A basketball court is divided into many parts. Players, officials, and spectators should be familiar with them to make sense of a basketball game.
In this article, I will discuss everything you need to know about the parts of a basketball court so you play and enjoy the game right.
Basketball Court Lines And Markings
No matter what basketball court you see, you’ll notice that the area is divided. This indicates specific areas in the game where players stand, move, or shoot.
These are the different lines and markings in an organized basketball court.
These two boundary lines run the court length, establishing the playing area. It’s determined by the width of the court.
They’re also used for out-of-bounds purposes, along with the base and endlines.
Baseline or Endline
The baseline and endline extend from sideline to sideline, 4 feet behind the standard basketball backboard.
These are typically 50 feet wide and establish the playing area along the sidelines.
Its name is based on which team has the ball position. It’s called a baseline for the offensive end of the court but an endline for the defensive end.
The midcourt line (also called a halfcourt line or division line) divides the whole court in half. It separates the court into two equal-sized pieces called the front court and the back court.
As soon as the ball crosses this basketball court mark, the play of the offensive team reduces to half of the court line.
For most levels, the team only has 8 to 10 seconds to advance the ball across this division line.
Any shots made from the three-point line or arc count as three points.
Three-point lines can vary depending on the game level, and each court has a different distance.
Free Throw Line
The boundary line where a player shooting a free throw stands is called the free throw line.
Aside from free throws, this line also defines the 3-second area, where players can’t stay for more than three seconds.
Free Throw Circle
Free throw circles are found in the free throw lane, and they’re usually 12 feet in diameter and come into play during a free throw or jump ball.
During jump balls, non-jumpers stay outside of the circle until it’s tapped by one of the players within the area.
A lane line extends from the free throw line to the baseline or end lines. Its width and shape vary depending on the game’s level.
It has free-throw lane space markings to align and separate non-shooters during a free throw. It defines the free throw lane in basketball courts.
The offensive players occupy the first space during a free throw. Non-shooters of the defensive players can only step into the 3-second area once the ball is shot.
Center Jump Circle
The center jump circles located in the middle of the court line are used for the opening tip, and they’re where jump balls are called for.
Two jumpers start the game action or overtime period by tipping the ball at the center jump circle.
Basketball Court Areas
Besides the different lines and markings, there are also specific areas in the court.
- Three-second area – also known as the Paint, it’s the area below the free-throw line and between the lane lines. It’s a violation if an offensive player remains there for more than three seconds and the opposing team gets the ball. It has a series of small lines called hash marks. Non-shooting players use these hash marks to line up during a free throw. A professional league also limits the number of defensive players in the area.
- Block – these are the two areas on the edges of the Paint called low blocks. It separates defensive and offensive players during a free throw.
- Elbow – this is where the free throw line meets lane one. They’re important for dribble penetration.
- Free throw line extended – a free throw line extended is an imaginary line representing the extension of the free throw to establish defensive rules.
- Top of circle – this is located outside the free throw circle and is used as a reference for aligning players.
- Wing – it’s at the side of the court and has a designated “ballside” or “weakside,” depending on the handler’s position.
- Corner – this is an open area where zone defense is played. It’s also where they can trap an offensive player shooting the ball.
- Short corner – this is a strategic offensive area along the baseline. It’s usually used against zone defenses.
- 4′ restricted area – a small arc marks the restricted area to stop players from standing under the basket. You can easily get fouls in the restricted area.
- Front court and back court – the frontcourt denotes the offensive end of the court. The backcourt is the area behind the mid-court line. It can’t go back court once the ball advances to the front court.
Court Dimensions and Timing Comparisons
Different basketball associations have different standards. An NBA basketball court differs from a FIBA basketball court and a college basketball court.
It can differ between professional leagues and smaller games, depending on the rules observed.
These are the different dimensions depending on the different associations:
International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Court Dimensions
- Dimensions: 91.9 feet long and 49.2 feet wide
- Center circle radius: 11.81 feet
- Corner three: 21.65 feet
- Three-point line: 22.15 feet
Women’s Professional Basketball (WNBA) Court Dimensions
- Dimensions: 94 feet long and 50 feet wide
- Three-point line: 22 feet and 1.75 inches
National Basketball Association Court Dimensions
- Dimensions: 94 feet long by 50 feet wide
- Free throw circle and the outside of a center circle: 6 feet radius
- Inside circle: 2 feet radius
- Free throw line: 15 feet from the basket and 19 feet from the baseline
- Three-point line: 23 feet long, 22 feet at the sidelines, and 9 inches from the hoop
NCAA Court Dimensions
- Dimensions: 94 feet long by 50 feet wide
- Three-point arc: 22 feet and 1.75 inches
High School Basketball Court Dimensions
- Dimensions: 84 feet long and 50 feet wide
- Junior high school courts: 74 x 42 feet
- Free throw lane: 15 feet from the center of the backboard, 12 feet wide, and 19 feet long
- Three-point arc: 19 feet and 9 inches
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Let’s discuss the most questions about the parts of a basketball court.
How Many Sections Is the Basketball Court Divided To?
A standard basketball court is divided into two main sections separated by the half-court line. Both sides are mirrored and exactly the same, containing a 3-point line, baseline, and free-throw line areas.
Where Is the Block on a Basketball Court?
This buffer area on the lane lines separates the offensive and defensive players during a free throw attempt.
Now that you’re more familiar with the court’s areas and parts, you can better understand basketball games.
Whether watching an official game on an NBA court, college basketball, or playing with a few friends, you can better grasp what each line and circle means.