Unless you’re a 6-foot-6 giant, you probably have no idea what the diameter of a basketball rim is. After all, it sits 10 feet above the ground, so it looks pretty tiny to us normal-sized folks. So, what is the size of a standard basketball rim?
High school, NCAA, NBA, and FIBA rules stipulate that a regulation basketball rim should measure 18 inches in diameter.
So, if you want your kid to shoot 3s in a regulation-style basketball rim, make sure you get the right rim diameter for them to practice on. Below, I’ll explain different rim sizes in greater detail, how it relates to the size of a basketball, and the various types of basketball rims available for backyard use.
Standard Basketball Rim Dimensions
Regardless of the level at which a player shoots the ball, all basketball rims come in the same 18-inch diameter. So, whether your child is still in elementary school and is only learning to perfect their shooting form or they’re already an established dunker, you won’t have much trouble finding the right rim size.
However, there is an exception to this rule. Unique basketball systems—e.g., neighborhood sporting associations or toddler-level leagues—might opt for a rim that is slightly larger in size compared to the big leagues. This is to help young athletes aim the ball rather than score it.
How Large Is a Basketball?
Here is where things differ between genders and age groups. High school, college, and professional basketball leagues stick to a ball that measures 29.5 inches around the circumference and has a diameter of 9.51 inches when pumped at 7.5 to 8.5 PSI.
This is known as a Size 7 basketball, which is used by male players ages 12 and up. Most 6th-grade youth leagues begin using professional-sized basketballs for official tournaments.
The WNBA uses a smaller ball—Size 6—which measures 28.5 inches in circumference and measures roughly 9.07 inches in diameter when pumped at the same PSI rating as an NBA ball.
If your child is still younger than 12, then they should stick to using smaller basketballs between Size 1 and 5.
The following table will break down the dimensions and weight when pumped to the correct inflation pressure (7.5 to 8.5 PSI) and recommended age group based on ball size.
|Size||Circumference (inches)||Diameter (inches)||Weight (ounces)||Recommended Player Group|
|1||16||5.09||8||Boys and girls aged 2-4|
|3||22||7||10||Boys and girls aged 4-8|
|4||25.5||8.12||14||Boys and girls aged 5-8|
|5||27.5||8.75||17||Boys and girls aged 9-11|
|6||28.5||9.07||20||Girls aged 12+|
|7||29.5||9.51||22||Boys aged 12+|
How High is a Basketball Rim?
In most rec centers and public basketball courts, the rim height will be in accordance with the guidelines set by the NCAA, NBA, WNBA, and FIBA, which is 10 feet. This is also the recommended height rating for 12-and-up junior leagues that prepare young athletes for high school and college basketball competitions.
However, if you or your child is just getting into the sport, then following this height standard might be more detrimental than beneficial.
Someone who is just developing their shooting form and stands under 4 feet 6 inches will focus on hurling the ball to touch the backboard or rim, not on aiming the shot. As such, shooting mechanics are ignored, which can affect their gameplay during later stages in their basketball careers.
That’s why it is a good idea to get an adjustable basketball rim that can be dropped to at least 6 to 8 feet in the beginning. This makes the game more enjoyable for younger, shorter players, and it helps them work on their shooting form.
As the player grows older and taller, the rim should be raised higher and higher. That way, they can maintain the arc of their shot rather than shooting flat shots that don’t just have a low percentage of going in but are also a source of ridicule in pickup games (if you know, you know).
Types of Basketball Rims
Before deciding to invest in a basketball rim, you should know what types are available. In general, there are 3 types of basketball rims you can get for your backyard or drive—in-ground, portable, and mounted.
An in-ground rim is the kind you will typically find in rec centers, gyms, and public parks. The pole is secured to the ground with cement or with metal anchors fastened to a plate. Both systems give the pole, rim, and backboard stability, but you will not be able to move the rim around to avoid sunlight or when you move homes.
A portable rim is exactly what its name suggests—it’s a rim that can be moved around at will. Instead of being cemented into the ground, the rim sits atop a cart system with wheels that you can lock in place to prevent the pole from moving around too much.
However, with hard shows and dunking, the wheels might shift out of place, and you will have to recenter the rim relative to the court. It usually takes 1 hour to construct and set up, but it can take as little as 2 minutes to adjust the height of the rim.
This is the type of rim you will find on garages or on the sides of homes. Mounted rims are fastened to a flat surface with nuts and bolts to give them stability. It’s also the most appropriate type of hoop if you don’t have the real estate to construct a full- or half-sized court at home.
While convenient, the major drawback of mounted rims is that you will have to manually measure how high or low to fasten them onto a wall. In addition, you will have to undo the entire anchoring system if you wish you adjust the height.
Does the Net Matter?
While the net might seem like an unimportant feature on a basketball rim, it serves one tremendous purpose: to help the players and referees identify when the ball has passed through the rim.
Professional leagues use nylon nets, which produce a satisfying swishing sound when the ball passes through. There are also metal nets, which you’ll find in public parks, but they can rust when left out in humid climates.