What Is Backboard In Basketball? Definition & Meaning

Do you know about the basketball equipment that plays an important role in the game? Well, the backboard is an essential tool in the game, and a basketball game is incomplete without it. A basketball backboard can be defined as a vertical elevated board with an attached hoop which is normally used to bounce the ball off the backboard and to put the ball into the basketball with the assistance of the backboard.

The backboard shot is much easier if you know about the correct position on the court. Players used backboards to perform layups or bank shots. If the player is in close range and at the right spot of the court then he can put the ball into the basketball with the help of the backboard. The backboard shot is considered to be safer than performing a direct shot.

What Is Backboard In Basketball

The backboards come in different shapes such as rectangular, oval, and fan-shaped. The rectangular shape backboards are used in big leagues and in international matches while the oval and fan-shaped backboards are primarily used in non-professional and recreational matches. The basketball backboard comes in different sizes according to the space of the court that going from 44 Inches to 72 Inches but the standard backboards are 183 cm wide and 107 cm tall.

The inner rectangle on the backboard is 24 inches which is 18 inches wide and 46 cm tall. What are these backboards used for and what are they made from? Today I will guide you through every single detail so you can know everything about the most important equipment in the game.

Purpose of Backboard in Basketball

Purpose of Backboard in Basketball

The game of basketball is full of surprises and facts. You will be surprised to know the fact that basketball backboards were not available in their initial days because the peach basket was used to score a basket. There was no proper basketball equipment available at that time. Basketball has evolved with the passage of time in terms of equipment.

It is not confirmed when the first backboard was made and used but it is supposed that the first backboard was created between 1893 to 1896. The backboards were first created from chicken wire or wood and at that time the chicken wire or wooden backboards were used to prevent the ball from going outside of the court area and to protect the ball from spectator interference.

At present time the basketball board used to serve a different purpose from its old times. The backboard has changed with the course of time and now players use the backboard to perform bank and layup shots. The backboard can prove your best supportive partner on the court because the proper use of a basketball backboard can give you a good idea of ball directions.

The backboard helps you to aim for a successful shot as the square on the backboard guides you where the ball should hit. You can also improve your shooting skills by using a backboard in your training drills. The backboards are available in different sizes that you can use according to your game level.

Backboard Material

In old times a chicken wire or wooden-based backboard was used in the game to stop spectator interference with the ball but the technology has changed a lot with the course of time and now backboards are made with multiple materials according to the court requirements. You can buy backboards in various materials such as Tempered Glass, Acrylic, Polycarbonate, Steel, Fiberglass, Aluminum, and Wood. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Tempered Glass Backboard:

Tempered glass is considered best for making backboards. The tempered glass backboard is mostly used in professional matches. The NBA also uses tempered glass backboard due to its durability, premium quality, and rebound capabilities. These backboards are a great option for indoor usage; however, the tempered glass can also be used for outdoor courts. The tempered glass backboards are ideal to polish your shooting skills in the competitive indoor environment.

The toughened glass is best known for its safety because this glass is processed by chemical treatments to enhance its strength. Tempered glass is safe to use because if you put immense pressure on it then it will shatter into small granular chunks instead of splintering into spiky shards. The tempered glass gives you a transparent look and remains neat and scratches less.  Tempered glass is more expensive than other materials.

Polycarbonate Backboard:

Polycarbonate is the second most popular material in the making of backboards. Polycarbonates contain a carbonate group that gives strong, tough, and optically transparent properties. The backboards are good to use for indoor use because these clear plastic material doesn’t stand long against UV rays in outdoor conditions; however, some backboards are made with thick UV-resistant polycarbonate that can be easily used in roughest conditions.

Polycarbonate is less expensive than tempered glass and can be used for recreational games. This material also possesses great rebound properties.

Acrylic Backboard:

Acrylic is yet another transparent plastic material that provides strength, stiffness, and transparency. Acrylic material is durable but offers fewer rebound properties than tempered and polycarbonate material. The acrylic backboards are good to use on outdoor courts because UV rays don’t affect acrylic material. If you don’t want to spend much money on a backboard for your court then acrylic backboards are a good option that provides you toughness and remains unbreakable.


The backboard history is very old and the basketball equipment and purpose have changed a lot with the course of time. You can buy backboard in different materials and sizes. If you have a small court area then an acrylic backboard is a good option but if you want to enjoy the experience of a real game then tempered glass backboards are good to use.

I hope this article will make you more familiar with the basketball backboards. I have mentioned all the details regarding its purpose, material, and sizes so you can select a good quality backboard for your court.

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