Learn about the Interesting History of the 3-Point Shot

Reflections of games through the years, starting from their invention to now, while the essence of the game has been retained, a lot else has changed. The changes might not be on a foundation level, but they have managed to change how the game is played and viewed.

One such addition to basketball is the 3-point shot. The vast and common use of the 3-point shot is credited to the invention of the three-point line, invented in 1979 by the NBA. It was incorporated by the National Basketball Association, NBA, in all their matches. While it was not officially introduced by the NBA, the magnitude of the NBA, its matches, and its influence led to the line’s popularity. Eventually, it gave rise to the 3-point shot’s amalgamation in basketball culture.

This addition has been carried forward, mostly, throughout decades, to date. This gives the 3-point shot a rich history; we will be taking an insightful look into it.

3-Point Shot

Basketball is commonly known as the sport that is best suited for tall-heighted people. This sounds slightly discriminatory. The facts are that short-heighted people have less of an edge while playing the game as compared to tall-heighted people. The 3-point shot was invented to balance it out through the range of different heights.

The three-point goal is shot from across the three-point line in the basketball court, hence the name. The three-point line is an arc, and every successful basket is counted for three points. Normally, the scores between the three-point and one-point line account for two points, while the free throws account for one point.

The distance between the arc and the center of the basket is between 22 and 23 feet, depending on the competition. The NBA specifies it at 23 feet and 9 inches; this is the largest distance between the basket and arc in any basketball competition around the world.

1961: Introduction

The 3-point line’s first use in an expert league date back to 1961 with the American Basketball League. At that time, the ABL was cut short and only lasted 1 ½ season before it folded, so the 3-pointer was quickly forgotten. It took its time getting accepted by the world leagues. The NBA, which had been around since 1946, by no means was serious about it and didn’t even take it into consideration at that time. But when a brand-new league jumped in the competition and rivaled the NBA, became dreamed up in the mid-1960s, the 3-point shot was again brought back into the spotlight.

1967: Three-point shot and the ABA

The ABA, which came out in 1967, differed from the NBA in experimentation with fan-friendly ideas. They started with a three-colored basketball; red, blue, and white, a slam dunk contest, and of course, the 3-point shot. According to the book Loose Balls: The Short, Wildlife of the American Basketball Association, which set down the nine-season stats of the ABA, league organizers had always planned to use the 3-pointer from the very start. Coincidentally, the commissioner of the ABA and a massive proponent of the 3-pointer became George Mikan, a 6-foot-10 NBA legend who in all likelihood would have never shot one at any point of his playing days.

1979: NBA and the three-point shot

However, the NBA wasn’t the primary expert basketball league to introduce the 3-point line. The American Basketball League (ABL) was the first. However, because it shut down in 1963, the American Basketball Association (ABA) is credited for popularizing the 3-factor line. Even after the NBA and the ABA merged in 1976, the 3-point line wasn’t added over. It took good three more years for it to find its space inside the league. NBA persisted with the game’s traditions. The league refused to adopt the 3-pointer till 1979–Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s rookie season. While some university basketball teams started testing it out in the early ’80s, the NCAA didn’t fully commit to it universally till 1986, with high school basketball following in shape 12 months later.


Tall basketball player with the ball sitting on the bleachers

When the NBA brought the 3-pointer in the 1979-1980 season, it had minimum effect on the sport at first. In the primary five seasons, groups took much less than three 3-pointers a game and made a dismal 26% of them. It took some time till the 3-point shot became extensively typical and accepted.

After the NBA moved back the line in 1998, the fashion persevered, and 3-factor tries rose slowly nearly each 12 months until they began to blow up in 2013. In the 2019-20 season, NBA groups took on common 34.1 3-factor tries. That’s nearly double the range of photographs as compared to 14.1 in 2011-12!


The math tells us that scoring one-3rd of your shots from behind the 3-point line is as precise as scoring 1/2 of your shots from in the line. To understand it better: Shooting as many 3s as viable will probably result in a better score. The league took notice, and groups and gamers were observed. Now, 3-pointer moves are so prevalent; fanatics have all started criticizing the league for being oversaturated with them. Critics fear the sport is on the verge of turning dull due to the fact everybody is trying to do the same thing, and there is not much wit to the game. And that’s led a few to marvel whether the NBA need to move the 3-pointer line back.


With the rise in 3-point volume, it’s a make-or-miss league more than ever. Last season, groups gained 67.4% of the games wherein they shot the league average or higher from the 3-point range. That changed into the best such mark in the forty-two years of the 3-pointer line and up from 62.3% in 2015-16.

Talent nevertheless trumps the whole lot in this league. However, it has turned out to be more important than the talented experts who can shoot from 23 feet away or be surrounded by the men who can. The bounce in league-wide 3-pointer rate wasn’t as big as last final season because it changed into the four seasons prior. So perhaps we see a deceleration. And perhaps we’re not. Neither Spoelstra nor Nurse understands what destiny holds, however they’re geared up for anything.