2

The NBA key has 4 hash marks on each side. Three are required to separate the three players during a free throw. The fourth is situated close to the third. What is the fourth one for?

  • Looks like it's just to keep the first two lane positions a bit further apart than the width of a line, but I can't find any rationale explicitly stated. – BowlOfRed Dec 19 '19 at 17:00
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There is no stated purpose for requiring four hash marks along the free throw key. In fact, it is up to the arena's discretion for where exactly they are placed. The only requirement involves how far away the hash marks are from the foul line and the baseline.

The NBA rule book states:

Four hash marks shall be drawn (2” wide) parallel to the baseline on each side of the free throw circle. These hash marks shall be 13’ from the baseline and 3’ from the free throw lane lines and shall be 6” in length.

  • Your quote (from 1g) is for the location of the hash marks inside the key,not the marks outside separating the players during a free throw. I believe the question is asking about the markings that are specified in 1b. – BowlOfRed Jan 10 at 9:51

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