In the classic basketball film Hoosiers, head coach Norman Dale (played brilliantly by Gene Hackman) transports his squad to the location of their state championship clash. He has the squad take measurements of the basketball court’s parameters, including the height of the basketball hoop.
Despite the size of the gym, he promises the players that all of the measures will be the same as on their home court. It’s an engrossing moment in which the great coach tries to reduce the pressure before the big game.
One of the best things about basketball is that the dimensions remain generally the same regardless of where you’re watching a game – from an NBA arena to a college fieldhouse to a high school gym. No matter where you go, the hoop is the same height. Is it, however, always been this way?
What is the height of an NBA hoop?
An NBA hoop — and most regulation-sized hoops — stands at a height of 10 feet off the ground. Some young basketball leagues may employ adjustable rims or a makeshift backboard and basket on the front of a standard hoop to achieve this.
It’s tough to see the hoop’s height ever altering since it’s so embedded in the sport. But that doesn’t rule out the possibility of raising the hoop in the future.
Has there ever been a campaign to raise or lower the height?
The idea of lowering the NBA rim has never been seriously considered. Since 1952, the average NBA player’s height has risen dramatically.
The average player’s height in 1952 was 6-foot-4 inches. Now? From approximately 1987 till now, it’s been about 6-foot-7. As a result, today’s players have an easier time playing above the rim.
In a 2013 New York Times op-ed, legendary basketball coach Pete Newell proposed that the NCAA and NBA increase their hoops to 11 feet. The purpose for this was to focus the game’s attention on the fundamentals of the game, including as passing, cutting, shooting, and floor space, rather than high-flying acrobatics.
Dwight Howard requested that the NBA elevate the rim height to 12 feet in the 2008 Slam Dunk competition to show that his dunking talent was more than just his height. However, this was more of a show than a genuine consideration of changing the game’s proportions.
The NBA hoop will almost certainly never be lifted to encourage a different style of play. The slam dunk has become a signature of the game, and it’d be difficult to find anyone in the league office who wants it to go away in order to encourage better backdoor cutters. But has the NBA hoop gone this high in the past?
Have NBA hoops always been the same height?
Forget about the NBA’s basketball. In basketball, virtually all hoops have always been the same height. And there’s a rationale behind it that goes back almost a century.
The genesis of the uniform hoop height may be traced back to the game’s inception. Dr. James Naismith invented basketball in 1891 by suspending peach baskets from a fence. The guardrail stood at a height of ten feet above the ground. The height worked so well that it has stayed constant throughout the sport’s existence.
For whatever reason, a basketball hoop at 10 feet is and has always been the ideal height. It’s taller than the players, but not so much that they can’t reach it with their great athleticism. If something isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.