Why is a basketball court rectangular

Xanten Romans Basketball e.V.

Basketball is played on a rectangular playing field that is 28m long and 15m wide. But it can also be up to 4m in length and up to 2m in width shorter. The height of the ceiling must be at least 7m. The lines in the playing field must be 5 cm wide and clearly visible. The center line divides the playing field into two identical halves. 5.8m from the baseline is the free throw line, which is 3.6m wide. This delimits the zone with its lines running diagonally to the baseline.

The playing fields in halls mostly consist of parquet flooring (mandatory in all top European leagues) or linoleum flooring, while the outdoor courts are mostly asphalt.

The boundaries of the playing field have certain, generally applicable names:

  • The lines on the long side are called side lines.
  • The lines at the end of the playing field are called end lines or baselines.
  • The boundary between the two halves of the game is the center line.
  • In the middle of the playing field, the center jump circle is drawn, in which the jump ball is executed to open the game.


The free throw area or "the zone" is the area of ​​the field in which the main action takes place. While in the US it is in the shape of a rectangle, in Europe the zone is shaped like a trapezoid. An attacker may not stay in the free throw area for more than three seconds; there are no time limits for the defender.

A player fouled in the throw receives free throws taken from the free throw line. These shots are "free" because the shooter is allowed to become defender without a disturbing defender. The free thrower must not touch or cross the free throw line before his throw has touched the ring, otherwise a hit would be nullified.

The other players stand at the side of the zone or behind the thrower. You are not allowed to influence the throw in any way. The spectators sitting behind the basket usually try to irritate the opposing thrower by shouting, jumping up and down, waving and the like.


The three-point line is another important part of the playing field. This marking was only introduced in Germany at the end of the 1980s. They have been around for much longer in the American professional leagues and their distance from the basket has been changed several times.

Every throw that is fired behind this line - even a desperate throw over half the field just before the end of the game or half-time - is rated with three points. The thrower's feet must be in front of the line during the throw and must not touch it until the ball has left the shooter's hand. Of course, he can then land behind the line or may be in the air above the 3-point line during the throwing attempt.


If you think of the entire field of play, divide it into the front and back fields. The apron is half where the attackers have their basket. The other half is called the backfield. Thus, the backcourt of one team is also the frontcourt of the other team.