In basketball, half court is shown by a line that runs down the middle of every court. It separates the two halves of the basketball court and is used as a boundary for many rules in the sport. Half court lines are present on every basketball court at every level of play. The half court line will be the same width as the court itself, which is typically 50 feet.
At the center of half court, there will also be a circle that is used for jump balls at the start of every game. Jump balls are used to decide which team gets possession of the ball to start each basketball game. The half court line will also divide the jump ball circle in half, just as it does for the entire court.
The half court line is used to distinguish boundaries for various rules within basketball. For example, the 8 second rule. Once an offensive team inbounds the ball at their end of the court after a defensive possession, they are required to cross the ball over half court within 8 seconds. If they fail to cross the half court line within that time, it will result in a turnover and the ball being given back to the opposing team. This helps make the game faster and prevents teams from holding the ball in their half for long periods of time.
Over and back is perhaps the most well known rule that utilizes the half court line. Once a team crosses the half court line with possession of the ball, the ball is not allowed to cross back over the half court line and be touched by the offense. Over and back occurs when a team brings the ball over half court and a player then steps back across the half court line while in possession of the ball. This violation will be called by a referee and will result in a turnover for the offense.
PRO TIP: The over and back rule does not apply if a defender deflects the ball across half court.