This free basketball court diagram with labels will show you how the playing area is laid out and what the different floor markings mean.
The illustration below is of an NBA court.
The basketball court is divided into specific areas:
Sideline – The boundary lines at each side of the court.
Baseline (Endline) – The boundary lines at each end of the court.
Frontcourt – The half of the court containing the basket at which the team is shooting.
Backcourt – The half of the court containing the opponent's basket.
Midcourt (Halfcourt) line – The line that runs from sideline to sideline down the center of the court
Jump circles – There are 3 circles on the court: a center circle at midcourt and a free throw circle around the free throw line at each end.
Free throw line – The line 15 feet from the basket that cuts the free throw circle in half.
Lane lines – The two lines that extend from the ends of the free throw line to the baseline forming a rectangular area called the free throw lane or the key.
Block and Hash marks – The markings on each side of the key used for lining players up for free throws.
Three-Point Line - A basket made by a player beyond this line is worth 3 points instead of 2.
Compare the basketball court layout of youth, high school, college, pro, and international competition and find a free downloadable basketball court diagram for each one. These full and half-court templates can also be personalized to include your team's logo.
The basketball court diagram above barely resembles the courts used during the early years of basketball history...
The first basketball game was played in a small basement gym with 18 players spread out on a court about 35 feet by 50 feet in size.
That's a far cry from the basketball court dimensions used today!
It took about 40 years after the game was invented to start seeing some standardization of rules and basketball court sizes around the country.
Games were played...
...in dance halls where you were allowed to bounce the ball off the walls and the ceiling.
...on courts with obstacles, like coal burning stoves in the corner or poles in the middle.
...in gyms with backboards attached to the wall, allowing players to jump up off the wall to shoot the ball.
1903 was a big year for basketball courts across America...
That was the year when basketball courts were required to have boundaries with straight lines. Before then, many courts didn't have boundaries at all! There are stories told of players chasing balls down hallways and into stairwells.
Can you imagine?
I saw a basketball court picture of a professional basketball court in 1903, and it looked pretty strange. It was 65 feet by 35 feet with no markings on it at all except a center circle.
But what was really weird was the huge wire cage surrounding the court, hanging from ceiling.
Seriously, it was a cage! About 11 feet high.
I feel pretty sure that solved the problem of runaway balls and mass chaos in the hallway!
(By the way, if you have ever heard basketball players referred to as "cagers," this is where the term comes from.)