The Distance From the Hoop to the Free Throw Line in Basketball

Basketball Free Throw
A young man standing on an old basketball court. (Image: HyperionPixels/iStock/Getty Images)

The size of a basketball court varies among leagues. A professional court is larger than a high school court. Other court dimensions, such as the 3-point line, also vary. The distance of the free-throw line from the hoop is the same for all levels of play, except international competitions.

Free-Throw Distance

The governing organizations for basketball measure the distance of the free-throw line from the front plane of the backboard. The NBA, the NCAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations dictate that the free-throw line is 15 feet horizontally from the plane of the front of the backboard. The free-throw line on international courts is 15.09 feet from the backboard.

Distance from Hoop

The edge of the hoop is six inches from the plane of the face of the backboard. The ring has an interior diameter of 18 inches. This places the front edge of the hoop about two feet from the backboard. The free-throw line is about 13 feet horizontally from the front edge of the hoop. International hoops must be a minimum of 450 mm and a maximum of 459 mm, which is between 17.72 and 18 inches. The free-throw line is still approximately 13 feet horizontally from the face of the backboard, and 16 feet, 5 inches measured point to point through the air.

Court Size

Courts for NBA games in the U.S. are 94 feet long and 50 feet wide. College courts, men's and women's, are the same size as NBA courts. High school courts are a little shorter at 84 feet long but the same width, 50 feet. Courts governed by the International Basketball Federation, or FIBA, for international competitions are close to NBA size, but they are measured in millimeters. Courts for international games are 32,000 mm long by 19,000 mm wide, which is 91.86 feet by 49.21 feet.

Playground Hoops

Playground basketball courts are typically created at the same specifications of other courts with the free-throw line being set 15 feet from the backboard. However, there is no regulations for playground courts, so the dimensions could be different from those used in high school, college or professional games.

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