Why do basketball hoops have nets?

To make every shot count. Basketball nets have a slight funnel shape so that they flutter when the ball passes through them. The fluttering lets players, fans, and referees know when the ball actually went into the basket.

The purpose of the net is to simply make it easier for players, officials and fans to tell when the ball has passed through the rim. If a ball sails through a net-less rim it might look like an “air ball” or missed shot. The NBA and NCAA rules both state that the net “shall be constructed to check the ball momentarily as it passes through the basket.” This means that the net must be tight enough that the ball pushes its way through, giving a clear visual indicator that a basket has been scored.


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