How High Is a NBA Basketball Hoop

How High Is a NBA Basketball Hoop

by ORTAK CALISMA on Apr 02, 2021

The height of NBA basketball hoop is 10 feet. When James Naismith, the guy credited with inventing the game of hoops, drafted the first-ever rules of the game, he set the height of the basketball rim as 10 feet. Many, many years later (over 125 years), the hoop height has remained unchanged.

How the height was arrived at?

You might think that the height of the basketball rim for the first game was arrived at after extensive consultations and lots of calculations.

But that’s not true.

When James Smith hung the peach basket (what was initially used as the hoop) on the first basketball court near a running track at the Springfield Teachers' College, they found its height from the ground to be 10 feet.

And since then, the 10-feet hoop height became not just the standard but the integral part of the hoops game.

Attempts to change the hoop height:

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the 10-feet height has gone unchallenged for the last 125 years or so.

When the basketball player average height requirements were set at 6 ft. 7 in (2.01 m) by NBA, those who have always been in favor of the height being increased gained an incredible amount of support from all over.

Height became an advantage in the game, making the tallest men to be drafted on various teams with serious regularity. As Pablo S. Torre from Sports Illustrated explains, a male as tall as 7 foot has chances as high as 17% of playing in the NBA (solely based on his height).

As you can easily guess, the increased average player height was a disadvantage to the shorter players—who had to rely more on skills and basics to be able to survive with the taller players in the court.

The 2008 NBA all-star slam dunk competition & rim height re-birth debate:

All the attempts to change the basketball height have been unsuccessful for years. And then came the 2008 NBA all-star slam dunk competitions.

Dwight Howard, a 6 ft. 11in player brought up the hoop height change debate again when he challenged the NBA officials to raise the hoop height by 2 feet higher (making it 12 feet) for high dunk.

The reason why he did this is that he wanted to end an argument with the short player who always said that his height was the reason behind his incredible dunking ability.

Unfortunately, the NBA officials didn’t heed to the call. They stated that the hoop height remains 10 feet whether there’s a dunk competition or not. As expected, Howard went ahead to win the contest.

The officials, however, promised to raise the rim to 12 feet in the following year’s all-star slam dunk competition. And Howard went ahead to complete a 12 ft. two-handed dunk. 

Are there any signs of the hoop height being changed?

As years go by, many players, coaches, are coming out to campaign for height increase. Nearly all of them seems to have settled for a new height of 11, with a few going as high as 12 ft.

Despite their efforts, NBA officials haven’t given any sign of changing the height of the hoop.

Only time will tell if the Naismith’s standard 10 ft. height will remain, or the hoop will get a notch higher.