Basketball balls

The only essential equipment in a basketball game is the ball and the court: a flat, rectangular surface with baskets at opposite ends. Competitive levels require the use of more equipment such as clocks, score sheets, scoreboard(s), alternating possession arrows, and whistle-operated stop-clock systems. An outdoor basketball net. A regulation basketball court in international games is 91.9 feet long and 49.2 feet wide. In the NBA and NCAA the court is 94 feet by 50 feet. Most courts have wood flooring, usually constructed from maple planks running in the same direction as the longer court dimension.[38] The name and logo of the home team is usually painted on or around the center circle. The basket is a steel rim 18 inches diameter with an attached net affixed to a backboard that measures 6 feet by 3.5 feet and one basket is at each end of the court. The white outlined box on the backboard is 18 inches high and 2 feet wide. At almost all levels of competition, the top of the rim is exactly 10 feet above the court and 4 feet inside the baseline. While variation is possible in the dimensions of the court and backboard, it is considered important for the basket to be of the correct height a rim that is off by just a few inches can have an adverse effect on shooting. The size of the basketball is also regulated. For men, the official ball is 29.5 inches in circumference (size 7, or a "295 ball") and weighs 22 oz. If women are playing, the official basketball size is 28.5 inches in circumference (size 6, or a "285 ball") with a weight of 20 oz.

The ball may be advanced toward the basket by being shot, passed between players, thrown, tapped, rolled or dribbled (bouncing the ball while running). The ball must stay within the court; the last team to touch the ball before it travels out of bounds forfeits possession. The ball is out of bounds if touches or crosses over a boundary line, or touches a player who is out of bounds. This is in contrast to other sports such as football, volleyball, and tennis (but not rugby or American football) where the ball (or player) is still considered in if any part of it is touching a boundary line. The ball-handler may not step with both feet without dribbling, an infraction known as traveling, nor dribble with both hands or hold the ball and resume dribbling, a violation called double dribbling. Any part of the player's hand cannot be directly under the ball while dribbling; doing so is known as carrying the ball. A team, once having established ball control in the front half of their court, may not return the ball to the backcourt and be the first to touch it. The ball may not be kicked, nor be struck with the fist. A violation of these rules results in loss of possession, or, if committed by the defense, a reset of the shot clock (with some exceptions in the NBA). There are limits imposed on the time taken before progressing the ball past halfway (8 seconds in FIBA and the NBA; 10 seconds in NCAA men's play and high school for both sexes, but no limit in NCAA women's play), before attempting a shot (24 seconds in FIBA and the NBA, 30 seconds in NCAA women's and Canadian Interuniversity Sport play for both sexes, and 35 seconds in NCAA men's play), holding the ball while closely guarded (5 seconds), and remaining in the restricted area known as the free-throw lane, (or the "key") (3 seconds). These rules are designed to promote more offense. No player may touch the ball on its downward trajectory to the basket, unless it is obvious that the ball has no chance of entering the basket (goaltending). In addition, no player may touch the ball while it is on or in the basket; when any part of the ball is in the spacious cylinder above the basket (the area extended upwards from the basket); or when the ball is outside the cylinder, if the player reaches through the basket and touches it. This violation is known as "basket interference". If a defensive player goaltends or commits basket interference, the basket is awarded and the offending team gets the ball. If a teammate of the player shooting goaltends or commits interference, the basket is cancelled and play continues with the defensive team being given possession.