7 differences between NBA and FIBA

Modern basketball was invented in the late 19th century in North America. It became popular almost immediately after this. Over the years, it has undergone a series of changes. In fact, in the beginning, it was played with a soccer ball. Other than changes in the sport itself, there are differences in this sport if it’s played in the US or Europe. And these differences are the topic of this article.

What differentiates NBA and FIBA?

Since the creation of the World Basketball Organization (FIBA) thirty years ago, European basketball began to develop in parallel with the one in the US. This parallel development included separate rules, many of which apply today. And there are some big differences in the rules between these two leagues.

1. The size of the court

The size of the court in the NBA is 94 x 50 ft. However, the court by FIBA’s rules is somewhat smaller, and it is 92 x 49 ft.

2. Three-point line


Three-point line was first introduced to the NBA in the 1979-80 season. The distance between this line and the hopper is 7.24 m (23 ft 9 in), and it was not changed since the beginning. On the other hand, in Europe, the three-point line was introduced five years later. The distance was 6.25 m (20 ft 6 in). In 2008, FIBA changed the length of the three-point line, and since then it has been being 6.75 m (22 ft 1 3/4 in).

3. The length of the match

The NBA match lasts 48 minutes. It is divided into four equal quarters, each lasting 12 minutes. As for the European basketball, FIBA rules prescribe that the quarters last 10 minutes, which means that the match lasts 40 minutes. As we can see, the NBA league matches last as much as 8 minutes longer than FIBA matches.

4. Duration-related differences

The longer game in NBA brings several changes directly related to its duration. According to FIBA, each team is entitled to five time-outs: two in the first and three in the second half. The teams in the NBA have six regular time-outs, plus one 20 seconds long in each half.

5. Personal fouls


Thanks to the long matches, NBA players are allowed to make one foul more than the players of FIBA basketball. In Europe, the player loses the right to play after five fouls, while NBA player stays in the game until he makes six personal or two technical fouls.

6. The duration of the attack

Both in FIBA and NBA, the duration of the attack is 24 seconds. But there is one important difference. While the NBA the clock is reset to 24 seconds after the offensive jump, this new attack lasts only 14 seconds in FIBA games.

7. The zone

While in Europe playing zone is allowed without any restrictions, the NBA defensive player must not stand in the zone for more than 3 seconds.

Despite these differences, the rules are not the crucial thing that determines the difference between American and European basketball. There is primarily approach, athletic skills and basketball philosophy itself. In recent years, the differences between these two schools are less and less basketball. The best proof of this is the increasingly non-American basketball players who play key roles in the NBA.