three point field goal
What is the definition of three-point field goal in basketball?
1. A three-point field goal is a shot that is made from beyond the three-point line or arc. A three-point field goal is worth three points and should not be confused with a regular field goal, which is worth only two points.
What counts as a three-point field goal?
In order for a shot to count as a three-point field goal attempt, a player’s feet must be entirely behind the three-point line at the time of the shot. The shot will only count as a two-point attempt if a player’s feet are touching the line or in front of the line.
If a player jumps from outside the three-point line, releases the ball while in the air and then lands inside the line, the shot still counts as a three-point attempt and is worth three points if it goes in the basket.
What happens if a player is fouled during a three-point attempt?
One or more free throws are awarded to a player when they are fouled while taking a three-point attempt. There are two possible outcomes when a player is fouled while making a shot from behind the three-point line:
- If the player makes the three-pointer, their team gets three points and they get one free throw attempt. A successful free throw results in another point for their team, which is also known as a four-point play.
- If the player misses the three-pointer, they get three free throw attempts for a chance to add up to three points to their team’s score.
What’s the difference between a three-point field goal and a three-point play?
A three-point field goal occurs when a player makes a shot from behind the three-point line. This should not be confused with a three-point play, which occurs when a player is fouled in the act of shooting, makes a basket worth two points and then makes their one free throw attempt for a total of three points.
If a player is fouled during the act of shooting a three pointer, their team is awarded three points and the player is given one free throw attempt for a chance to then make it a four-point play.
What’s the difference between a three-point field goal and a triple-double?
A three-point field goal is a basket worth three points that is awarded for a successful shot made from behind the arc. A triple-double is a achievement in basketball that a player earns by getting double-digit figures in at least three statistical categories in a single game. To get a triple-double, players have to earn 10 or more in three of the following categories:
Three-pointers count toward the points total when determining whether a player achieves double digits in that statistical category. The same categories are evaluated for other stat-related achievements, such as double-doubles, quadruple-doubles and five-by-fives (5×5).
When did the 3-point field goal start?
The three-point field goal was first used in basketball in the 1940s. However, it did not become an official part of college and professional basketball until many decades later.
History of the 3-pointer in professional basketball
In 1961, the American Basketball League (ABL) became the first professional league to adopt the three-point field goal. The league folded in 1963, and it wasn’t used again in pro basketball until 1967, when the American Basketball Association (ABA) was launched.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) adopted the three-point field goal in the 1979-1980 season, three years after its merger with the ABA. The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) followed suit in 1984.
Although three-point field goals were introduced in the NBA in 1979, they were relatively rare for quite a few years. Players at the time hadn’t been trained to go for these shots, and the style of play was more focused on driving toward the basket. As a result, many NBA legends never scored a three-pointer or made very few three-point attempts. For example, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made only one three-pointer in his 20-year career, which happened in 1986.
History of the 3-pointer in college basketball
The three-point field goal was first introduced in 1945 during a college basketball game between Columbia and Fordham, though it was only used for one game. The three-point field goal was not adopted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) until the 1980-1981 season. At that time, only select conferences chose to use the three-point line. In addition, the placement of the line on the court varied between conferences, with some having a three-point line that was further from the basket compared to others.
In 1986, the NCAA finally adopted a universal distance for the three-point field goal in men’s basketball at 19 feet 9 inches (today, it’s at 22 feet 1.75 inches). The three-point field goal was then used in the NCAA men’s tournament for the first time in 1987. It was also during the 1986-1987 season that NCAA women’s basketball teams began acknowledging the three-point field goal. The following season, high school basketball teams began using the three-point line as well.
Three-point line distance by league
The furthest point of the three-point line arc is measured from the center of the basket. This distance varies by league.
How far out is the NBA 3-point line?
The distance of the three-point line from the center of the basket in the NBA is 23 feet 9 inches (7.24 meters).
In both the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and FIBA, the distance of the three-point line from the center of the basket is 22 feet 1.75 inches (6.75 meters).
How far out is the college basketball 3-point line?
In college basketball, the distance of the three-point line from the center of the basket is 22 feet 1.75 inches (6.75 meters). This distance is required in both the NCAA and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
How far out is the high school 3-point line?
High school basketball uses a three-point line that is 19 feet 9 inches (6.02 meters) from the center of the basket. This is the official distance mandated by the the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
Three-point line spacing from the sidelines
In addition to a defined distance from the center of the basket, the three-point line must also adhere to a minimum distance from the sidelines. This space between the sidelines and the arc line is required to create space for players to take three-point shots from the sides of the court.
The minimum distance between the three-point line and the sidelines varies by league:
- FIBA: 2 feet 11 inches (0.9 meter)
- NBA: 3 feet (0.91 meter)
- WNBA: 3 feet (0.91 meter)
- NCAA: 3 feet 4 inches (1.02 meters)
- NAIA: 3 feet 4 inches (1.02 meters)
- NFHS: 5 feet 3 inches (1.6 meters)
Who has the most 3s in NBA history?
All-Star Stephen Curry holds the record for the most 3-point field goals made in the NBA. As of the 2022-2023 season, Curry has made 3,390 successful three-point shots in his career as point guard for the Golden State Warriors.
The standings for the top 3-point scorers in NBA history as of the 2022-2023 season, along with the teams they have played for, are as follows:
- Stephen Curry: 3,390 (Golden State Warriors)
- Ray Allen: 2,973 (Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat)
- James Harden: 2,754 (Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers)
- Reggie Miller: 2,560 (Indiana Pacers)
- Kyle Korver: 2,450 (Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and others)
- Damian Lillard: 2,387 (Portland Trail Blazers)
- Vince Carter: 2,290 (Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and others)
- Jason Terry: 2,282 (Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics and others)
- LeBron James: 2,261 (Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers)
- Jamal Crawford: 2,221 (New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers and others)
- Klay Thompson: 2,213 (Golden State Warriors)
- Paul Pierce: 2,143 (Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Clippers)
- Kyle Lowry: 2,078 (Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat)
- Paul George: 2,010 (Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers)
- Jason Kidd: 1,988 (Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks)
What is the most 3-point field goals in a single game?
Klay Thompson scored 14 three-pointers on October 29, 2018, which is the most 3-point field goals in a single game as of the NBA’s 2022-2023 season. Thompson’s Golden State Warriors beat the Chicago Bulls in that game with a final score of 149-124.
Three players share the second-place record for the most three-point field goals in a single game. Each one made 13 three-pointers in the following games:
- Stephen Curry for the Golden State Warriors in a win over the New Orleans Pelicans on November 7, 2016.
- Zach LaVine for the Chicago Bulls in a win over the Charlotte Hornets on November 23, 2019.
- Damian Lillard for the Portland Trail Blazers in a win over the Houston Rockets on February 26, 2023
Who has attempted the most 3-point field goals in a game?
Klay Thompson holds the record for the most three-point field goal attempts (FGAs) in a single game with 24. He set the three-point attempts record on October 29, 2018 while playing for the Golden State Warriors in a game against the Chicago Bulls. During this matchup, Thompson also set the record for the most three-pointers in a single game with 14.
James Harden holds two second-place records for the most three-point FGAs in one game. There were two games in which he made 23 three-point field goal attempts while playing for the Houston Rockets: on January 3, 2019 against the Golden State Warriors, and on March 30, 2019 against the Sacramento Kings.
As of the 2022-2023 season, the list of the NBA players with the most three-point field goal attempts includes the following:
- Klay Thompson: 24 (October 29, 2018 for the Golden State Warriors)
- James Harden: 23: (March 30, 2019 for the Houston Rockets)
- James Harden: 23 (January 3, 2019 for the Houston Rockets)
- Damian Lillard: 22 (February 26, 2023 for the Portland Trail Blazers)
- Stephen Curry: 22 (May 16, 2021 for the Golden State Warriors)
- Marcus Smart: 22 (January 18, 2020 for the Boston Celtics)
- James Harden: 22 (November 16, 2019 for the Houston Rockets)
- James Harden: 22 (February 13, 2019 for the Houston Rockets)
- J.R. Smith: 22 (April 6, 2014 for the New York Knicks)
- Klay Thompson: 21 (January 2, 2023 for the Golden State Warriors)
- Stephen Curry: 21 (May 8, 2021 for the Golden State Warriors)
- Danny Green: 21 (January 12, 2021 for the Philadelphia 76ers)
- Buddy Hield: 21 (November 25, 2019 for the Sacramento Kings)
- Kobe Bryant: 21 (April 13, 2016 for the Los Angeles Lakers)
- Damon Stoudamire: 21 (April 15, 2005 for the Portland Trail Blazers)
Who has the best three-point field goal percentage in NBA history?
Steve Kerr holds the record for the best three-point field goal percentage in NBA history. Field goal percentage (FG%) is the number of shots made by a player divided by the number of shots attempted by that player. Generally, this statistic incorporates all shots, except free throws. However, it can also be used to evaluate success for specific types of shots, such as three-pointers.
The following players have the best three-point field goal percentage in NBA history as of the 2022-2023 season:
- Steve Kerr: 45.40% (Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and others)
- Hubert Davis: 44.09% (New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, and others)
- Dražen Petrović: 43.74% (Portland Trail Blazers, New Jersey Nets)
- Joe Harris: 43.72% (Cleveland Cavaliers, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons)
- Luke Kennard: 43.70% (Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies)
- Seth Curry: 43.53% (Memphis Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns and others)
- Jason Kapono: 43.36% (Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors and others)
- Tim Legler: 43.12% (Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz and others)
- Steve Novak: 43.01% (Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks and others)
- Kyle Korver: 42.87% (Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks and others)
Who is the only player in NBA history to shoot 100% from the 3-point line in a game?
There have been many NBA players who have shot 100% from the three-point line in a single game. As of the 2022-2023 season, Ben Gordon and Latrell Sprewell are the two players with the highest number of three-pointers in a game with a three-point field goal percentage of 100%. Each of these players scored nine three-pointers while hitting every three-point shot, with Gordon actually achieving the feat twice:
- Ben Gordon: March 21, 2012 for the Detroit Pistons against the Denver Nuggets
- Ben Gordon: April 14, 2006 for the Chicago Bulls against the Washington Wizards
- Latrell Sprewell: February 4, 2003 for the New York Knicks against the Los Angeles Clippers
What is a three-point field goal in football?
In football, a field goal is worth three points. This type of play happens in the National Football League (NFL) and other football games when the offensive team lines up along the line of scrimmage with their place kicking unit and kicks the ball through the goal posts in the opponent’s end zone.
The term “three-point field goal” is not commonly used in football, however. This phrase is specifically associated with the sport of basketball.
Examples of how three-point field goal is used in commentary
1. Kevin Durant hits the three-point field goal in transition and puts his one step closer to the NBA championship.
2. The point guard dishes to the shooting guard who then nails the three pointer with only seconds left in this critical playoff game.
Sport the term is used
Also seen as:
2. Three pointer