How big is a regulation-size backboard?
Author Ryan Tate
Posted March 14, 2013 in category

Regulation basketball backboard dimensions

  • 72 inches wide
  • 42 inches tall
  • ½ inch thick

Check out my other article about measuring a basketball diagonally, like a television.

A regulation backboard as described by the NCAA rules and regulations should be made of tempered glass and be ½ inch thick. It’s the same material used in your car’s windshield. You might be wondering what the tempering is all about. This is a process that the glass goes through to make it harder and more brittle. The result is a safer glass. When shattered, the glass will break into hundreds of small pieces and not sharp shards that could cut a player.

A diagram showing dimensions of a regulation-sized backboard

What do you call it?
Backboards have several synonyms. Some of the most popular include…

  • bankboard
  • board
  • glass
  • backstop
  • window

Advantages of a regulation-sized board for home use
The main advantage is to emulate the gym playing experience so you can come home and practice just like you’re playing at the gym.

By having the correct size of board, it helps with relative spatial muscle memory. For example, when you take a bank shot off the backboard, your brain might tell your body to hit the board about 6 inches from the outer edge. When you do this at home with a smaller backboard, the ball might go in. If you do this in the gym with a wider board it would probably fall short of the rim.

Another advantage is accurate rebound response. If you’re practicing at home with a thinner board, you might find yourself hitting the ball too hard off the glass at the gym which has a more solid backboard.

If you’re looking for a gym quality basketball goal for your home driveway or backyard basketball court, we’ve got you covered. Choose the type of basketball system you’re looking for here and then look for the model with a 72 inch backboard (Diamond or Platinum).

History of the backboard

Introduction of the backboard
The first basketball systems didn’t have backboards. The idea of a backboard was not introduced until 1906, 15 years after the first game was played. Before that time, Basketball systems consisted only of a pole-mounted peach basket.

A transition to the modern-day backboard
The Indiana Hoosiers were the first to use a glass backboard. After receiving several complaints from fans about obstructed views due to the wooden backboards, Nurre Mirror Plate Company was commissioned to create clear glass boards. They designed 1.5 inch thick plate glass backboards. The idea stuck and were still using glass backboards to this very day.

Modern-day improvements to the backboard
There are several improvements that have been made in recent history such as the use of tempered glass instead of plate glass. Also, boards have gotten shorter going from 48 inches tall to 42 inches tall. Another large improvement is how the rim is mounted to the backboard. With the advent of dunking it became clear that a new bolt-through design would have to be adopted to reduce the likelihood of backboard breakage. Lastly, LED lights are now used behind the backboard to indicate stoppage of play. This allows officials to more accurately discern time sensitive calls.



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