Basketball Court Lines (2024)

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Last updated: Feb 09, 2024


Basketball Court Lines (1)

Any basketball court has various lines marking different parts of the basketball court, and each line has its own specific role in the way a basketball game is played. Read on to learn about the lines on a basketball court and what each line means.

Table of Contents

  • What Are the Lines on a Basketball Court?
  • The Baselines (End Lines)
  • The Sidelines
  • The Boundary Lines
  • The Free Throw Line (Foul Line)
  • The Lane Lines (Paint or Key)
  • The Midcourt Line (Half-Court Line)
  • The Three-Point Line (Three-Point Arc)
  • The Restricted Area
  • The Hash Marks
  • FAQ

What Are the Lines on a Basketball Court?

It's important to learn the lines on a basketball court to understand the game. Every line on the court has a purpose. Here are all of the lines on a basketball court:

  • Baselines (End Lines)
  • Sidelines
  • Boundary Lines
  • Free Throw Line (Foul Line)
  • Lane Lines (Paint or Key)
  • Midcourt Line (Half-court Line)
  • Three-Point Line (Three-Point Arc)
  • Restricted Area
  • Hash Marks

The Baselines (End Lines)

Basketball Court Lines (2)

The baselines, also known as end lines, are located at the ends of the court.The baselines denote inbounds and out-of-bounds on each side of the court. If the ball goes out of bounds across the baseline, players will stand behind the baseline and to the side of the backboard to inbound the ball. Depending on who you talk to, you may hear someone call these lines either the baselines or end lines.Baselines are 50 feet long.

The Sidelines

Basketball Court Lines (3)

On the sides of the court are the sidelines.Like the baselines, the sidelines mark the boundaries between inbounds and out of bounds. If a player steps on these lines or crosses them, he is out of bounds. Behind the sidelines are where the benches and scorer’s table are usually located, home to the head coach, players, officials, and media. The sidelines are 94 feet long.

The Boundary Lines

Basketball Court Lines (4)

The sidelines and baselines make up the perimeter of a basketball court.Together, they form the boundary lines dividing the court between inbounds and out-of-bounds. If the ball or a player in possession of the ball touches any boundary line, they will be called out of bounds, and the ball will be given to the opposing team. The boundary lines measure 94 feet (sidelines) by 50 feet (baselines).

The Free Throw Line (Foul Line)

Basketball Court Lines (5)

The free throw line, also called the foul line, is used by players during free throws.A free throw is taken when a player is fouled while in the shooting motion, after a technical or flagrant foul, or when a team is in the bonus. If awarded a free throw, a player will stand behind the foul line and shoot an uncontested shot that is worth one point.

A foul on a two-point shot that doesn’t go in awards two free throws, and a foul on a three-point shot that doesn’t go in is worth three points. The free throw line is further away from the basket in the NBA and college basketball compared to high school basketball. Free throw lines are 12 feet in length. They are 15 feet from the backboard and 19 feet from the baseline in the NBA.

The Lane Lines (Paint or Key)

Basketball Court Lines (6)

The lane lines are two lines that perpendicularly attach to the baselines and free throw lines.The rectangular area created by the free throw line and two lane lines is usually painted and referred to as either the “key” or the “paint.” The lane lines are 19 feet long in the NBA.

Offensive players are not allowed to stay within this area for more than three seconds, or they will be called for a violation. However, a defensive three-second violation is only assessed at the professional level since NCAA and high school basketball permits defenders to stay in the paint for any length of time.

The Midcourt Line (Half-Court Line)

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The midcourt line is located in the middle of the court and divides it equally into two pieces. It is also known as the half-court line. The midcourt line is used to equally divide the court and to call backcourt violations,which happen when a team with possession crosses mid-court and brings the ball back into their side of the court without the other team touching it. A backcourt violation will not be called if the defense deflects the ball into the other side of the court.The midcourt line is the same length as the baseline, which is 50 feet.

The Three-Point Line (Three-Point Arc)

Basketball Court Lines (8)

The three-point line, or three-point arc, surrounds each team's basket. It is used to determine how many points a field goal is worth. A team will earn two points if the shot is taken on or inside the three-point line and goes into the basket. If a shot is taken outside the three-point line and goes into the basket, a team will earn three points.If any part of a player's shoe is touching the line prior to releasing the ball, it will count as two points rather than three.

It is important to note that the distance between the three-point line and the basket varies depending on what level of basketball is being played. The NBA three-point line is the furthest away, followed by FIBA, the WNBA, and college basketball.The high school three-point line is the closest.

The radius of the three-point line at each level of basketball is as follows:

  • NBA: 23 feet, 9 inches
  • FIBA, WNBA, and College: 22 feet, 2 inches
  • High School: 19 feet, 9 inches

The Restricted Area

Basketball Court Lines (9)

The restricted area (also known as the restricted zone or restricted arc) is a semicircle located under the basket with a four-foot radius in the NBA.In college basketball, the restricted area is slightly smaller and has a radius of three feet.High school and lower levels of basketball don’t have a restricted area marked on the court.

In this area, offensive charging fouls are not called.A defender inside the restricted area is not considered a legal guarding position and cannot draw a charging foul from their opponent. This means that even if a charge occurred,a defender inside the restricted area would be called for a blocking foul because they are within the restricted area and made contact with a driving opponent.

The Hash Marks

Basketball Court Lines (10)

The hash marks are small lines connected to the lane lines. They run in rows towards the basket on either side of the free throw line. These lines denote where the non-shooting players should stand during a free throw. Only three players on each side of the painted area are permitted to stand within the hash marks during free throws.

Players are not allowed to encroach inside of the hash marks, as this could interfere with the player taking the free throw. If the defensive players move out of their spots before the free throw leaves the players hands, the player shooting the free throw gets to redo the shot if they miss. If an offensive player enters early, it is a violation, and the free throw does not count if it goes in. There are also two sets of hash marks on each sideline, which mark the area where coaches and players can stand in relation to the scorer’s table.


What do the lines on a basketball court mean?

The most important lines to know on the basketball court are the boundary lines, which mark the area of the court that is in play and the area that is out of bounds.The boundary lines consist of the two sidelines and the two baselines that form the rectangular boundary of the court. The midcourt line separates the two halves of the court. Free throw lines are used to mark the locations where players shoot free throws, and the three point line marks the distance where shots become worth three points instead of two.

What is the name of the line below the basketball hoop?

The name of the line below the basketball hoop is called the “restricted area.”Inside this line, defenders will not be able to draw a charge, even if they have set their feet before contact. Thus, when attempting to draw a charge, a defender should stay out of this area when setting their feet.

What is the name of the line that separates a basketball court in the middle?

The midcourt line, also known as the half-court line, is the line that runs through the middle of a basketball court and separates the two halves.The midcourt line is used to divide the two sides of a basketball court equally. Each team will attack offensively on one basket and defend on the other. The midcourt line is also used to call backcourt violations, which occur when a team in possession of the ball crosses the midcourt line to play offense and brings the ball back over midcourt to the defensive side of the court.


Pages Related to Basketball Court Lines

  • Basketball Free Throws
  • Basketball Court Boundary Lines
  • Basketball Field Goals
  • Basketball Clocks And Time
  • Basketball Court Components
  • Basketball Dribbling


Basketball Court Lines (2024)


What do all the lines mean on a basketball court? ›

The lines that run the length of the basketball court and mark the boundary are called the “sidelines", whilst the lines that are marked out behind each backboard are called the “endlines”, or sometimes the “baselines”.

How many lines does a basketball have? ›

A standard basketball has a pebbled exterior that's separated into eight panels by thin black lines. Those lines do more than give the ball its distinctive look. According to Basketball Word, the lines on a basketball make the sport easier to play.

How to measure basketball lines? ›

The Foul Line: For all Courts, The foul line distance is 15′ from the foul line to the front of the backboard and 18′ 10″ from the baseline. Circles: There are three 6′ circles on a court, one in the center of the court and one on each end centered on the foul line.

What are the two lines at each of the basketball courts? ›

Baseline and Endline are interchangeable terms depending upon which team has ball position. Baseline is used for the offensive end of the court. Endline is used for the back court or defensive end of the court. The mid court line divides the court in half.

How to mark basketball court lines? ›

Adjust accordingly to your line taping machine • Line widths are typically 2” • Using narrow tape, like 1” wide, is recommend when taping circles/arcs • On a full court, ensure that both courts are lined up from end to end. Run a string line from post to post to line each side up on center, if needed.

What are the different 3-point lines? ›

The NBA has a 22-foot 3-point line in the corners and a 23-foot, 9-inch line elsewhere. The WNBA and the international game plays with a 20-foot, 6-inch line.

What is Rule 6 in basketball? ›

Section I—Start of Games/Periods and Others. The game and overtimes shall be started with a jump ball in the center circle. The team which gains first possession of the game will put the ball into play at their opponent's endline to begin the fourth period.

What is a 7 in basketball? ›

Size 7 basketballs measure 29.5” in circumference and have a standard weight of 22 oz. Size 7 basketballs are the standard ball size for men's professional basketball associations, such as the NBA, as well as men's college, high school, and travel basketball leagues.

What is the D in basketball called? ›

3-and-D. Any player, typically not a star, who specializes mainly in three-point shooting ("3") and defense ("D"). The term is most often used in the NBA, where this specific skill set has been increasingly valued in the 21st century.

How accurate are NBA lines? ›

NBA odds are generally considered fairly accurate in predicting game outcomes, but it's important to understand the nuances: Overall Accuracy: Moneylines: Studies suggest actual win probabilities align closely with implied probabilities from moneylines (within 5%), meaning they're good at reflecting team strengths.

How many feet is a free throw? ›

The free throw line is 15 feet from the front of the backboard and is the same for all types of courts. The key or the free throw lane is 16 feet wide for NBA or FIBA and 12 feet wide for college, high school, and junior high basketball.

How many feet is a foul shot? ›

Just as in college and professional basketball, the foul line is 15 feet from the backboard, and the key is 19 feet long. It's also the same 12 feet wide as the NCAA — four feet narrower than the NBA and WNBA. The other visible difference is the distance from the three-point line.

Who scored 100 points in an NBA game? ›

Wilt Chamberlain set the single-game scoring record in the National Basketball Association (NBA) by scoring 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in a 169–147 win over the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962, at Hershey Sports Arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States.

What is 3 pointer in basketball? ›

three-pointer. noun. : a basketball shot or field goal from beyond the three-point line.

What is the NBA 3 point line? ›

From the 1997–98 season on, the NBA reverted the line to its original distance of 23 ft 9 in (22 ft at the corners, with a 3-inch differential). In 2008, FIBA announced that the distance would be increased by 50 cm (19.7 in) to 6.75 m (22 ft 1+3⁄4 in), with the change being phased in beginning in October 2010.

What is the 3 point line in the NBA? ›

The distance from the basket to the three-point line varies by competition level: in the National Basketball Association (NBA) the arc is 23 feet 9 inches (7.24 m) from the center of the basket; in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), the National ...

What does the 6 mean on NBA courts? ›

What is the number 6 on NBA jerseys? The No. 6 patch on NBA jerseys this season is a nod to Bill Russell's legacy on the court. The Boston Celtics legend amassed 11 NBA titles, five MVPs, 12 All-Star appearances and countless other accolades while rocking the No. 6 on his back from 1956-1969.

Where is the 3 point line in basketball? ›

At the top of the arc, the three-point line is 6.75 meters from the center of the basket or 22.15 feet. This measurement works out to about 22 feet, two inches. The FIBA three-point line, which has also been adopted by the WNBA, is over a foot and a half closer than the NBA line.

What is the curved line under the basket? ›

Inside the key, a four-foot arc is aligned with the center of the basket to designate the restricted arc. If a defender is inside this semicircle, he cannot draw a charging foul.

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