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Learning the Basics About the 3-Point Line in Basketball

Watching basketball can be such a treat to watch, whether it’s the professional players in the National Basketball Association or just a couple of competitive kids at school. Aside from admiring the people dribbling and running from one side of the court and back, you start to notice small details about the court just a little bit more. 

The red arc that’s outlined both sides of the basketball goal is pretty much a stand-out, and as it should be. The 3-point line is quite fundamental to the whole game. If you’re ever creating your own basketball court, whether it’s half or full, it’s a must to measure and mark out the 3-point line. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the 3-point line, from where it all started to how it looks, keep reading.  

The Purpose of the 3-Point Line 

As the name suggests, the 3-point line is used to measure a certain distance. If a player happens to score while outside of the arc, they’re awarded three points in their score instead of the regular two-point shots and one-point free throws during the game. 

For full basketball courts, each side gets a 3-point arc, while half basketball courts typically just get one. Any basketball goal should have a three-point line, as it keeps things interesting especially when the game comes down to the line. Sharpshooters can show off their skills and try to shoot as many three-pointers in order to score as much as possible. 

The Origin of the 3-Point Line

If you remember watching any basketball game, most commentators love to use the expression “from way downtown” whenever a player scores from the 3-point line. The line’s been popularized the most by the NBA’s broadcasters, though that wasn’t really the league that started it all. 

The 3-point line was first tested in a college game back in the ‘40s before the American Basketball League had officially used it in their rules and regulations around 20 years after. The NBA took even longer than that, only introducing it in the ‘70s. 

The Appearance of the 3-Point Line 

The 3-point line is in the shape of a convex, like an arc that begins from the end line of the court. There’s usually a distance of 22 feet from the basket, which can make it difficult for so many players. Hitting three-pointers from the corners can make a player seem closer due to the reduced inches, but that change in perspective will be something that you’d have to get used to. 

Do keep in mind that many people who create their own court change up the distance of the 3-point line to suit the players. Although 22-feet arcs are the standard for the NBA, WNBA, FIBA, and more, some leagues will find that they need to reduce it a little bit more. NCAA and other school-level leagues are recommended to keep the 3-point line around 20-19 feet. 


Learning more about the history and dynamics of the 3-point line can be quite eye-opening. It may not make the setting up and marking of the arc any easier, but there are tools like stencils available to create that much-needed perimeter. 

Quality Hoops can assist you with getting your basketball systems and equipment just in time for a three-point shooter to make a basket. We help out local organizations and neighborhood sports leagues in Guthrie, OK, to prepare for a game. Order and get free shipping now!

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