Explanation of 3 Pointer in Basketball Everything That You Should Know

A 3 pointer is a three-point field goal also known as a three or trey is a field goal that is performed beyond the three-point line or a designated arc surrounding the basket. The three-pointer rule has gone through several stages of evolution to make the game more excited. The first three-pointer was performed between Columbia and Fordham in 1945. The 3-pointer was then tested with a 21-foot line but at that time and at that time it was not carried out as a rule.

The American Basketball League (ABL) was the first league to implement a 3-pointer as a rule in 1961. The NBA adopted the three-point line for the first time as a trial in June 1979 and on October 12, 1979, Chris Ford became the first player for performing a three-pointer shot later on the three-pointer became popular due to its effectiveness in the game. Stephen Curry revolutionized the three-point field goal and inspired teams to implement this rule as part of their winning strategy.

What Is 3 Pointer in Basketball

Don’t get confused and mixed up the different rules such as field goal or a three-point play that are totally different from the 3 pointer. A field goal worth 2 or 3 points depends on the distance of the attempt from the basket while three-point play is achieved by scoring a two-point field goal. Field goals are the most common way to earn points in basketball.

The 3-pointer is immensely popular among basketball lovers because the players can successfully make shots from a long distance and can win the game by scoring more points. You can earn three points for your team if you make the shot anywhere outside the three-point line.

In this article, you can explore the type of three-pointer, the rules of three-point field goal, and many more things about the three-pointer that will ultimately enhance your knowledge.

Type of Field Goals

First, you have to understand the field goal and then you can easily learn everything about the three-pointer shot. Field goals are one of the main sources to score points in basketball. There are two types of variations in the field goals. One is a two-pointer and the second is a three-pointer. Let’s have a look at the below details to explore field goals.

Two Pointer:

A 2-point shot worth two points is made from inside the three-point arc. You can make this shot from paint, midrange, and at the rim. The different type of two-pointer shots includes Layup, Dunk, Jump shot, Hook shot, and Bank shot. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the undisputed legend in 2 pointer shots.

Three Pointer:

Three pointer field goal can give you a big reward of three points. It is compulsory to make this shot from outside the three-point line. Three-point shots are considered one of the most productive shots in basketball and a three-pointer creates more impact in the game. If a jump shooter is fouled during the act of shooting a three-pointer then the shooter will be awarded one free throw attempt. If you are a great shooter like Stephen Curry and Kyle Korver then you can easily gain some good points for your team.

Rules of Three-Point Field Goal

Rules of Three-Point Field Goal

If you want to earn big reward for your team then you have to follow the rules of the three-pointer shot. Let’s discuss these rules so you can able to understand the game.

  1. The shot must be made from beyond the three-point line
  2. Shooter must place their one foot outside the three-point field goal line prior to making the short
  3. Shooters are not allowed to touch the floor on or inside the three-point field goal line
  4. Once the ball is released by the shooter he can jump from outside and land inside the line
  5. You have to leave the ball within the shot clock
  6. It is considered a violation to a three-point field goal on the wrong basket
  7. The field goal is only considered legal when a ball enters the basket from above and remains in or passes through the net
  8. If the player places their feet on or in front of the line then the attempt will be considered a two-point
  9. An official will instruct you to attempt a three-pointer by raising his/her arm with three fingers extended
  10. In a successful attempt of a three-point shot the official will raise his/her other arm with all fully extended fingers to indicate the three-point goal
  11. If the shooter is fouled while making a three-pointer and missed the shot then three free throw shots are awarded to the shooter
  12. If a player concluded a three-pointer while being fouled, then one free throw for a possible 4-point play is awarded to the player
  13. In case of three-pointer completion while being fouled and that foul is marked as Flagrant 1 or a Flagrant 2 foul, then two free throws for a possible 5-point play will be awarded to the player

Three Point Line

The three-point line is a key component of a three-pointer shot because if you want to make a valid shot then you have to perform a three-pointer behind the three-point line. The shooters cannot touch the floor on or inside the three-point field goal line otherwise it will consider a violation. The distance of the three-point line from the basket varies in different leagues and competitions.

Competition LevelDistance From the Center of the Basket or Arc RadiusDistance From the Sidelines
National Basketball Association (NBA)23 feet 9 inches3 feet
International Basketball Federation (FIBA)22 ft 1.75 in2 ft 11 in
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)22 ft 1.75 in3 feet
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)22 ft 1.75 in3 feet 4 inches
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)22 ft 1.75 in3 feet 4 inches

As you can see in the above table the distance from the center of the basket and distance from the sideline are not similar in different leagues.


The three-point field goal gives you a major breakthrough in defeating the opponent because this 3 point goal gives you a chance to increase the score of your team. I have explained the types of field goals, the rule of three-point field goals, and three-point line distance that will help you to learn more about the three-point importance in the game. I hope you have learned something new today in this article.

Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How far is a 3-pointer in basketball?

The 3-point line distance is different at all competitive levels. In NBA the arc radius is 23 feet 9 inches and in FIBA, WNBA, NCAA, and NAIA the arc radius is the same 22 ft 1.75 in. The sidelines difference in NBA, WNBA is 3 feet, FIBA shows the distance of 2 ft 11 in, NCAA and NAIA contain the same distance of 3 feet 4 inches.

Which players has the highest three pointer in basketball?

There are many players who achieved a great milestone in making three-point field goals but if we talk about the legend of three-point field goals then the award goes to Stephen Curry for making 3,117 three-point field goals.

Is a 3-point shot a field goal in basketball?

The field goal is the main source of making points in the game however there are two variations in the field goal. One is 3 point a three-point field goal or 3 pointer and the second is 2 pointer. The three-point field goal is worth 3 points whiles the 2 pointer is worth 2 points.

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