Dear Sean,
I'd like more detailed information on painting lines for a court. How wide are the inside and outside lines, and does the 16' court include the boundary lines or fall within them? Thanks. - John Sisson, 8/25/2008

Thanks for the note, John, this is a great question. It's very timely, as well, since I'm writing the boundaries section of the rule book this week. Here is what I'm writing, you get a sneak peek before it's published.

First let's remind ourselves of the boundary lines and what is in-bounds and out-of-bounds. We work off this "inside out, outside in" principle, which says that the inside lines of the court are out-of-bounds and any player hitting them with the ball is out. The outside lines, however, are considered in-bounds and and balls landing on the outside line is still in play. This means that players can have an 8 foot square where all the surface is playable, in short, the the 16 foot courtside includes the two perpendicular outside lines on each end.

The inside lines are negligible. They should be as thin as possible, even hairline thin, so that the square has as much playable space as possible. The only consideration when painting a thin inside line is to be sure that it is bright or bold or wide enough for visibility. The brighter the better with some players, if you know what I mean.

We typically make all the lines of the court 1-inch thick, coincidentally the same width as a roll of blue painter's masking tape, which our tape of choice for not destroying the finish on basketball floors.

Btw, where in the world do you happen to be painting courts? If you need any confirmed champions to come out and dedicate or christen the court with you, we have agents all over the country and could probably work something out. Good luck and stay in touch!