Half court is a term used in basketball for the middle line of the basketball court. A shot taken from half court, referred to as a half court shot, is a shot taken from beyond the line at center circle. It is most commonly used as a buzzer beater. It is also a streetball term where the teams only use half of the full court. The most common backcourt shot style is known as "the Runner". If the shooter has a few seconds to spare, "the Runner" can be used to shorten the distance to the rim while also adding extra power to the shot. Other backcourt shot styles include: "the Sheed" (named after Rasheed Wallace); "the Contested Prayer"; and "the Zoran". Since an NBA game court is 94 feet long, the midcourt line is 47 feet away from each baseline.
Half court shots are widely considered to be the lowest percentage shot in basketball. Collectively, NBA players try shots from beyond half-court a few hundred times each season; approximately 1 in 100 of those shots are made. A half-court shot is attempted roughly 25 percent of the time to finish the first, second or third quarter; though, its much rarer in the fourth. In some instances, NBA players will intentionally avoid shooting a half court shot before the buzzer. Such players are more interested in protecting their field goal percentage than providing an opportunity (though unlikely) for the team to acquire 3 more points. Since field goal percentage is accounted for during contract negotiations, some players think it is an intelligent business decision to refuse to toss a low percentage shot at the rim. As a result, some believe that half court shots should not be included in field goal percentage.
Andre Miller may have attempted over his career the most half court shots of any player. During his first 13 seasons in the NBA, Miller went 3-for-102 from beyond half court. Jason Williams and Andre Miller each attempted 12 half court shots in 2001. Take the half court misses away and Miller’s three-point percentage goes from roughly 26 to 32%.
The record for most half-court shots made in a single NBA season - by all NBA players combined - was set in the 2014 season at 13. The longest successful shot in NBA history was 89 feet by Baron Davis on February 17, 2001. He shot it with 0.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter as a defender closely guarded him. Baron Davis is the only player to have hit a shot from at least 85 feet in a game; since the year 2000, it has been attempted at least a total of 40 times. During his career, Baron Davis went 2-for-43 from beyond half court.
2010 and 2012 are the only NBA seasons when two half court shots were made on the same night.
During Jason Kidd's career, he has made 4 of 44 (roughly 10%) from beyond half-court.
Notable half-court shots
- In November 2013, Harlem Globetrotters Thunder set the Guinness World Record for longest basketball shot at 109 feet 9 inches
- Harlem Globetrotters Thunder has the Guinness World Record for longest backward shot at 82 feet 2 inches
- Vince Carter entered the Guinness Book of World Records for hitting an 86-foot shot while sitting down. A week earlier, Dwight Howard set the record by making the shot at 52 feet and 6 inches.
- The current record holder for most half-court shots in a minute is Green Bay point guard Eric Valentin, with eight shots scored in 60 seconds. Though, a kid named Adam Beatrice has released a video of him making ten half-court shots in a minute.
- On January 22, 2010, during a winter sports pep rally, students of Olathe Northwest High School wanted to play a prank on coach Joel Branstrom, a former University of Kansas walk-on, and promised him tickets of the Final Four game if he scores a shot from half court while blindfolded - the catch was that the crowd was instructed to cheer regardless whether he scored the shot or not. Branstrom did, however, score the shot. The students didn't have any tickets to offer. It was widely reported in the media; while filming a teaser for WDAF-TV, reporter Rob Low jokingly attempted to recreate the shot by standing in the same court with his back to the hoop and throwing the ball - he also scored the shot, much to his surprise. According to Low, when he later interviewed Branstrom, and asked him to repeat the blindfolded feat, he, again, scored it. Branstrom attended the 2010 NCAA Men’s Final Four as a guest of the NCAA.
- In 2014, during an out-of-game competition, Fresno State's Guard Cezar Guerrero made five consecutive half-court shots.
- During a half-court shooting contest in the West All-Star Game Practice, Stephen Curry hit three half-court shots in a row.
- Jason Gibbons successfully completed three consecutive no-look half-court shots, which is currently the record for the most no-look half-court shots in a row.
- Harlem Globetrotter Buckets Blakes has the Guinness World record for most underhanded half-court shots made in one minute, dropping 6.
- Harlem Globetrotter Big Easy Lofton has the Guinness World record for farthest basketball hook shot made at 61 feet 4 inches.
- Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer set the record for the farthest behind the back shot, which he made at half-court. Previously, Guinness Book of World Record recognized Kenneth Sorvang of Norway with the farthest behind-the-back shot at 23 feet 9 inches.
NBA half-court statistics
|Baron Davis||89||Feb. 17, 2001||Charlotte Bobcats||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Norm Van Lier||84||Jan. 19, 1977||Chicago Bulls||San Antonio Spurs|
|LeBron James||83||Jan. 3, 2007||Cleveland Cavaliers||Boston Celtics|
|Herb Williams||81||Jan. 8, 1986||Indiana Pacers||Sacramento Kings|
|Zoran Planinic||77||Nov. 9, 2005||New Jersey Nets||Utah Jazz|
- Kansas high school coach on Road to the Final Four, The NCAA News, January 28, 2010
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