What is the Hoop Called in Basketball?

The hoop in basketball is so important. The sport is popularly referred to as hoops. The different terms used to refer to the various parts of a basketball goal system can be confusing, mainly because some can be used interchangeably. A hoop (also called rim or goal) is the orange rim attached to the backboard. 

The term basketball hoops is interchangeably used with basketball goals. In some situations, the hoop is used to refer to the whole ring, net, backboard, and stand of the basketball system. There are different kinds of basketball hoops. For example, an adjustable basketball hoop is likely to be used in a school gym to allow for players of different ages. In contrast, an in-ground basketball hoop is more suited to an outdoor venue like a park or playground. All basketball systems consist of the same general parts: a backboard, rim, net, extension and pole. 

Having a properly designed basketball rim is essential to gameplay because scores are based on how far on the court the shot came from when it went through the rim. There are consistent measurements used for basketball hoops for all levels of play and gender. An interwoven net is attached to the hoop to help visualize a shot going into the rim and confirm the score of a basket. Here are some definitions that will help you understand the different parts of the basketball goal system.


The hoop is an orange ring that the net hangs from. It is circular in shape with an internal diameter of 18 inches edge to edge. The 18 inches should be consistent for all point-to-point measurements that cross the hoop’s precise centre. The hoop can be the competition standard breakaway steel rim, a heavy-duty recreation flex goal, the fixed rim or an ultra-heavy double rim. Most basketball hoops are made of Spalding polycarbonate or acrylic set because they must be strong enough to withstand aggressive goals and sometimes the total weight of a player.

The hoop should have harness hooks at the bottom to secure the net. There must be 6 inches of space between the ring and the basket. There is usually a rectangular piece of solid steel on the side that attaches to the basket to ensure no separation between the backboard and the rim. The measurement from the floor to the top of the hoop is usually 10ft but can be regulated by getting an adjustable basketball hoop. 

Hoop Securing

The hoop must be well secure to the backboard using a bracer support system. The rectangular brace at the top of the rim has a square faceplate attached at a perpendicular angle. Every hole in the four-corner plate must line up with the holes in the backboard. The hoop assembly is then fastened to the board using four bolts that are secured with nuts and washers. After the hoop is attached to the backboard, a level is used to ensure the rim is parallel to the floor. 

Hoop Safety

All professional and collegiate level basketball games require that specific safety features for the rim be met. The hoop and rim should be flexible and able to flex to the front and side. The hoop must also be able to absorb between 35% to 50% of a shot’s rebounding elasticity. 


An interwoven net must be fastened to the basketball hoop to enable visual recognition of a made basket. The net can be made of nylon or a metal chain (appropriate for parks and playgrounds). Nylon and metal are better able to withstand the pressure of balls that are aggressively shot on the net. An NBA standard net usually hangs 15 to 18 inches long. The netting’s thread count is usually over 30 but less than 120 threads in total. There are typically nine attachment hooks for attaching the net to the rim.


The backboard is typically rectangular but can also be fan-shaped. It is available in many different materials, sizes and colours. Backboards must be tough enough to withstand the hard slamming they are subjected to during aggressive games without collapsing or posing a safety risk. 

There are some tempered glass regulation size wall mount backboards common in colleges all the way to rim combo-portable basketball system units better suited for recreational use at home. Acrylic backboards are famous for providing a better rebound than polycarbonate backboards. Backboards are also available in steel, fibreglass, perforated aluminum and smoked tempered glass.

Extension Arm (or boom)

The extension arm or boom projects forward from the vertical post, thereby creating an overhang for the safe play area—extension arms on fixed inground basketball goals. Portable basketball goals feature an extension arm that folds down to adjustable heights for easy storage and use by players of different ages. Some backboards also have an extension arm that folds back to one side for safe storage of the backboard in multi-use sports facilities. 


The pole or post is the support structure or standard. It is a vertical piece that supports the backboard. Some adjustable pole units can quickly shift as low as 5 feet 6 inches all the way to the full 10-foot regulation goal height for professional basketball games. Innovative roof mount and wall mount products do not have a vertical post and are well suited for multi-use sports facilities. 

Quality is King

When it comes to basketball equipment, safety and longevity are the key features. Sometimes the difference between a basket goal and a basketball hoop can come down to quality. Cheaper equipment is more likely to be referred to as a hoop than a goal. When shopping online for an over the door mount, a plastic unit for a pool, or a portable unit for a toddler, you will likely see them labelled as basketball hoops rather than basketball goals. 

Top sports brands usually call their equipment basketball systems or goals. Whether you are purchasing basketball equipment for a recreational facility, gym, school, playground, or pool, choosing the best you can afford is advisable. A simple glimpse of online reviews will reveal the difference between heavy-duty basketball equipment and lightweight units. Making the right decision will ensure that you get equipment that will serve you for years. 

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