The History Of The Three-Point Line In The NBA

Ray Allen shooting a crucial three-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. (Getty Images)
Ray Allen shooting a crucial three-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. (Getty Images)
American Sports History

Ray Allen shooting a crucial three-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals.

The NBA had long been the leader in American basketball.  However they were slow to introduce a popular part of the game already being used in other professional leagues.

The three-point line was first dreamed about in the 1930’s. By the end of the 1960’s the three-point line was being used in the American Basketball League, The Eastern Professional Basketball League and the American Basketball Association.  It was not until the late 1970’s that the NBA gave in and decided to use this new rule that they had previously viewed as gimmicky.

On October 12, 1979 history was made when the Washington Bullets Kevin Grevey made the first three-pointer in an official NBA game. Grevey would retire after the 1984-85 season with 145 career three-point shots made.  From this point on the game would never be the same. This addition to the game added a new level of excitement and suspense.  Many NBA games over the last three decades have been ultimately decided by this dreaded shot.

From the 1979-80 season to the 1993-94 season the three point line was 23 feet 9 inches from the front of the basket and 22 feet at the corners.  The NBA would try to address lower scoring games by bringing the line closer to the basket from the 1994-95 season through the 1996-97 season. At that time three-point line was 22 feet around the entire basket.  The league brought back the three-point line back to its original dimensions in the 1997-98 season and it has remained there since.

Ray Allen is a player that has had a Hall Of Fame career mostly based on the fact he has been an excellent three-point shooter.  His most recent heroics came from his favorite position on the court when he made a game tying 3-pointer in Game 6 of the NBA finals.  His team the Miami heat won that game and later won Game 7 of the Finals to be three time NBA Champions. Allen is the all time leader in three-pointers with 2,963 at the time of this article. Ray Allen was also at one point in time the single season leader in this statistical category when he broke Dennis Scott’s record in the 2005-06 season with 269 three-pointers that year. 

Stephen Curry is now the current single season record holder.  He broke Allen’s record at the end of the 2012-13 season when he made his final three-point in the last game of the season, putting the new record at 272 three-pointers. Curry would break his own record two seasons later during the 2014-15 canpaign with 286 three-pointers. The story of Curry’s dominance does not end there. As of February 27, 2016 Curry has made 288 shots from the behind the arch setting a new record and with about two months remaining in the season that mark will continue to rise.

The three-point shot has been such a special part of the game since its creation.  It is hard to even imagine the sport without it.  It will forever be one of the most revolutionary parts of the game of Basketball.

While guard Voshon Lenard scored 38.4 percent from the three-point line during his 11-year NBA career He had a great start to his career, when he was one of the best players in the game. From 1997 to 2001, Lenard hit at a 39.9 percent rate, while putting up 4.9 three-point shots per game.

Lenard’s most successful season was his second year playing in 1996-97, where he scored 41.1 percentage as his team in the NBA experimented with a slightly drawn-in 3-point line. Despite being a great shot-maker from the outside Lenard left the NBA at age 32 after he made only 32.1 percent of his three-pointers over 26 total games during 2005-2006.

But there was one rule that was instituted by the NBA in the 1979-80 season to make it a little easier for the small guys to shoot and a little harder for the big men to dominate. It’s taken a while for the rule to have its desired effect. It’s called (if you haven’t guessed already) the 3-point goal.

His game was the mid-range, break you down with the dribble, rise up over the top or bait you into a foul and get to the line kind of game.

And that for the most part was the way the whole league played. Threes were not encouraged and few coaches allowed for them to be part of the game. The first 3-pointer made in an NBA game was on October 12, 1979 ( here is the history of the 3-point shot in the NBA if you’re at all intrigued ) but it took 15-years for the league as a whole to combine to average more than 10 attempts per game.

Fact & Data :


When was the 3 point line added In NBA

The 3 point line was added to the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1979 as part of a comprehensive set of rule changes, thereby revolutionizing the game of basketball. This innovation provided players with an additional avenue for scoring points, thus creating a more dynamic and exciting style of play. The introduction of the 3 point line offered players the opportunity to expand their offensive repertoire, which allowed them to heighten their level of competition and further engage with their audiences.

The three-point line was added to the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1979, a revolutionary change that altered the way in which the game was played. This new rule introduced the concept of long-distance shooting, and allowed teams to score more points with one shot than they previously could with two. It also opened up a wider range of offensive strategies and increased the value of versatile players who could both shoot and defend.

Reference :

The History of the 3-Pointer – USA Basketball
The 3point line’s first use in a professional league was back in 1961 in the American Basketball League. The ABL only lasted 1 ½ seasons before folding, so the …

Three-point field goal – Wikipedia
Every threepoint line becomes parallel to each sideline at the points where each arc is a specified distance from the sideline. In both the NBA and WNBA, this …

He Thought He Made N.B.A. History. All He Got Was 3 Points. – The …
Dec 15, 2021 The N.B.A. introduced the 3point shot in the 1979-80 season. Six players made 3s opening night, and for a decade, Kevin Grevey thought he’d …

NBA History: The birth and evolution of the 3-point line | Sporting …
May 4, 2021 Initially on a one-year trial basis, the 3point line was adopted by the NBA for the 1979-80 season, the rookie years of future Basketball …


3 Point Line

The 3-point line in the NBA is an incredibly important element to the game of basketball, as it adds a unique set of spatial dynamics that encourages players to take shots from further away. This dynamic has been especially significant for the evolution of the modern game, as it rewards long-distance shooting, which can open up opportunities within a team’s offense and create new ways of scoring.

The 3 point line in the NBA is a unique and innovative feature of the game that has vastly altered the landscape of basketball. It is an integral part of the sport that has revolutionized how teams strategize and compete on the court. This line, located 23 feet 9 inches from the basket for all shots beyond it, increases the level of difficulty for a successful three-pointer, but also incentivizes players to shoot from further away.

Basketball court
in all divisions will adopt this distance in 2021–22. The NBA three-point line is 3 ft (0.91 m) from the sideline in a zone starting at the baseline and

Three-point field goal
A three-point field goal (also 3-pointer, three, or trey) is a field goal in a basketball game made from beyond the three-point line, a designated arc

Distance from a point to a line
point to a line is the shortest distance from a given point to any point on an infinite straight line. It is the perpendicular distance of the point to

the tangent line (or simply tangent) to a plane curve at a given point is the straight line that “just touches” the curve at that point. Leibniz defined

When was the three point line invented

The invention of the three point line is a pivotal moment in the history of basketball, as it revolutionized the way teams approach the game. It was first introduced by the American Basketball Association in 1967, and then permanently adopted into the National Basketball Association in 1979. The three-point shot has since become an integral component in any successful team’s strategy, allowing them to break away from traditional offensive play and diversify their approach.

The three point line was an innovative development that revolutionized the game of basketball, first appearing in NBA play in 1979. It has since become a staple of the sport, allowing for unparalleled strategic flexibility and offensive dynamism. The concept was first proposed by Everett Dean Martin in 1945, with the introduction of the three-point shot to college basketball in 1986 resulting from its implementation.

Basketball court
in all divisions will adopt this distance in 2021–22. The NBA three-point line is 3 ft (0.91 m) from the sideline in a zone starting at the baseline and

Three-point field goal
A three-point field goal (also 3-pointer, three, or trey) is a field goal in a basketball game made from beyond the three-point line, a designated arc

The National Basketball Association (NBA) three-point line, also known as the arc, is a vital element of the game. It is located 23 feet and 9 inches from the center of the rim in all directions around the court. This distance is fundamental to understand the scoring system of professional basketball, as it defines which shots are considered two-pointers or three-pointers. Understanding this line is essential for not only players but coaches, referees and fans alike.

The National Basketball Association’s 3-point line is one of the most celebrated aspects of the game! It is established by rule to be 23.75 feet from the basket in all directions, which creates an arc that is 23.75 feet away from the center of the basket. This line is a significant factor in how games are played, as it not only encourages players to take higher-value shots, but also places additional emphasis on accuracy and distance control.

The three-point line in the NBA serves as an important tool for strategic player positioning, creating a heightened level of tactical complexity and a unique challenge to teams competing at the highest levels. It serves to alter offensive and defensive strategies and push players to develop creative solutions to score points. The three-point line is a testament to the evolution of the game, where being able to shoot from long distances has become a key factor in winning games.

The 3-point line has revolutionized the game of basketball since its introduction to the NBA in 1979. Its implementation is one of the most significant innovations in the history of sport, as it has totally transformed the way teams approach offensive strategy. Although the 3-point line was first popularized by college basketball, its use in the NBA is what truly brought about widespread adoption.