The center circle is located directly in the middle of the basketball court, with half of the circle being on either side of the court. The circle has a 12 foot diameter, meaning it is 6 feet long on either side of the midcourt line.
The main purpose of the center circle is for the jump ball at the start of the game, referred to as the tip off. Two players will stand in the middle of the circle while the remaining 8 players must remain on the outside of the circle's lines. When the referee throws the ball up, the players will attempt to tip it to one of the players on their team to gain the opening possession, and the game will officially start. This will happen again at the beginning of any overtime periods included in the game.
The center circle can also be utilized for a jump ball in a variety of other situations, including: