What is the Free Throw Line Distance in Basketball?

  • November 29, 2014
  • / By Tom

How far is the foul line to the hoop? While the size of a basketball court and some of the dimensions may change depending on the level of game, from high school to professional, the standard free throw line distance in basketball is exactly 15 feet from the backboard.

Free Throw Line distance

Photo By: John Martinez Pavliga

In the United States, 15 feet is the universal free throw line distance. This is the same at the junior high, high school, collegiate, and professional level as established by their governing bodies: the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the NCAA, the WNBA and the NBA. This distance is also 19 feet from the baseline.

The free throw line is 15 feet from the basket if a straight line could be drawn from a horizontal point 10 feet in the air directly above the line to the backboard. If that sounds a little complicated, just imagine a point that is on the basketball court directly below the backboard. The foul line is exactly 15 feet from there.

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) actually lists their free throw line as 4.6 meters, which would be 15.09 feet. While the actual size of a basketball court varies at different levels – the high school court basketball court is 84 feet, while the NBA court is 94 – the free throw line’s distance from the basket never changes.

It is interesting to note that a foul shot is taken 15 feet from the backboard, and not from the hoop. The front of the basket is roughly 2 feet in front of the backboard, and the diameter of the rim is 18 inches. That would make a foul shot 13 feet from the line to the front of the rim. The actual distance traveled for a basketball during a foul shot depends on the release height and angle that the player shoots at.

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