History of the Breakaway Basketball Rim
Have you ever wondered how the breakaway basketball rim came to be? Check out this guide to the history of this unique sports equipment and why it's still so important today.
What is a Breakaway Rim?
Because they are now so commonplace and are often viewed as the standard, many people don't know what a breakaway rim is. It's actually a specific type of basketball rim that is able to bend at a slight angle when a player dunks the basketball. When pressure is applied, the rim bends downward to accommodate it. Then, when the pressure is released, the rim snaps back into the horizontal position.
There are several benefits of using this type of rim, including:
- Improved Safety: The possibility of wrist injuries is reduced when using a breakaway rim.
- Better Durability: When used with a breakaway rim, the backboard is less likely to be shattered while someone is dunking.
- Fewer Game Delays: Breakaway rims reduce the chances of a bent rim or a shattered backboard delaying game play.
The Inventor of the Breakaway Rim
The Smithsonian Institution's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation names Arthur Ehrat as the inventor of the breakaway basketball rim. In 1976, his nephew, an assistant basketball coach at Saint Louis University, asked Ehrat to design a special rim that wouldn't distort the rim or shatter the backboard during dunks. Ehrat used a spring from a John Deere cultivator to create a rim that could withstand 125 pounds of force by bending and then snapping back into the original position. His official patent was awarded in 1982.
Use in Official Games
The first use of a breakaway rim in the NCAA occurred during the 1978 Final Four in St. Louis. Over the next several years, the traditional bolted rims were slowly phased out until the NBA made breakaway rims a required equipment upgrade. Today, they are considered an essential for just about all basketball courts, and very few of the old bolted style rims are used.
You can check out a great selection of some of the best breakaway basketball rims when you shop at First Team.