighs 20 to 22 ounces when inflated. Dropped from a height of 6 feet to a solid wood floor, it should bounce to a height of from 49 inches to 54 inches. The National Basketball Assn. considers the official ball to be size 7.

Before 1930, the ball was larger, with a maximum mass of 23 oz. and a maximum circumference of 32 inches.

Playing court

The court for adults is, ideally, 94 by 50 feet; for high schools, 74 by 50 feet. The boundary lines (and all other lines on the court) are 2 inches wide (international court, 5 centimeters). The size of the court is measured from the inside edges of the boundary lines. If the court is less than 74 feet long, it should be divided by two parallel lines, each parallel to and 40 feet from the end line farthest from it.

drawing of half a basketball court


The basket is a ring with an inside diameter of 18 inches, made of metal rod 5/8 inch in diameter. Its rim is mounted 10 feet above and parallel to the floor, with the nearest inside point 6 inches from the surface of the backboard.


The backboard may be rectangular, 4 feet high x 6 feet wide, with its surface 4 feet from the end lines and its top 13 feet above the floor. Or the backboard may be fan-shaped.

Originally the backboard was on the end line. In the 1939–40 season it was moved in four feet to reduce the number of out-of-bounds calls.

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