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A three-point field goal (also 3-pointer, three or, trey ) is a field goal in a basketball game made from beyond the three-point line, a designated arc surrounding the basket. A successful attempt is worth three points, in contrast to the two points awarded for field goals made within the three-point line and the one point for each made free throw.
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 FIBA, the WNBA, and men's play in both the NCAA (all divisions) and NAIA, the arc is 6.75 m (22 ft 1.75 in); and in NCAA and NAIA women's play, the arc is 20 feet 9 inches (6.32 m). The (W)NBA, FIBA, and U.S. college men's three-point lines become parallel to each sideline at the points where each arc is a specified distance from the sideline. In both the NBA and WNBA, this distance is 3 feet (0.91 m) from the sideline; as a result, the distance from the center of the basket gradually decreases to a minimum of 22 feet (6.7 m). FIBA specifies the arc's minimum distance from the sideline as 0.9 metres (2 ft 11 in), resulting in a minimum distance from the center of the basket of 6.6 metres (21 ft 8 in). The NCAA and NAIA men's arc is the same distance from the center of the basket as the FIBA arc, but is 3 feet 4 inches (1.02 m) from each sideline because the North American court (used by the NAIA, NCAA, NBA, and WNBA) is slightly wider than the FIBA court. In all NCAA or NAIA women's play, the arc is continuous for 180° around the basket. There are more variations (see main article).
In 3x3, a FIBA-sanctioned variant of the half-court 3-on-3 game, the same line exists, but shots from behind it are only worth 2 points with all other shots worth 1 point.
The three-point line was first tested at the collegiate level in 1945, with a 21-foot line, in a game between Columbia and Fordham, but it was not kept as a rule. There was another one-game experiment in 1958, this time with a 23-foot line, in a game between St. Francis (NY)and Siena. In 1961, Boston University and Dartmouth played one game with an experimental rule that counted all field goals as three points. In 1962, the St. Francis (NY) head coach, Daniel Lynch, once again made the suggestion of a 3pt line to the New York Basketball Writers Association.
At the direction of Abe Saperstein, the American Basketball League became the first basketball league to institute the rule in 1961.As commissioner of the new league, Saperstein wanted to add excitement to the game and distinguish the league from the bigger NBA. He hoped the three-pointer would become basketball's equivalent of the home run. “We must have a weapon,” Saperstein said, “and this is ours.”
To determine the distance the new shot line should be from the basket, Saperstein and longtime DePaul University coach Ray Meyer went onto a court one day with tape and selected 25 feet as the right length. “They just arbitrarily drew lines,” his son Jerry Saperstein said. “There’s really no scientific basis. Just two Hall of Fame coaches getting together and saying: ‘Where would we like to see the line?’” Not long after, in June 1961, Saperstein was traveling when the other seven ABL owners voted 4-3 to officially shorten the line, to 22 feet. Saperstein, who had significant power in the league as owner of the popular Globetrotters, disagreed with this and simply ignored the ruling. Games continued with the 25 feet (7.62 m) shot. Saperstein eventually acknowledged there was one problem with the 25-foot arc and solved it by adding a 22-foot line in the corners. “It made for interesting possibilities,” he wrote.
After the ABL shut down in 1963, the three-point shot was adopted by the Eastern Professional Basketball League in its 1963–64 season. It was also popularized by the American Basketball Association (ABA), which introduced it in its inaugural 1967–68 season. ABA commissioner George Mikan stated that the three-pointer "would give the smaller player a chance to score and open up the defense to make the game more enjoyable for the fans". During the 1970s, the ABA used the three-point shot, along with the slam dunk, as a marketing tool to compete with the NBA. Its ninth and final season concluded in the spring of 1976.
Three years later in June 1979, the NBA adopted the three-point line for a one-year trial for the 1979–80 season, despite the view of many that it was a gimmick. Chris Ford of the Boston Celtics is credited with making the first three-point shot in NBA history on October 12, 1979. The season opener at Boston Garden was more remarkable for the debut of Larry Bird (and two new head coaches). Rick Barry of the Houston Rockets, in his final season, also made one in the same game, and Kevin Grevey of the Washington Bullets made one that Friday night as well.
The sport's international governing body, FIBA, introduced the three-point line in 1984, at 6.25 m (20 ft 6 in), and it made its Olympic debut in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea.
The NCAA's Southern Conference became the first collegiate conference to use the three-point rule, adopting a 22-foot (6.71 m) line for the 1980–81 season. Ronnie Carr of Western Carolina was the first to score a three-point field goal in college basketball history on November 29, 1980. Over the following five years, NCAA conferences differed in their use of the rule and distance required for a three-pointer. The line was as close as 17 ft 9 in (5.41 m) in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and as far away as 22 ft (6.71 m) in the Big Sky.
Used only in conference play for several years, it was adopted by the NCAA in April 1986 for the 1986–87season at 19 ft 9 in (6.02 m) and was first used in the NCAA Tournament in March 1987. The NCAA adopted the three-pointer in women's basketball on an experimental basis for that season at the same distance, and made its use mandatory beginning in 1987–88. In 2007, the NCAA lengthened the men's distance by a foot to 20 ft 9 in (6.32 m), effective with the 2008–09 season, and the women's line was moved to match the men's in 2011–12. American high schools, along with elementary and middle schools, adopted a 19 ft 9 in (6.02 m) line nationally in 1987, a year after the NCAA. The NCAA experimented with the 6.75 m (22 ft 1 3⁄4 in) FIBA three-point line distance in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in 2018 and 2019, then adopted that distance for all men's play with a phased conversion that began with Division I in the 2019–20 season. The NAIA and other American associations also adopted the new NCAA distance for their respective men's play. In that same 2019–20 season, the NCAA planned to experiment with the FIBA arc in women's postseason events other than the NCAA championships in each division, most notably the Women's National Invitation Tournament and Women's Basketball Invitational; these events were ultimately scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For three seasons beginning in 1994–95, the NBA attempted to address decreased scoring by shortening the distance of the line from 23 ft 9 in (7.24 m) (22 ft (6.71 m) at the corners) to a uniform 22 ft (6.71 m) around the basket. 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). As of 2016 [update] Ray Allen is the NBA all-time leader in career three-pointers with 2,973.
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. In December 2012, the WNBA announced that it would use the FIBA distance, starting in 2013; by 2017, the distance at the corners was lengthened to match the NBA. The NBA has discussed adding a four-point line, according to president Rod Thorn.
In the NBA, three-point field goals became increasingly more frequent along the years, especially by mid-2015 onward. The increase in latter years has been attributed to NBA player Stephen Curry, who is credited with revolutionizing the game by inspiring teams to regularly employ the three-point shot as part of their winning strategy.
|Season||Average three-point goals per game||Average three-point attempts per game||Effectiveness|
A three-point line consists of an arc at a set radius measured from the point on the floor directly below the center of the basket, and two parallel lines equidistant from each sideline extending from the nearest end line to the point at which they intersect the arc. In the (W)NBA, NCAA or NAIA men's and FIBA standards, the arc spans the width of the court until it is a specified minimum distance from each sideline. The three-point line then becomes parallel to the sidelines from those points to the baseline. The unusual formation of the three-point line at these levels allows players some space from which to attempt a three-point shot at the corners of the court; the arc would be less than 2 feet (0.61 m) from each sideline at the corners if it was a continuous arc. In the NAIA or NCAA women's and American high school standards, the arc spans 180° around the basket, then becomes parallel to the sidelines from the plane of the basket center to the baseline (4 feet 3 inches or 1.30 metres in college, 5 feet 3 inches or 1.60 metres in high schools). The distance of the three-point line to the center of the hoop varies by level:
|Arc radius||Minimum distance|
|NBA||23 ft 9 in (7.24 m)||3 ft 0 in (0.91 m)|
| FIBA |
NAIA etc. men
NCAA men (all divisions)
|6.75 metres (22 ft 1 3⁄4 in)||FIBA: 0.9 m (2 ft 11 in)|
NAIA, NCAA: 3 ft 4 in (1.02 m)
WNBA: 3 ft 0 in (0.91 m)
|NAIA etc. women|
NCAA women (all divisions)
|20 ft 9 in (6.32 m)||4 ft 3 in (1.30 m)|
|U.S. high schools||19 ft 9 in (6.02 m)||5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)|
The high school corner minimum is taken as a requirement for newer high school gymnasiums and fieldhouses built in the three-point era. Courts built in older eras before state high school sanctioning bodies issued rules regarding court sizes have narrower markings, requiring home court ground rules where there is less space behind the three-point arc, the space on the sides of the arc can barely accommodate the shooter's feet due to lack of room, or it may be marked closer than the suggested minimum.
A player's feet must be completely behind the three-point line at the time of the shot or jump in order to make a three-point attempt; if the player's feet are on or in front of the line, it is a two-point attempt. A player is allowed to jump from outside the line and land inside the line to make a three-point attempt, as long as the ball is released in mid-air.
An official raises his/her arm with three fingers extended to signal the shot attempt. If the attempt is successful, he/she raises his/her other arm with all fingers fully extended in manner similar to a football official signifying successful field goal to indicate the three-point goal. The official must recognize it for it to count as three points. Instant replay has sometimes been used, depending on league rules. The (W)NBA,FIBA and the NCAA specifically allow replay for this purpose. In (W)NBA & FIBA games, video replay does not have to occur immediately following a shot; play can continue and the officials can adjust the scoring later in the game, after reviewing the video. However, in late game situations, play may be paused pending a review.
If a shooter is fouled while attempting a three-pointer and subsequently misses the shot, the shooter is awarded three free-throw attempts. If a player completes a three-pointer while being fouled, the player is awarded one free-throw for a possible 4-point play. Conceivably, if a player completed a three-pointer while being fouled, and that foul was ruled as either a Flagrant 1 or a Flagrant 2 foul, the player would be awarded two free throws for a possible 5-point play.
Major League Lacrosse features a two-point line which forms a 15-yard (14 m) arc around the front of the goal. Shots taken from behind this line count for two points, as opposed to the standard one point.
In gridiron football, a standard field goal is worth three points; various professional and semi-pro leagues have experimented with four-point field goals. NFL Europe and the Stars Football League adopted a rule similar to basketball's three-point line in which an additional point was awarded for longer field goals; in both leagues any field goal of 50 yards (46 m) or more was worth four points. The Arena Football League awarded four points for any successful drop kicked field goal (like the three-point shot, the drop kick is more challenging than a standard place kick, as the bounce of the ball makes a kick less predictable, and arena football also uses narrower goal posts for all kicks than the outdoor game does).
During the existence of the World Hockey Association in the 1970s, there were proposals for two-point hockey goals for shots taken beyond an established distance (one proposal was a 44-foot (13.4m) arc, which would have intersected the faceoff circles), but this proposal gained little support and faded after the WHA merged with the NHL. It was widely believed that long-distance shots in hockey had little direct relation to skill (usually resulting more from goalies' vision being screened or obscured), plus with the lower scoring intrinsic to the sport a two-point goal was seen as disruptive of the structure of the game.
The Super Goal is a similar concept in Australian rules football, in which a 50-meter (55 yd) arc determines the value of a goal; within the arc, it is the usual 6 points, but 9 points are scored for a "super goal" scored from outside the arc. To date the super goal is only used in pre-season games and not in the season proper.
The National Professional Soccer League II, which awarded two points for all goals except those on the power play, also used a three-point line, drawn 45 feet (14 m) from the goal. It has since been adopted by some other indoor soccer leagues.
Basketball, colloquially referred to as hoops, is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.
Abraham Michael Saperstein was the founder, owner and earliest coach of the Harlem Globetrotters. Saperstein was a leading figure in black basketball and baseball from the 1920s through the 1950s, primarily before those sports were racially integrated.
Reginald Wayne Miller is an American former professional basketball player who played his entire 18-year National Basketball Association (NBA) career with the Indiana Pacers. Miller was known for his precision three-point shooting, especially in pressure situations and most notably against the New York Knicks, for which he earned the nickname "Knick Killer." When he retired, he held the record for most career 3-point field goals made. He is currently second on the list behind Ray Allen. A five-time All-Star selection, Miller led the league in free throw accuracy five times and won a gold medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Women's basketball was developed in the late 1800s in tandem with its men's counterpart. It became popular, spreading from the east coast of the United States to the west coast, in large part via women's colleges. From 1895 until 1970, the term "women's basketball" was also used to refer to netball, which evolved in parallel with modern women's basketball. It is mostly popular in America.
In basketball, the basketball court is the playing surface, consisting of a rectangular floor, with baskets at each end. In professional or organized basketball, especially when played indoors, it is usually made out of a wood, often maple, and highly polished and completed with a 10 foot rim. Outdoor surfaces are generally made from standard paving materials such as concrete or asphalt.
College basketball today is governed by collegiate athletic bodies including the United States's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA), the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). Governing bodies in Canada include U Sports and the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). Each of these various organizations are subdivided into from one to three divisions based on the number and level of scholarships that may be provided to the athletes.
In basketball, free throws or foul shots are unopposed attempts to score points by shooting from behind the free throw line, a line situated at the end of the restricted area. Free throws are generally awarded after a foul on the shooter by the opposing team, analogous to penalty shots in other team sports. Free throws are also awarded in other situations, including technical fouls, and when the fouling team has entered the bonus/penalty situation. Also depending on the situation, a player may be awarded between one and three free throws. Each successful free throw is worth one point.
The rules of basketball are the rules and regulations that govern the play, officiating, equipment and procedures of basketball. While many of the basic rules are uniform throughout the world, variations do exist. Most leagues or governing bodies in North America, the most important of which are the National Basketball Association and NCAA, formulate their own rules. In addition, the Technical Commission of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) determines rules for international play; most leagues outside North America use the complete FIBA ruleset.
In basketball and other such timed sports, a buzzer beater is a shot that is taken before the game clock of a quarter, a half, or an overtime period expires but does not go in the basket until after the clock expires and the buzzer sounds. The concept normally applies to baskets that beat an end-of-quarter/half/overtime buzzer but is sometimes applied to shots that beat the shot clock buzzer.
This glossary of basketball terms is a list of definitions of terms used in the game of basketball. Like any other major sport, basketball features its own extensive vocabulary of unique words and phrases used by players, coaches, sports journalists, commentators, and fans.
The Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament is a nationwide event for players of a variety of age and skill levels in the United States. Although every tournament is different, a typical Gus Macker event involves basketball courts set up in parking lots or closed-off public streets Tournaments are mid-level to major sports media events and are held virtually every weekend from spring through summer.
The key, officially referred to as the free throw lane by the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the restricted area by the international governing body FIBA, and colloquially as the lane or the paint, is a marked area on a basketball court surrounding the basket. It is bounded by the endline, the free-throw line and two side lines, and usually painted in a distinctive color. It is a crucial area on the court where much of the game's action takes place.
Basketball is a ball game and team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules. Since being developed by James Naismith as a non-contact game that almost anyone can play, basketball has undergone many different rule variations, eventually evolving into the NBA-style game known today. Basketball is one of the most popular and widely viewed sports in the world.
The 2018 National Invitation Tournament was a single-elimination tournament of 32 NCAA Division I college men's basketball teams that were not selected to participate in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. The first three rounds of the annual tournament were played on campus sites. The semifinals and championship game were held at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The 2019 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) was a single-elimination tournament of 32 NCAA Division I men's college basketball teams that were not selected to participate in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. The tournament started on March 19, and concluded on April 4. The first three rounds were played on campus sites with the higher seeded team acting as host. The semifinals and championship game were held at Madison Square Garden in New York City.