How Far Is the 3 Point Line From The Hoop? Stats & Facts



To some, while watching basketball highlights or the game on T.V. it may appear that the 3 point line appears to be really far from the hoop. So if you are wondering, just how far is the three-point line is from the basketball hoop I have your answer.

How far is the 3 point line from the hoop? The 3 point line to the hoop in highschool is 19 feet 9 inches (6.02 meters), in college it is 20 feet 9 inches (6.32 meters) and both the WNBA, as well as FIBA’s 3 point line, is 22 feet 2 inches (6.75 meters). With the NBA being the furthest out of any league measured at 23 feet 9 inches (7.24 meters).

If you remember the 3 point line to be closer than what you remember it to be at some point in your life, don’t be alarmed it’s not a mandella effect, you are in fact correct. We will look at the history, stats, and facts of this line and how it’s changing the game.

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History Of The 3 Point Line

The 3 point line has been moved several times over the years and like I said if you remember it being closer, that was just the case in 1993/94 NBA season and for three seasons the NBA had a closer line. It is right now and before the move 23 ft 9 in (7.24 m) and at the corners 22 ft (6.71 m). They shorten to 22 ft (6.71 m)  all the way around the basket.

Why the shortening, quite simply to induce more shots from the three, to increase more scoring and to add entertainment to the game. Which is sort of worked, numbers were up but not as much as the league thought they would be it actually took a number of years such as the third year where it really became apart of coaches plays. They then moved back the line to its original distance.

Some speculated that the NBA did this for Michael Jordan but the Chicago Bulls were hardly a 3 point shooting team. But a team like the New York Knicks benefited as John Starks during that time was the first player to break 200 threes in a single season.


3 Point Record-Breaking History

  • Danny Ainge was the first to break 100 three-pointers in a single season crushing the existing record at the time of 92 with 148 made three’s in the 1987/88 season.
  • John Starks of the New York Knicks was the first to break 200 in a season with 217 made shots in the 1994/95 NBA season.
  • Ray Allen set the new record in the 2004/05 season with 269 made three’s.
  • The goat of the three-point shot Steph Curry made and broke his own record 3 times 272 in 2012/13, 286 in 2014/15, 324 in 2016/17, 354 in 2017/18 and 402 in 2015/16.

With more three’s made and attempted you would think that points per game for teams would go up also, but it hasn’t. It actually is roughly the same.


Was The 3-Point Line Invented By The NBA

The 3 point line was first introduced in the American Basketball League in 1961 for one and a half seasons before the league folded. The Eastern Professional Basketball League followed suit in 1963/64 season. It was Popularized by the American Basketball Association otherwise known as the A.B.A in which they introduced it in their first season as a league.

The ABA joined with the NBA merging into one league in 1976 while it wasn’t until the 1979/80 seasons of the NBA that the three-point line re-appeared in a league. It was predicated as a terrible shot choice and against a coach’s strategy that most teams shied away from the three.

The idea of the three-point line didn’t sit well with the players and coaches, most thought it was a gimmick or a ploy to draw more crowds. When a shot was taken, the crowd would be in awe as it went up and didn’t often make it in the hoop as shooting percentages were poor. But when it did go in the crowd erupted like a ferocious dunk in traffic.

At the time the three-point line was 25 feet from the hoop that is further than it is now. That’s a foot further, so no wonder people were in aww when the shot went up.

Players and coaches had their reasons for not implementing it in their game plan, you have to remember that they have been practicing their whole lives without the three-point line, then out of nowhere, this is introduced. It changes everything.

The three-point line is more than just a line that you shoot from. Think about it, when you can’t see behind you and you’re on defense playing man to man with the ball, the three-point line can tell you where you are on the court in relation to the basket and how far away you are.


Quick Stat:

James Harden averages 13 three-point attempts a game.


Coaches Distaste For The Three

During the invention of the three-point line coaches built a system in their offense and prided on making sure the offense works. So it is obvious if you as a player that wanted playing time you would listen to the coach by any means necessary. For the coaches to all of a sudden make adjustments and incorporate the three into their system is not far fetched it just wasn’t something the coaches were interested in.

Many of the players and coaches assumed the three-point line wouldn’t last because many thought it was a gimmick. But for the fans, the new line was comparable to a slam dunk leaving the fans cheering and roaring when a shot was made.

At the time it could have been worded that the new line is something the league is going to try, so the teams might have thought not to invest too much into something when statistically it isn’t favorable and secondly it may not be there the next season.

When the ABA merged with the NBA any players who played in the ABA had a distinct advantage in shooting 3’s over those who didn’t, that is if you were given the green light by the coach to shoot three’s. That experience is huge in understanding the line and how it may affect the outcome of a game.

One or two three’s were shot per game and when the three went up, you can hear the crowds in awe as the ball was headed to the basket. If it went in the crowd when crazy like a game-winning shot. It was such a rare occasion that deserved its own recognition as a difficult shot.

Quick Stat:

The Fewest shot per a team from the three-point line is the San Antonio Spurs at only 24 shots a game.


Lack of Strength Equals Less Accuracy

Now I am not saying players were not strong enough to shoot from 25 feet out back then, what I am saying is that it would have been difficult for players to shoot from that far when they played a whole game and their legs are tired. Accuracy wouldn’t have been exactly dead eye so to speak.

Players rarely worked out to improve strength with weights as many wives’ tale were told that weight lifting would affect a shooter’s shot. The opposite has been proven to be true, in fact, I always felt I shot much better when I was working out with weights as I felt all I had to do was aim and not worry about how much power I needed behind a shot.

Michael Jordan is a classic example of someone who worked out his upper body with weights on game day and we all know how that turned out. Obviously, if you have never done it before then it may be difficult at first. I feel you can never have to much strength in basketball as long as you continue to work on the skill tirelessly.

Too little strength becomes a problem, form on the shot is sacrificed and other parts of the shooting muscles have to sacrifice, and if you are a little tired good luck.


Quick Stat:

The Golden State Warriors in the 2017/18 season were 17th in the league in 3 pointers attempted by a team. They attempted 2370 shots and shot a record 40 percent from the field as a team.


How Three-Pointers Have Changed The Game Of Basketball?

I grew up lucky enough to watch Michael Jordan play the game of basketball in his prime back when the midrange was actually a thing. I remember working on my midrange game as much as possible because I felt it was the key to becoming a good player who can average 20 plus points a game.

I still believe this to this day even though shooting three-pointers has become more popular than Fortnite, so it seems. Believe it or not, I never practiced shooting 3s either, as I didn’t shoot a lot of them in games but when I did it didn’t feel like a three it just felt like another shot. Wherever the shot presented itself for me I would shoot.

Although I do not believe that now but wondered if I would have practiced shooting more three’s than I wonder how much better I would have been behind the arc. The game was not tailored at the time I was playing high school to shoot a lot of threes. It was more if you are open shoot the three.

We have all seen the impact one player can make in basketball. From Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson To Lebron James and now Steph Curry. They not only changed the culture but also the way the game is played. Young players craft their skill set modeling the fundamentals and style of these players.

One player who has made the greatest impact on the game of basketball in which it has changed the game entirely, comparing it to the last decade is definitely Stephen Curry. He ha single handily broke records including his own in the three-point shot and has shot with amazing accuracy.

It blows me away to see this guy hit threes with such difficulty. It reminds me of when of the story of runners that we’re told that running the mile in under 4 minutes was impossible. As soon as one runner did it everyone started to do it. This holds true in my opinion with the three-point shot, it is like a layup to these players.

Teams are shooting more 3s than ever. I was watching the Houston Rockets play their second game of the season and they took more than 50 three-pointers in one game. As of the 2019/20 season Houston is averaging almost 50 threes a game.

The crazy thing is I do not see this shot selection slowing down. I strongly believe although I don’t have statistics to back me that players are shooting the three with more efficiency. Heck, the Centers are shooting three and doing it well.

There is some strategy that goes along with it, the center stays out at the three-point line, the center has now opened up the middle for penetration. Bringing out the shot blocker away from the hoop. These centers are open when their defender leaves to help on defense.

The ball goes to the center for a shot. Many centers develop a three-point shot when they get into the league as their success in getting into the league was based on playing the center not shooting 3s. Centers as of now take a couple of threes a game. But in the near future, I wonder if we can see a center lead the league in three-point efficiency.


Quick Stat:

The Houston Rockets have lead the league in 3 pointers made with 14 to 16 three’s in the last 3 seasons.


Every Player Loves The Three

As millions of kids around the world want to shoot the ball like Stephen Curry, the problem is that they are sacrificing their form just to get the ball to the rim. Young kids are playing with basketballs that are too heavy and big when they should focus on the basketball sizes for their age.

The three-pointer is more popular then it has ever been, it is completely normal to see more free throws attempts than midrange jumpers, while the 3 point shot and the layup/dunk dominate the shot selection.

In today’s game, we can see the 3 point line and use it as a guide on defense to determine where you are on the court relative to the basket. If no lines were there you would have to look back to see where you are in relation to the basket.

If they are able to shoot the three you want to be above the three-point line, If they are more of a penetrator, you will want to stay just on or just underneath it. I believe the three-point line helped every player play better defense. Could you imagine if there was no line, and you are on the wing guarding a good scorer, it would be hard to determine how far away you are from the basket and the angle you are at.


4 Point Line Or Move The Three Further

There has been a lot of talk throughout the past couple of years of moving the three-point line further away from the basket as the NBA has changed dramatically with it’s shot selection. How far back no one knows but this is something the NBA always looks into. Is the amount of threes taken and made ruining the NBA game, if they thought it was I think they would push the line further, such as when they moved the line closer to in the 1993/94 season.

Larry Bird was once quoted in an interview and he is as old school as they get saying the game has to move with the times and he thinks one day were going to need a 4 point line. Where are we going to put that line, players are already shooting 5 feet away from the line with such efficiency.


In the end, I believe the game is changing at a rapid rate, the role of the big man has changed completely while the three-point shot attempts have also increased. The side effect is quicker shots faster game and more points on the board.


That concludes the article, please check back as I update the site frequently.


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