Why Do Some Basketball Hoops Have Double Rims?

By Max Kesler


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double rim basketball hoop

Make your way into an outdoor basketball playground, and chances are, you’ll find yourself looking at thick, durable-looking rims. Take a closer look and you’ll actually see what looks to be two single rims stacked on top of each other.

It is quite different from the thinner variety used for most indoor, wood-tiled courts, which are known as single rim hoops.

There’s a good chance you’ve heard people complain about double rim hoops. That might have you wondering, why do some basketball hoops even have double rims? Are there advantages to using double rims instead of single-rimmed hoops? Let’s take a closer look.

What is a double rim basketball hoop?

Before going any further, let’s define what a double rim basketball hoop is. 

A double rim is a type of basketball hoop rim that is constructed from two single rims piled on top of each other. This is in contrast to most basketball hoops or baskets that feature just a single rim, a piece of round metal roughly ⅝ of an inch in thickness. 

The double rim is slightly thicker and taller than the single rim, roughly double its thickness.

different basketball hoop rim types
Left: Single Rim
Center: Single Rim with tube-tie system
Right: Double Rim

Note: Many rims, including those the NBA has been using since 2009, look like double rims but are actually single rims with a tube tie system. The tube under the rim is thinner than the rim and is used to more neatly attach the net instead of having hooks that poke out.

What is the purpose of a double-rimmed hoop?

There is one definite purpose of a double-rimmed hoop: durability. Hoops with double rims typically last longer than single rims.

In many communities and recreation centers, double-rimmed hoops are deliberately chosen so that they can get more “miles” out of the basketball hoop. These places have fewer resources to maintain the court and are more likely to deal with misbehavior, so a double rim becomes a logical choice.

If the basketball court is located outdoors, then there is all the more reason to use double-rimmed hoops.

Natural elements like rain and snow can cause wear and tear. Dunking and hanging on the rim wears down a basketball hoop over time, so if there are a lot of high flyers in the area, a double rim will last longer. Double rims lend themselves better to ferocious dunks and other extreme play.

In short, not only will they last longer, they can save you money in the long run.

Single rim vs Double rim: Which Do Players Prefer?

The choice between single and double rims has been a constant point of contention among basketball players.

The vast majority of players agree that a single rim is superior for playing basketball. A double rim’s extra thickness creates angles that keep the ball bouncing rather than passing through the basket. As a result, it’s more challenging to make shots on double-rimmed basketball hoops.

Because a single rim allows more rolls and lucky bounces than double rims, shooters generally prefer single-rimmed hoops.

However, there is an argument for preferring double rimmed hoops too. As a double rim makes it harder to shoot, it can force a basketball player to improve their shooting ability, like shooting with a higher shot arc and with better shooting form.

Basically, a standard rim is more forgiving and enjoyable to play with, but playing on a double rim can improve shooting habits and reward good shooters.

Double Rims Tend To Be “Hard”

A common misconception is that the fact extra thickness is what makes a double rim less fun to play on.

But oftentimes, it’s not actually to do with the actual rim itself, but rather, how tightly the rim is affixed to the backboard.

Basketball players often talk about how ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ a rim is. Softer rims are more flexible and have more give. It can make it easier to make shots and rebounds don’t bounce as far and end up too far away from the hoop. Meanwhile, hard rims are stiff and the ball will bounce off the rim with greater speed.

The problem with double rims that people forget is that they are often directly screwed into the backboard. However, higher-end rims have more refined attachments that take pressure off the goal, giving them that softer bounce. Breakaway rims even feature springs that give them even more flex.

The point of all this is that it’s not necessarily the extra thickness that makes a double rim less enjoyable to play on. Rather, it’s the fact they are usually very tightly attached to the backboard giving them a harder bounce.

Does the NBA use double rims?

The NBA does not use double rims, but rather a modified single rim with a “tube-tie net system” designed to prevent players’ fingers from catching the hooks found on old rims. This tube-tie net system gives it a similar appearance to a double-rimmed hoop, but the rim is NOT the same as the dreaded ‘swish or miss’ outdoor double rims.

The league first introduced this new rim design for the 2009-10 season, replacing the previous rim design with net hooks poking out. The new design is safer, and despite being slightly thicker, didn’t impact field goal or free throw shooting percentages.

Do Street Basketball Competitions Use Double Rims?

Given the outdoor nature of street basketball, you might expect them to feature double rim basketball hoops that can endure tougher conditions and outdoor elements.

However, official FIBA 3×3 or Nike 3-on-3 competitions use standard rims like the NBA. Of course, neighborhood pickup games and the like will use whatever hoop is available.

So, Do Rims Really Matter?

If you play basketball, this shouldn’t even be a question. Of course, it does!

Unbeknownst to many, basketball is as much a psychological sport as it is a physical one. Even simple quirks may affect the flow of the game, much less a critical one like the hoop!

So, how does a rim’s makeup alter certain parts of the game? First, let’s talk about rebounding. Anyone in basketball knows that rebounding is an essential ingredient to victory. “The team which controls the rebounds controls the game.”

A rim’s makeup could inherently influence the ball’s bounce and could therefore affect rebounding. A “soft” rim (like most single rims) does not allow long bounces off misses and favors the bigger guys patrolling the paint.

On the other hand, like most double rims, a “hard” rim makes the ball bounce faster and harder. This allows long rebounds and negates the advantages of a taller team. 

Unless you’re playing professionally, it’s none of your business dabbling with the rim materials in your community. You will have to learn to adjust how to play on a single or a double rim. As you watch the first few plays, figure out how the ball bounces off the rim and adapt accordingly.

Final Thoughts

A double-rimmed hoop is a type of rim that features two rims stacked on top of each other. It is a common type of basketball hoop found on outdoor courts and recreational centers. Durability and the ability to withstand abuse are the reasons why they exist.

If you’re a beginner trying to hone your basketball shooting skills, it might be helpful to practice on a double rim basketball hoop. But unless you have plans to become NBA’s next big sharpshooter, practicing on a standard rim with a softer rebound will prepare you better for school, college, or competitive streetball games.

author avatar hoopsbeast
Written by Max Kesler

Max Kesler, a Philly native, is the chief editor at HoopsBeast. He has covered the game at NBA and NCAA levels. He hopes to see his beloved 76ers win a championship soon.

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