Basketball Equipment List

Basketball Equipment List

While playing basketball requires only the ball and a basket, there are several other items of equipment players and coaches use. This equipment is designed to improve performance, comfort, and training. Read on to learn more about the equipment used in basketball.

Basketball Equipment

basketball equipment

One of the reasons that basketball has become one of the most popular sports to play worldwide is because it can be played with very little equipment. Basketball can be played outdoors, on asphalt, or on indoor wooden floors. If you're getting ready to play a pickup game, here's a list of equipment you’ll need to bring:

The Backboard

basketball backboard

The backboard is a raised board that is mounted vertically on top of a pole, and which serves as the mounting for the basketball hoop. An official NBA backboard is made of transparent glass, but a wooden or metal backboard will work as well. In the NBA, the backboard measures 6 feet wide and 3.5 feet tall. If you want a fancy backboard, you can get one that lights up with red LEDs to match when the shot clock runs out of time. A backboard set can be bought and installed at home in the driveway or in a backyard. You can also find backboards and hoops at public parks, so you don’t have to buy one yourself!

The Ball

Basketball Ball

You'll need a basketball to play the game. Today, basketballs are made with synthetic materials such as rubber, polyester, and nylon in combination with leather. In the NBA, the pressure of the ball must be between 7.5 and 8.5 pounds per square inch. The size of the ball measures 29.5 inches in circumference, known as a Size 7. There are smaller sizes you can get for kids, with sizes ranging from 3 to 7. Some health or community centers that have basketball courts may be able to provide a ball. However, it is always better to bring your own ball if you plan on playing basketball. Basketballs can be bought for as little as $15, but if you want an NBA-quality basketball, it will cost much more.

The Hoop

basketball hoop

There are two types of games you can play. If you're playing pickup basketball, you can play half court with one hoop instead of full court with two hoops. Basketball hoops consist of a backboard, rim, net, and metal post that holds them up in the air. The hoops are 10 feet above the ground, which is the standard at all levels of the sport other than in youth games.

Basketball Jerseys

The jersey is important to a player’s identity on the court. It includes your name on the back and numbers on both the front and back that identify who you are. On the front of a jersey is your team's logo and branding. Jersey sizing comes in the traditional extra-small, small, medium, large, extra-large, and double-extra-large, and takes into account your height, chest size, waist, and hips.

Jerseys help referees, teammates, and fans identify each player on the court, and every player on a team should have a matching jersey design. They have also become a popular apparel item for fans of professional or college basketball teams. Buying an official NBA jersey can be expensive, starting at $75, but you can find used or replica jerseys for much less.

Basketball Shoes

Basketball Shoes

Basketball shoes are one of the most essential pieces of equipment to play the sport. Although basketball can be played in regular sneakers, a good pair of shoes will give you an edge on the court while providing extra safety. Their stability will allow you to move laterally and perform quick cuts to beat defensive players.

Unfortunately, not all shoes are created equal, and you should try them on at the store to make sure they fit comfortably. Some of the biggest brands are Nike, Adidas, Jordan, and Under Armour. New basketball shoes may need some time to break in until they are comfortable. Basketball shoes typically cost in the range of $50 to upwards of $150 for name-brand shoes.

Basketball Shorts

Basketball Shorts

Another piece of equipment essential to your uniform are basketball shorts. If you're playing outside in cold weather, you may want to choose pants. However, if you're playing indoors, you'll want to stick with shorts since you'll start sweating once you play. If you're playing in a league, the colors of your shorts should match your jersey.

If you're playing a pickup game, you can wear any color you want as long as the other team knows which side you’re on. Some of the best brands for basketball shorts are Nike and Adidas, with prices ranging from $15 to $45.

Basketball Socks

Basketball Socks

You may not think socks are important, but they prevent friction between your feet and your shoes. Having a nice pair of socks will prevent blisters from forming on your heels and toes, and provide added support. There is also a decision to be made between long socks or short socks. You should decide based on which you are most comfortable wearing, and how you look in them. Basketball socks often come in packages with multiple sets and can be purchased for around $20.

Bags and Backpacks

Basketball Bag

While not required, basketball bags and backpacks are great for carrying all your equipment and keeping it organized. They can hold your shoes, clothing, and other accessories; some bags even have waterproof compartments and special pockets to hold a basketball! Basketball bags come in many different sizes and styles but are typically drawstring bags, backpacks, or duffle bags. Drawstring bags are the cheapest options, costing as low as $10. Backpacks and duffle bags can hold much more equipment and cost between $40 and $80.


Basketball Headband

If you want to add a unique look to your personal style on the court, try adding a headband. You can wear a traditional cotton sweatband or use a branded dry-fit bandana. Whichever style you choose, you're going to look great and stop the sweat from interfering with your game. Headbands typically cost $10-15 at online retailers.

Rings and Rims

Basketball Rings and Rims

The basket rim has a pressure release that allows it to bend when players dunk and hold onto it. The rim is a metal ring with an 18-inch diameter. The rim is attached to the backboard 10 feet above the ground. Basketball rims are typically found in two types: single and double rims. Single rims are most popular on indoor courts and are used in almost all organized leagues. Double rims are commonly found on outdoor courts and are known to require a bit more touch when shooting the basketball.

Basketball Nets

Basketball Net

Basketball nets are one of the most important and regulated parts of a basketball court. According to NBA guidelines, every net must be made of white cords and measure 18” in length. The cords inside are constructed so that the basketball is momentarily checked as it passes through the basket, creating the famous “swish” sound. Nets are typically made of nylon or polyester, but some outdoor courts still have metal nets.

Shooting Sleeves

basketball Shooting Sleeve

Another optional piece of attire is an arm sleeve. Also known as compression sleeves or shooting sleeves, this article of clothing not only looks good, but it aids in muscle recovery on and off the court. Deciding whether to wear them or not depends on player comfort and preference. A good arm sleeve will cost about $15-20 online.

Shot Clocks

Basketball shot clock

A shot clock is a device that is used to keep track of the amount of time the offense is allowed to have the ball. The shot clock lasts 24 seconds in the NBA and 30 seconds in college basketball. If the time runs out before a team takes a shot, it is considered a shot clock violation. You can connect a shot clock to the backboard so it will light up red when the shot clock expires. Shot clocks are only used in leagues or official games, but not for casual pickup games.

Ball Racks

Basketball Ball Rack

As the most important piece of equipment on the court, basketballs require their own form of storage. They are usually stored in ball racks made up of thin metal rods connected to form rows. Each rack will have three to four rows in which basketballs can be placed and wheels at the bottom so that the rack can be easily moved and accessed during play. Due to their expense, ball racks are typically bought by leagues or court administrators, though players have the inexpensive storage option of mesh ball bags for around $10-15.

Ball Pump

basketball ball pump

For optimal play, you will need a ball pump just in case. Ball pumps inject air, usually by hand, and help keep basketballs properly inflated at all times. When balls don’t have enough air, they will not bounce as well or will fully stop bouncing altogether. This disrupts the ease and fairness of play, so it’s important to always keep your basketballs inflated. A simple ball pump should cost about $10-15 online.

Throwback Basketball Jerseys

A throwback jersey is one that was worn by a famous player or team in a previous season. Teams will switch their jersey designs every few years, and certain jerseys will remain a fan-favorite even years after they are worn. These are popular items worn by fans to show their loyalty to a team or player. Old school jerseys like the original Phoenix Suns jersey or the Toronto Raptors purple jersey are always a great choice. Official throwback jerseys tend to be expensive and typically cost between $100-150.


basketball towel

If you sweat a lot, you'll want to bring a towel to the game. Towels are a great way to quickly wipe away sweat and get back on the court, which is a large part of why the classic Gatorade towel is a staple of NBA basketball games. Sweat rolling down your hands or into your eyes can be a major setback on the court, so you’ll want one for any sort of intense game or practice you take part in. There are many types of towels that range in size, color, brand, and material. A decent sideline towel will cost about $10-15.

Basketball Uniforms

If you're going to play in a basketball game, make sure you and your team have a uniform. Basketball uniforms consist of a jersey, shorts, and a pair of socks. Additionally, you can put your own personal touch to your uniform by adding a headband or arm sleeve.

You should keep in mind that you may be required to have a different uniform for home games and away games. In some leagues like the NCAA, the home team must wear jerseys with light colors, while the away team must wear jerseys with dark colors. These color differences prevent confusion during play. If you plan on playing basketball casually and still want teams to be able to differentiate themselves, colored bibs should do the job; they can be bought cheaply in most sports equipment stores. A simple basketball uniform can cost anywhere from $60-100 per person, while a custom team package can cost up to $250.


Basketball Whistle

If you're a coach or referee, you'll want a whistle. Referees may blow their whistles to signal a dead ball, a foul, a violation, or if a player steps out of bounds. In practice, coaches may blow their whistles to start or stop a drill, give a command, or just to gather the players. Basketball whistles are relatively cheap, and some come with strings to hang around a coach’s neck or can be attached to a keychain. A simple whistle will cost at most $5-10 online.


Basketball Wristband

Basketball wristbands are yet another type of non-essential equipment that may help you while giving you some on-court style. You see most basketball players using rubber wristbands with a message or meaning during games, although cloth wristbands can also be worn to help control sweat while playing. Wristbands cost around $8-10 from most online retailers.

Equipment for the Court

Basketball Apparel

Equipment for Playing

Safety Equipment

Equipment for Referees

  • Referee Uniform
  • Whistles


What equipment do you need to play basketball?

To play a basic game of basketball, you’ll need a ball, a hoop, basketball shoes, comfortable clothing, and a source of hydration. If you want to engage in competitive play though, you’ll need a uniform that matches your teammates as well as anything else required by your particular league or division. These help distinguish players and ensure fairness across the board.

What equipment do coaches need for basketball?

To run an efficient practice or game, a coach will need a whistle, a stopwatch, a clipboard, a whiteboard, and cones. A whistle is used to get your player’s attention, a clipboard helps keep track of your players and their numbers, a whiteboard will help you explain specific plays, and a set of cones plus a stopwatch will help you run drills. It would also be helpful to keep extra basketballs, pinnies, and a communal source of hydration.

What are the best brands for basketball equipment?

The best brands for basketball equipment are Nike, Adidas, Jordan, Under Armour, and Puma. Beginning with the 2017-2018 season, Nike is the official partner for all NBA jerseys and uniforms, ending a long partnership with Adidas. For basketballs specifically, the best brands are Wilson and Spalding, the two companies that have collectively made the NBA’s official basketballs for over three decades.