Why Was the 3-Point Line Created in the NBA?

For the last four decades, the NBA has utilized the 3-point line in various ways. It has been a significant factor in shaping the game, which has evolved into being centered on the shot. But has the very existence of the 3-point shot crossed your mind of why the NBA adopted that shot? Here is a bit of the background on the history of how that came to be.

When it was the 3-point shot introduced?

In the first 30 years of the league before the NBA-ABA merger in the 1976-77 season, there hadn’t been any use of the 3-point line.

That saw the teams in the NBA compete without that idea being broached. However, the first-ever use of it in any professional league dated back in 1961 when the American Basketball League experiment with it for 11/2 seasons.

It was an idea that never truly gathered any sort of traction in the early of the league’s history. However, the introduction of the American Basketball Association in 1967 did bring some attention back to the idea. This was a part of the game that the NBA didn’t choose to embrace even with ABA using it in their decade of existence before the merger.

The two leagues merged in 1976 with the four teams in the New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets, and San Antonio Spurs, and Indiana Pacers joining the NBA. However, the 3-point shot wasn’t introduced until three years later.

3-point shot introduced and adjusted

The NBA didn’t cave in to use the 3-point shot until the 1979-80 season, which had the initial distance of 22 feet in the corners and 23.75 feet from behind the top of the key. Washington Bullets Kevin Grevey had the honor of making the first-ever shot from distance.

The year it was introduced also happened to be the rookie year for both Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. It was a major adjustment period for the NBA as the first three decades saw them play the game without the shot.

That brought forth a critical change to the game as it initially got pushback from the coaches around the league. It meant a philosophical change to the game planning that changed the offensive and defensive schemes to how the shot would be utilized. The players also had to train differently by including practicing taking 3-point shots in their workout regimen and drills.

Some of the game’s greatest players such as Bird, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, and Stephen Curry became marksmen from deep in their respective careers. It put forth an entirely new feel to the game and helped push it along to what it has become today where shooting beyond the arc is vital to team’s success.

3-Point Evolution

\Over the years, the use of the 3-point line has continued to increase. It has been a part of the game that many teams have utilized in higher degrees over the years.

It began to pick up with the Steve Nash-led Phoenix Suns under head coach Mike D’Antoni in the mid-2000s. It has truly gained steam in the previous five years with the dominance that the Golden State Warriors had behind their highly talented backcourt Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson leading the charge under head coach Steve Kerr.

Their tremendous amount of success led to the game plans around the league to further emphasize the use of the 3-point shot in the offense with an all-time record of 33.8 attempts from beyond the arc averaged per game for each team this season.

The 3-point shot has become a vital part of today’s game and doesn’t look like that will change any time soon.