NBA courts have undergone a few changes over the years, but must adhere to exact specifications. Measurements, surface material and upkeep all play important roles in the NBA game.
All NBA courts measure 94 feet from one end to the other, and 50 feet from sideline to sideline. While these measurements may not be adjusted, the amount of out of bounds space (between the court and the bench or crowd) often varies.
Several markers around the court help dictate an NBA game. There is the half court line. Each end has a 3-point line, which is an arc around the basket. This line is 23 feet 9 inches from the basket (and 22 feet from the sides). There is a free throw line at each end of the court. The line is 15 feet from the basket. Finally, there are two lines that start at either side of the free throw line and end at the out of bounds line under the basket. This rectangle makes up the area in basketball known as â??the keyâ? or â??the lane,â? and is 12 feet wide.
While some high school and college basketball teams play their games on courts made of synthetic materials, all NBA courts are made of hardwood. The popular choice is maple. Arenas from TD Garden in Boston to the Staples Center in Los Angeles feature maple courts. Other courts, such as The Palace in Detroit, are made of a maple-oak blend. Maple is known to be resilient and tends to cause fewer injuries when players fall.
In 1952, \"the key\" in front of the free throw line to the basket was widened from 6 feet to 12 feet. In the 1979-80 season, the NBA officially installed the 3-point line. It originally was 23 feet 9 inches, but the league tried to shorten it to 22 feet in the mid-1990s, only to move it back to its original measurements.
The upkeep for a basketball court is essential to the sport. Even during an NBA game, you often can see the court being mopped and polished to maintain its appearance and for the safety of the players. One of the results of having high-quality maple wood flooring is that the court is susceptible to the same wear and tear as any wood surface. When teams are not playing, many courts are sanded, waxed and buffed.
- Photo Credit Mark Nolan/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
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