Everyone knows the guy who claims he can dunk a basketball but never wants to show off that skill unless it is on his home court. The reason is that he probably rigged his rim just a little bit lower than normal, which makes his accomplishment a little less impressive. However, having the proper height for a rim is about more than just making someone look bad. A proper height helps younger players learn to properly shoot the basketball.
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Dr. James Naismith invented basketball in 1891 using peach baskets that he attached to two poles in his local YMCA. He put both baskets 3 metres (10 feet) off the ground, and the sport has pretty much kept them there ever since.
An NBA rim is exactly 3 metres (10 feet) from the floor. To put that in perspective, a six-foot-tall man can stand on his tiptoes and extend his arms and only reach about 2.4 metres (8 feet).
The WNBA also uses 3 metres (10 foot) high rims, but there has been some minor debate about moving that height to 2.7 metres (9 feet) to help increase scoring and interest in the league.
High school and college rules
While high schools and colleges across the country have changed numerous aspects of the game, they use the 3 metres (10 foot) height as well.
Here is where rim height gets tricky. Some leagues lower the rim to 2.3 m (7.5 feet), while others use somewhere between 2.3 and 3 metres (7.5 and 10 feet).
Everyone seems to have an opinion on the future of rim heights. As players get taller, some think the 3 metre (10 foot) rim will become obsolete. In a 1989 humour article in "Sports Illustrated," Rick Reilly opined about a future (2054) where rims were 4.2 metres (14 feet) high. Of course, that was for players under 2.4 metres (8 feet) tall.
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