During the 2020-21 NBA season, Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet led the league in average distance traveled per game. His 2.76 average miles traveled on the court was impressive, and it got me thinking about just how big an NBA basketball court is.
An NBA court is 94 feet long and 50 feet wide. While less than a hundred feet seems small to think about, try running up and down it for 48 minutes while either trying to score on your opponent or defending them.
Did you know the dimensions of a basketball court before reading this article? If not, stay tuned, because we are going to break down all types of basketball courts and just how big they really are.
Other Basketball Court Dimensions
A basketball court is a rectangular-shaped surface where games are played. The dimensions of a basketball court start with how long and wide it is, but it doesn’t stop there. There are other lines on the court that play a huge part in the dimensions of what the athletes play on.
For example, the width of the free throw rectangle – also known as the key or the paint – is 16 feet wide. For the majority of NBA players, who played at least one year of NCAA basketball, that changed when they entered the league. In NCAA basketball competition, the width of the key is only 12 feet.
International Court Dimensions
During international play – like the World Games and Olympics – basketball players play on a slightly smaller court. The Federation Internationale de Basketball Amateur (FIBA) court dimensions measure 91.86 feet long and 49.21 feet wide.
You may wonder why the dimensions aren’t whole numbers and that is because International Basketball uses the metric system. In metric terms, the length of the court is 28 m and the court’s width is 15 m.
There are other differences between the NBA and International basketball courts inside the lines. In fact, every measurement on the court differs.
Take a look at some comps below. These measurements, along with the way the game is played and variations in how referees call international play, make for a much different basketball experience overseas.
|No Charge Zone
|Free Throw Line
|23.75 feet, 22 feet in the corner
|22.15 feet, 21.65 feet in the corner
High School Court Dimensions
When you make the leap from a high school to a college court, you may find yourself getting winded a lot quicker. The fact that college and NBA courts are 10 feet longer than your old high school’s hardwood could be why.
While a high school court still measures 50 feet in width, the length of the court is only 84 feet. Ten feet may not seem like a lot, but during a fast break – or a long stretch of a game without a stoppage in play – that extra bit of distance is felt.
High school three-point lines are also much shorter, only clocking in at 19.75 feet.
One Dimension That Has Never Changed
The height of the basketball hoop is 10 feet tall. For basketball players and fans alike, that height seems to be perfect.
A sport like baseball has seen periods where the sport has to alter the baseball, bats, and pitchers’ mounds to change with the times. Too many home runs, low-scoring games, etc. are all reasons why baseball had to revamp the sport.
Basketball, on the other hand, has never had to change from the original 10-foot hoop. You would think the style of play or the amount of athleticism that players have today compared to their predecessors would have called for modifications. But the sport, which was invented 130 years ago, struck gold with the height of the hoops.
Was the 10-foot hoop measurement carefully crafted by the game’s founder, James Naismith? Actually, the way it was decided was quite the contrary.
The NBA’s “Distance Traveled” Stat
Earlier, I cited a stat that tracked the distance each player travels on average during an NBA game. I find this statistic fascinating in that it shows you how hard someone is working on the court in a tangible way.
During my playing career, I prided myself on making my defenders work as hard as possible while guarding me. Playmaking was never my strength, but cuts and moving without the ball got me plenty of open shots.
I always wondered who ran the most on my team but never thought it would be tracked as the NBA does it. My college career ended in 2004, and the NBA didn’t start tracking this stat until 2013.
A lot of this stat is predicated on the size of the court. This season, the NFL added an extra game which gives players more time to build stats and break records. Peyton Manning holds the record for most passing yards in a season with 5,477.
If Aaron Rodgers breaks that record this year, with an extra game, then that is a competitive advantage. Now imagine if the NBA widened the court or made it shorter. The “distance traveled” stat would definitely change with it.
The dimensions of a basketball court are very interesting and are a key element to the way the game is played. Variations in the court depending on the level of play may take some getting used to as you move up the ranks. Just think though, the bigger the court, the more distance you will travel!
Have you ever played basketball on an NBA court? Just how much bigger did it feel compared to a high school court?