Why Are There Two 3-Point Lines in Basketball?

The 3-point line, also known as the arc, downtown, or perimeter, is a line surrounding the basket, consisting of an arch and two parallel lines. It is also the line beyond that every goal is awarded three points as opposed to two points, which would have been awarded if the goal was made in the line. There are two baskets in basketball, and each basket gets its own 3-point line. Thus, there are two three-point lines in basketball. Essentially, the 3-point line offers an opportunity for both teams to show off their sharp shooting since they both need an edge.

When Was the 3-Point Line Introduced?

The line was first tested in 1945 in a college game between Columbia and Fordham, but it was not kept as a rule. When the American Basketball League was founded in the mid-’60s, its commissioner, Abe Saperstein, introduced the 3-point line as part of the league’s official rules. He did this so as to differentiate the league from the NBA, which was already bigger at the time, and also to add a bit of excitement to the game.

In the NBA season of 1979-1980, Magic Jackson and Larry Bird introduced to the NBA the 3-point line. It was officially made into a rule, and the merger of the American Basketball Association (ABA) with the NBA a few years before, made it necessary for uniformity since the ABA used the 3-point system since its foundation. Several of the players had been exposed to both systems and the league, so it fit to make one uniform system. It was first viewed as a gimmick, but it caught on and was enjoyed – Chris Ford of the Bolton Celtics was the first to score through a 3-point shot.

what are the 3 point lines

How Far Is the 3-Point Line?

The maximum distance of the 3-point line from the basket has frequently changed, especially in the past- Abe Saperstein 3-point line was 25 feet from the basket and there was no scientific reasoning why he chose that length. The official NBA rule book sets the 3-point line at 23 feet 9 inches from the basket. On the other hand, FIBA and WNBA’s 3-point lines are set at 22 feet 2 inches from the basket. The current international distance is 22 feet and 1.75 inches.

What Are the Rules in the 3-Point Line?

Many legendary carriers of sharpshooters have been made possible by the 3-point line. The line simply decides how many points a field goal is worth depending on the shooter’s position in relation to the 3-point line position. There are several rules for a valid 3-point shot. They include; one foot must be outside the 3-point line prior to the shot, no parts of the shooter should be touching the inside of the line and the shooter may step on the line during the shot and it will be considered valid.

What Is the Shape of the 3-Point Line?

3 point line in basketball games

The 3-point line on the corner forms a strategic arch where numerous famous shots were made and many famous jump shots. This would have not been possible if the 3-point line was never created. Note that shooters are allowed to jump into the 3-point line while making a shot as long as they release the ball mid-air even if they are coming from the outside of the lines.

With the current technology, instant replay of every 3-point shot is required by the NBA or otherwise, their validity can be questioned. The 3-point line invoked strategic planning since it matters where the goals are made from. In the 3-point field, a goal is worth three points while outside it may be worth two or one point.

Final Thoughts

All in all, the 3-point line has achieved its purpose. It has brought excitement to the game. In June of 2019, the NCAA moved the men’s 3-point line from 20 feet 9 inches to 22 feet 1.75 inches- the international standards thus bringing furthermore excitement to the game since this will create room for drives and cuts to the baskets.

By moving the three-point line, the challenges that arise always make the game better and more exciting. This move by the NCAA aims to make the three-point shot much more difficult. The three-pointer is becoming a more monumental formula to success in the league.