The most common basketball nets are made from cotton, nylon, and polyethylene. This is the white one that we often see in regulation basketball courts. Outdoor basketball nets are often made of steel chain for durability and longevity.
Cotton is made from natural fibers coming from cotton plants. Nylon is a soft, silky kind of plastic. And polyethylene is the most commonly used kind of plastic.
The combination of cotton, nylon, and polyethylene makes up the well-known white basketball nets. They are commonly used in professional leagues such as the National Basketball Association (NBA).
What are Other Types of Basketball Nets?
The white basketball net is a combination of three materials (cotton and plastics). It’s the most durable and commonly used kind of basketball nets.
Another type of basketball net is the pure nylon net with lesser quality. They have a more affordable price point ($8-10), but the lifespan is short and within a month they may start to break.
These are usually seen in use in those basketball hoops that you set up at home—in the garage or on your bedroom door.
One of the most popular choices of basketball nets outdoors is the one made from stainless steel chains.
Steel basketball nets give a street vibe to most players, and it sounds good when you swish a basket. On top of the swag-factor, they are durable and will withstand rain, wind, and snow.
These nets also come with a slightly higher price point around $20-30. They are definitely worth the investment if you are setting up a hoop outside.
Pros and Cons of each type of basketball net
The good thing about the combination of nylon, cotton, and polyethylene, is its durability. The only concern for this type of net is its sustainability in relation to the environment.
The materials used are not biodegradable, and disposing of thousands of them would affect our environment negatively.
Meanwhile, stainless steel chain basketball nets are also durable. However, there are three drawbacks to steel nets:
- First, when it gets tangled, it’s difficult to bring it back to its original form.
- Second, when you lay up and your fingers get caught in the net, chances are you will leave the game with one less digit.
- And lastly, it does get rusty in the long run.
Does a basketball net affect your shot?
A basketball net does not affect your ability to make the shot. However, it controls the course of the ball after it has gone in.
Besides the physical abilities of a basketball net, it also has psychological benefits to the basketball player.
It doesn’t feel just as good if you play basketball without a net. Although if we follow the rules of physics, the net shouldn’t directly affect your shot.
All you need to do is to aim at the rim and shoot. You just don’t hear that swishing sound when you make the shot. Thus, there’s no “nothing but net.”
There’s an optical illusion to a rim without a net. Many players feel like the rim looks smaller without a net.
Therefore, it somewhat affects their shot based on how they think it will go. Since there is no net to go through when you make the shot, then it means there’s no basket.
But net or no net, players should be able to aim the same way.
How do you make a homemade basketball net?
Making your own basketball net is very cost-efficient. Although unless you’re a professional net weaver, expect your homemade basketball net to be less durable than commercial basketball nets.
It is recommended to use nylon strings for starters, as these are more durable than strings made primarily of cotton.
Depending on how you value your time, you’ll quickly surpass that cost, if you try to make your own basketball net.
Thus, in most cases, it doesn’t pay off to give it a shot at a DIY net. Only if you want to make it in your own style (adding fluorescent effects, pearls, or any other artisanal aspect).
If you are up for the challenge, I’ll help you on the way.
How to Make your own Basketball Net at Home
- Find at least 80 feet of a thin nylon rope, a measuring tape, a marker, and a pair of scissors.
- Next, you might need a bare basketball rim or any circular apparatus where you can hang your thin ropes. Make sure that the circular tool is as wide as a basketball rim in diameter. The standard basketball rim is 18 inches in diameter.
- Cut the nylon strings into 80 inches each. It is very important to make sure their lengths are accurately the same.
- Fold a piece of rope evenly right in the middle.
- Hang the rope from the basketball rim or a circular hoop using the center of the rope.
- From the center, measure 10 inches, 19 inches, 27 inches, and 34 inches. Using the marker, place a small but noticeable dot for each measurement.
- Tie the two knots of rope at the 10-inch mark using an overhand double knot.
- Repeat the same method at the 10-inch mark until all the ropes are closed into a loop.
- Repeat the process for the other marked measurements. That way, your net will be wide from the top, gradually narrowing down to the bottom.
- Once done, finally knot the bottom of the ropes with each other. Try to leave as little excess rope as possible, and tug the tips as tight as possible.
- Burn the tips of the rope to avoid it from fraying.
How Far Does a Basketball Net Hang?
On average, a basketball net hangs around 15 to 19 inches from the rim. If a standard basketball rim is 10 feet (3 meters) high, the tip of the net would be between 101 to 105 inches away from the floor.
For some leagues, anything below 101 inches off the ground would be considered too low.
A net that’s too long will not only look off and unprofessional, it may also disturb the players if they have to duck or evade the low hanging net.
In professional and varsity basketball, rims and nets are always aligned to specific standards. This allows the players to get used to set dimensions, so there are no surprises when playing an away game.
For amateurs playing at home or outside, it’s not as important with definitive standards. Although, most kids will prefer the same setup as the professionals—to train on the same kind of rim and net as they do.
Is Touching the Net instead of the Rim still considered Dunking in Basketball?
A dunk, or commonly stated as a slam dunk in basketball, is a type of shot in which a player jumps high into the air and shoots the ball into the hoop in a downward motion (2).
While most basketball shots are attempted with the ball going up before arching down into the rim, dunks are done in a linear motion.
Dunking is encouraged in basketball because it’s the highest shot percentage you can attempt.
A dunk lessens the chance of getting your shot blocked because of the manner in how you put the ball directly into the basket.
It doesn’t matter if you touch the rim or throw it through. Any form of spiking the ball down is considered a dunk.
Some players simply enjoy the dramatic effect it leaves to hang in the rim or net after a slam dunk.
Dunks like these bring further emphasis to the importance of the durability and high quality of basketball nets.
Notable Dunkers in the NBA
Since we’re on the subject of dunking, some of the most popular and exciting players in the NBA all rose to fame because of their ability to dunk.
Players such as Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal have been synonymous with dunking.
The most popular event during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend is the Slam Dunk contest.
Four of the highest flyers in the NBA compete in a showcase of an aerial exhibition to see who the best dunker in the league is every year.
Since the inception of the slam dunk contest in the NBA in 1984, there have been 28 winners of the Slam Dunk contest. Two slam dunk contests (1998 and 1999) did not take place due to different reasons (3).
Nate Robinson has the most NBA Slam Dunk Contest championship trophies with three.
Four other players won the top prize of the event twice. The Atlanta Hawks have the most slam dunk championships and champions. Three players won the title for Atlanta in four different competitions.
Spud Webb is the shortest winner at 5’7, while the tallest is Dwight Howard at 7’0.
List of NBA Slam Dunk Champions
1984 – Larry Nance, Phoenix Suns
1985 – Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta Hawks
1986 – Spud Webb, Atlanta Hawks
1987 – Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
1988 – Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls (2)
1989 – Kenny Walker, New York Knicks
1990 – Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta Hawks (2)
1991 – Dee Brown, Boston Celtics
1992 – Cedric Ceballos, Phoenix Suns
1993 – Harold Miner, Miami Heat
1994 – Isaiah Rider, Minnesota Timberwolves
1995 – Harold Miner, Miami Heat
1996 – Brent Barry, Los Angeles Clippers
1997 – Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
2000 – Vince Carter, Toronto Raptors
2001 – Desmond Mason, Seattle Supersonics
2002 – Jason Richardson, Golden State Warriors
2003 – Jason Richardson, Golden State Warriors (2)
2004 – Fred Jones, Indiana Pacers
2005 – Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks
2006 – Nate Robinson, New York Knicks
2007 – Gerald Green, Boston Celtics
2008 – Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
2009 – Nate Robinson, New York Knicks (2)
2010 – Nate Robinson, New York Knicks (3)
2011 – Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
2012 – Jeremy Evans, Utah Jazz
2013 – Terence Ross, Toronto Raptors
2014 – John Wall, Washington Wizards
2015 – Zach Lavine, Minnesota Timberwolves
2016 – Zach Lavine, Minnesota Timberwolves
2017 – Glenn Robinson III, Indiana Pacers
2018 – Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
2019 – Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City Thunder
2020 – Derrick Jones, Jr. – Miami Heat
On a side note, Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic has the most perfect scores in NBA Slam Dunk contest history.
However, he has never won the title after joining the event three times.
Now you know what a basketball net is commonly made of. You’ve seen a way to make them yourself.
And you’ve also met a couple of players that know how to put the basketball through any kind of net in a downward motion.
Most importantly, the net is a symbol of the sport itself—even though it might seem like a cheap and expendable part of the hoop.
1. Carron Net Company – https://www.carronnet.com/sports-nets-by-sport/basketball/basketball-nets/
2. Slam Dunk in basketball – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slam_dunk#:~:text=A%20slam%20dunk%2C%20also%20simply,both%20hands%20above%20the%20rim
3. Why the NBA didn’t hold the Slam Dunk Contest in 1998 – https://www.thescore.com/nba/news/1486218