ID Basketball

ID Basketball is the version of basketball for athletes with intellectual difficulties. It is part of the Summer Paralympic Games.

It is a team sport with five players from each side on the court at one time, with the rest on the 'bench'. The object of the game is to shoot a ball into a net. The basket is elevated 3.05m (ten feet) above the ground. It is a fast paced game, with lots of running.

Ball sizes are as follows:

Men’s - circumference between 749mm and 780mm, weight between 567g and 650g. 

Women’s - circumference between 724mm and 737mm, weight between 510g and 567g. 

ID Basketball is played on a hard surface (professionally on sprung wooden floors, otherwise whatever is available, including concrete and bitumen). The court is 28m (98.86 feet) by 15m (49.21 feet) divided into two areas by the midcourt line, one for each team, with special goal areas marked out at each end.

During a game the team with possession of the ball is the offence and the other is the defence. The offensive team try to score while the defence try and stop their opponents from scoring and gain possession if the ball. They can stop them by stealing the ball, contesting shots, deflecting passes and catching rebounds off the goal backboard.

A basket is worth two points to a team. The ball is then given to the defending team and they become the offensive team. If a basket is scored from outside the free throw line, it is worth three points. A basket scored during a free throw is worth 1 point.

ID Basketball games are played in four quarters of 10 minutes each, with a two minute break between quarters one and two and between three and four, and a 15 minute half-time break.

There are some differences between ID Basketball and the standard version, including:

A smaller basketball, 72.4 cm (28.5 inches) in circumference and between 510–567 grams (18–20 ounces) in weight may be used for women’s and junior division competition. 

The basket ring is normally 3.05 meters, but a shorter basket which has its ring 2.44 meters (8 feet) above the floor may be used for junior division competition. 

The length of game may be adjusted at the discretion of the competition manager. 

A player may take two steps beyond what is permitted by NGB rules. If these steps allow the player to score, or the player is deemed to have “traveled” or escapes the defense as a result of these additional steps, an advantage has been gained and a violation is called immediately. 

The free throw shooter shall release the ball within 10 seconds from the time it is placed at the shooter’s disposal by one of the officials. 

During frontcourt throw-in, ball can be thrown directly into backcourt. 

Five second closely guarded count only in the front court. 

Two free throws awarded beginning with the seventh team foul in each half. 

Medical devices must be approved prior to competition.


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The following is a list of official ID Basketball events available in the Special Olympics:

Speed Dribble 

Team Skills Basketball 

Individual Skills Competition 

Team Competition 

Half-Court Basketball: 3-on-3 Competition 

Unified Sports® Team Competition 

Unified Sports Half-Court Competition (3-on-3) 

To participate in a game of Basketball, the most important piece of equipment that you will need is a basketball. If you are in the possession of a basketball you are ready to go play basketball. The other equipment that is needed is for your own protection while in a game. These items are basketball shoes or running shoes with good ankle support, a mouth guard, just in case you get accidentally get hit in the face by a flailing elbow and knee and elbow pads in case you get pushed to the ground during play.

The game begins with a player from each team in the centre circle with the referee. The referee will then toss the ball up in the air between the two players. The player who gets the ball then passes it to a team mate. This is known as the tip off.

Before starting a game of basketball, be sure to warm up and stretch your muscles, as this will reduce the possibility of cramp or injury during a game.

When the game is finished also remember to stretch again and warm down as this will help prevent your muscles from locking up and becoming stiff.

Basketball has both health benefits and social nenefits. 

Health Benefits include:

One hour of play burns between 630- 750 calories.

Helps to build endurance, so you last longer in a game.

Helps build up your concentration and self discipline.

Improves Balance and Co-Ordination.

Develops Concentration and Self Discipline.

Builds muscle.

The Social Benefits of Basketball include:

Improves Social Skills.

Teaches you to become a team player.

It's a game for people of all ages.

It's a game that can be played all year round, as it can be played both outdoors and indoors.

And again, we emphasise the importance of stretching before and after a game. 


Buy Basketball gear in the UK and Ireland.

Click here to shop in the UK and Ireland.

Buy Basketball gear in the USA.

Click here to shop in the USA.


If you are looking for books or DVDs on Basketball, clothing, shoes, or equipment, we have them here.  Instead of having to wade through Amazon's huge catalogue, we have created and refined product lists for you.  If you buy items through these links, we will earn a small commission from the sale, and it will be at NO extra cost to you.

You may buy from either shop regardless of your location, but extra delivery charges may apply if international delivery results.



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