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What Equipment Is Used to Play Basketball?

By Christopher Michael

Basketball's rise in popularity is due in part to the game's availability. All you really need is a hoop, backboard and basketball for a bare-bones backyard game. But for a full-fledged competition, you'll need a few more pieces of equipment; just not many more.

Official Game Gear

You need a regulation-size basketball. Men's league balls measure 29.5 inches around, while the circumference of women's balls is 28.5 inches. A metal hoop with an 18-inch diameter stands 10 feet above the playing surface and is attached to a backboard. A nylon net dangles from the rim of the hoop to make it easier to see if the ball goes in. Basketball is played on a flat, lined surface called a court, which can be indoors and made of wood or rubber, or outdoors and made of concrete or asphalt. Half-court pickup basketball can be played with one hoop, but a regulation game requires a full 94-foot court and two identical hoops.

Personal Items

Basketball teams wear matching jerseys made of mesh shorts and tank tops. Each jersey has a player-specific number of one to two digits on the front and back. Players prefer to wear specially made basketball-specific sneakers with stiff ankle support for the stop-and-go action of the game. Optional equipment includes mouthguards, ankle and knee braces, head and wrist sweatbands, compression sleeves and shorts, and grip-enhancing sprays, powders or creams. Some players wear protective goggles and others wear molded, plastic masks to protect injured faces from contact.

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