The short answer is 10 feet tall.
Specifically, that’s the height from the playing surface to the top of the rim. Some people want to know what the total height of the basketball system is including the backboard. In regulation play, the top of the backboard is 12’ 10” from the playing surface.
You can determine any basketball system’s height with this formula…
120 + [height of backboard in inches] – 8 = [height of basketball system in inches]
For example, a backboard with a height of 36 inches would be 120 + 36 – 8 = 148 inches tall which is 12’ 4.” Learn more about regulation backboard dimensions here.
It is said that James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, nailed a peach basket to a 10 foot track to make the first basketball goal. Interestingly enough, none of the first 13 rules that Naismith authored mention the height of the basket. It’s unclear when the rim height became standard.
It has been widely debated on whether to lower the rim for women but largely dismissed. The argument for it is to promote more aggressive high-flying play around the rim like that seen in men’s college and professional leagues.
Some common heights that youth leagues play at include 8 and 9 feet. There are no real regulations for basketball hoop height at this level of play. The league will usually enforce its own set of rules and regulations.
It is advantageous for young children to play at lower heights as they can begin working on their mechanics instead of heaving the ball up to the rim. This gives children a head start and makes the game more fun. If you’re interested in this, I encourage you to read this post which elaborates on the topic.
An adjustable basketball hoop is suggested for players 10 and under. After that point the benefit becomes more about fun dunk contests and less about improving technique which is fine too. If you’re researching basketball goals, check out our Pro Dunk basketball system. It’s perfect for children of all ages and skill levels.