Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why are all backboards not compatible?

I have heard this question hundreds of times over the past 13 years.  Aren’t all backboards universal?  That is, why can’t I simply by a replacement backboard and expect it to work on my basketball system?  You would think that they would be universal.  After all, that would make everyone’s lives a little bit simpler.  The answer is a little bit more complicated, however.  Because different manufacturers hold different patents the designs are of necessity different.  A Spalding backboard will not mount on your existing Lifetime brand pole.  Your Lifetime backboard will not meant on your huffy pole and so on and so forth.  This can make it complicated in choosing the correct backboard.  To further complicate things a lot of people’s backboards and brackets and poles were manufactured by a small company or by an individual in their shop reducing the chance of any backboard being compatible.  Let me go over a few scenarios with you.

Question: I have an existing Lifetime basketball system.  What are my options for replacements?
Answer: Fortunately, Lifetime is a large and growing company.  They have many replacements available.  Can you simply purchase any backboard that has a Lifetime logo and expected to work?  For the most part, yes.  If your pole is 3.5 inches in diameter and your pole is round (not square) and if your pole is less than 10 years old, then you are in luck.  Any lifetime brand backboard and rim combo would be compatible.  But, if your pole is 4 inches square then that is a different story.  In that case there is nobody online or in store that provides a replacement for your system.  You have one option and that is to contact the manufacturer for a replacement at (800)-225-3865 their email is and their site is  The 4 inch square pole means that your brackets and backboard are rare, that upgraded bread.  It also means your replacement will be much more expensive I’m sorry to say.  You simply have a nicer backboard and you get what you pay for.  If your pole is older than 10 years you may have an older design that will not work with the backboards Lifetime currently makes.  That’s okay, no need to panic.  You would still end up ordering one of the new boards, but you would need two little brackets available through the manufacturer’s customer service at a cheap price.
Question: I have an existing huffy or Spalding basketball system.  What are my options for replacements?
Answer: that’s a great question and I will try to make my answer is simple as possible.  Most Spalding and huffy backboards (they are the same company) are interchangeable.  There are hundreds of different models over the years and it would be a shame to purchase something only to return it.  The best place to start is by calling Spalding’s customer service at (800)-558-5234 and their site is  They will ask you some questions about what you have and then will tell you what your options are.  Do we carry the replacement spalding or huffy board?  Most likely we do.  Call them, grab the model number you need, and check out our prices.
Question: I do not have an existing basketball system.  I only have an upright pole sticking out of the ground – it’s completely vertical and stripped down with no hardware or brackets.  What are my options as far as replacement backboards are concerned?
Answer: This is a fun prospect.  It’s always fun to see somebody restore a broken down basketball system where children and adults can play one of the greatest games invented.  You’ll need to start by measuring the diameter of your pole.  If your pole is 3 ½ inches in diameter, then you have many options.  The most popular option people choose for their home is not the most or least expensive.  The option lies in the middle of the road.  Before I tell you what they are let me emphasize that you need not only a backboard and rim, but you need brackets to attach it to your existing pole.  The most popular model over the last 10 years is designed by Lifetime model 73729 48” and the corresponding mounting brackets model 1044 adjustable.  Your set and that was easy.  What if, however, your pole is 4 inches square?  If you have a 4 inch square pole, then you have got a pole that is larger than the average pole you see in most driveways.  And you’re in luck.  You’ll want to consider Spalding’s 79564 54” and the corresponding brackets 316 U-turn.  You do not need to drill in any holes in any of these options.  They simply use u-bolts that wrap around the back. 
Question: I have a driveway and no pole or basketball system whatsoever.  I would like to attach something to my garage wall or to the roof of my garage.  What options do I have?
Answer: You have a lot of options.  You can go with something that is very simple and inexpensive or you can go with something more professional with some more professional price tag.  Let me begin by explaining what you would need for a wall mount to attach it to wall.  When I say wall I mean any wall.  You can attach inside a home, outside a schoolyard, or on the garage.  You simply need to make sure you have support on wall such as 2x4 studs behind them to properly hold the backboard and brackets.  You will need brackets to attach a backboard to the wall.  There are three Brands that are worth checking out.  The most popular is the Lifetime brand, then follows Spalding, and then Goalsetter.  Lifetime has decent backboards.  They’re the least expensive and the quality is fantastic.  You would start by asking yourself whether you need something that is fixed in height or Adjustable-Height.  Then, you determine what size aboard you want.  The most popular combination is model 73729 and either the Lifetime adjustable brackets 1044 or the Lifetime Fixed-Height brackets 9594.  If you need something that is a bit of a step up and you are willing to pay a little more I personally would suggest the Spalding option 79564 backboard and the 316 brackets.  That is a beautiful set up and it plays even better than it looks.  
Lastly, the nicest option available is made by Goalsetter.  And they have many options from as small as 48” backboards up to regulation 72” backboards.  They also have fixed and adjustable brackets.  May I suggest their most popular option the gs72ga?  That option is a very high-end and is seen more commonly in schools and churches.  You do see them from time to time on larger homes though. 

More questions: Please let me know.  

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