Sign up
Title:
Basketball hoop system
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present specification describes sporting equipment methods and apparatus that may be used for basketball, and may be particularly useful for height adjustment. One aspect of the novel basketball standard relates to a mechanism for adjusting the height of the basketball hoop. The adjustment mechanism may be cable driven, and all or most of the adjustment mechanism may be located internal to a support pole of the basketball standard. In contrast, conventional adjustable basketball standards are not cable driven and often include many exposed moving parts.


Inventors:
Moller Jr., Jorgen J. (Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/178149
Publication Date:
01/11/2007
Filing Date:
07/08/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B63/08
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
L. Grant Foster;HOLLAND & HART LLP (P.O. Box 8749, Denver, CO, 80201, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sporting equipment apparatus, comprising: a support pole; a backboard; an adjustment assembly connected between the backboard and the support pole; a hoop attached to the backboard; an adjustment cable attached to the adjustment assembly and extending through an interior of the support pole.

2. A sporting equipment apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a winch attached to the support pole and connected to the adjustment cable.

3. A sporting equipment apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a winch disposed inside the support pole and connected to the adjustment cable.

4. A sporting equipment apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a winch attached to the support pole and connected to the adjustment cable, the winch comprising: a cable spool having a first gear; a worm gear meshed with the first gear of the cable spool.

5. A sporting equipment apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a winch attached to the support pole and connected to the adjustment cable, the winch comprising: a cable spool having a first gear mounted to support pole; a worm gear meshed with the first gear of the cable spool; a hand crank attached to the worm gear.

6. A sporting equipment apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a winch attached to the support pole and connected to the adjustment cable, the winch comprising: a cable spool having a first gear mounted to support pole; a worm gear meshed with the first gear of the cable spool; a motor driving the worm gear.

7. A sporting equipment apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a stationary anchor disposed in a ground location and extending up from the ground, wherein the support pole is disposed over the anchor.

8. A sporting equipment apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a pulley disposed at a top portion of the support pole, wherein the adjustment cable extends from the adjustment assembly, around the pulley, through the interior of the support pole, and to a winch.

9. A sporting equipment apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the adjustment assembly comprises a four-bar mechanism capable of curvilinearly translating the backboard and the hoop.

10. A basketball standard assembly, comprising: a basketball backboard; a basketball hoop for attachment to the backboard; a support pole; a basketball hoop adjustment assembly, the basketball hoop adjustment assembly comprising a cable drive mechanism.

11. A basketball standard assembly according to claim 10, further comprising an anchor for at least partial subterranean insertion, the anchor being receptive of the support pole.

12. A basketball standard assembly according to claim 10 wherein the cable drive mechanism comprises a cable extending internally though the support pole.

13. A basketball standard assembly according to claim 10 wherein the cable drive mechanism comprises: an internal cable; a cable spool comprising an edge gear mounted to the support pole; a worm gear meshed with the edge gear of the cable spool; a hand crank attached to the worm gear.

14. A basketball standard assembly according to claim 10 wherein the cable drive mechanism comprises: an internal cable; an external cable spool comprising an edge gear mounted to the support pole; an external worm gear meshed with the edge gear of the cable spool; a hand crank attached to the worm gear; a first internal cable pulley attached to a top portion of the support pole; a second internal cable pulley attached to the support pole adjacent to the external cable spool.

15. A basketball standard assembly according to claim 10 wherein the cable drive mechanism comprises: an internal cable; a motorized cable spool mounted to the support pole.

16. A method of constructing a basketball standard, comprising: providing a support pole; inserting an anchor pole into the ground; receiving the support pole by the anchor pole; attaching a basketball backboard and hoop to the support pole.

17. A method of constructing a basketball standard according to claim 16 wherein the receiving the support pole by the anchor pole comprises disposing the support pole over the anchor pole concentrically.

18. A method of constructing a basketball standard according to claim 16, further comprising: providing a cable drive system for adjusting the basketball backboard and hoop relative to the support pole.

19. A method of constructing a basketball standard according to claim 16, further comprising: providing a cable drive system for adjusting the basketball backboard and hoop relative to the support pole, the providing a cable drive system comprising running a cable inside of the support pole.

20. A method of making a basketball standard, comprising: providing a support pole; attaching a winch and a first pulley to the support pole; extending a cable around the first pulley, through the support pole, and to the winch; attaching a backboard and hoop to the support pole.

21. A method of making a basketball standard according to claim 20, further comprising: partially burying an anchor in the ground; concentrically attaching the support pole to the anchor.

22. A method of making a basketball standard according to claim 20, further comprising: burying a flared anchor to a depth of at least two feet; leaving at least two feet of the flared anchor above grade; disposing the support pole over the anchor.

23. A method of using a basketball standard, comprising: adjusting a height of a basketball hoop, the adjusting comprising: actuating a cable extending through a basketball hoop support pole.

24. A method of using a basketball standard according to claim 23 wherein the actuating a cable comprises rotating a hand crank attached to a worm gear, the worm gear driving a cable spool.

25. A method of using a basketball standard according to claim 23 wherein the actuating a cable comprises turning on an electrically powered winch which is attached to the cable.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to sports systems, including in particular basketball hoop systems.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The game of basketball is played and enjoyed by people of all ages. The popularity of the game has led many people to install basketball standards near their homes. A regulation basketball standard generally includes a hoop mounted to a backboard and elevated from a playing surface to a height of ten feet. While most adults can play comfortably with the hoop elevated to ten feet, many children do not possess the physical ability to successfully shoot a basketball through a ten foot hoop. Children playing basketball with a regulation hoop can become frustrated due to their inability to successfully shoot the basketball into the hoop. The frustration can lead to a loss of interest in the game.

Therefore, various basketball standards including adjustable height rims have been developed. Adults and children alike enjoy playing on a basketball standard having a lower hoop. Depending on the physical capabilities and intents of the players, the hoop may need to be lowered a few inches or several feet.

Building a basketball standard that can be adjusted to various heights involves consideration of a number of factors. One significant issue is providing a support structure that is sufficient to adequately bear the weight posed by a typical backboard assembly. In addition to the weight posed by these materials, the entire structure must be strong enough to bear the rigors of extended use, including repeated dunking of a basketball and the hanging of a player from the rim that is often associated with the adjustable height hoops. Further, the backboard of the basketball assembly must remain substantially perpendicular to the playing surface regardless of the height at which it is set. In order to address these concerns, conventional adjustable standards often include linkage assemblies capable of maintaining the perpendicular relationship between the backboard and the playing surface over a range of heights, while also supporting the weight associated with the standard. In one typical configuration, a four bar linkage is pinned to the basketball backboard at one end, pinned to a support device at an intermediate location, and extends at a distal end beyond the support device to provide a section that can be raised or lowered. An operator typically raises or lowers the hoop by applying leverage to the portion extending beyond the support device to cause the linkage assembly to pivot or rotate relative to the support device.

While conventional adjustable standards have been developed, some of the resulting linkage assemblies are problematic in a number of aspects. One problem is that the linkages present pinch or crushing hazards due to the exposed linkages, braces, pivot points, etc. An operator can inadvertently place a hand or finger in these exposed areas and have the hand or finger become crushed or pinched under the weight of the backboard and linkage assemblies. This hazard is of particular concern for children.

In addition to presenting safety hazards, conventional linkage assemblies provided on adjustable height standards are often too high for children and some adults to easily reach. Conventional adjustable height standards may also be equipped with elaborate, complex mechanisms which an operator uses to adjust the height of the standard. These mechanisms are often difficult to operate and include numerous moving components that are left exposed to operators. The exposed moving components can lead to even more potentially hazardous pinch or crush points.

As a result, devices and methods for height adjustable basketball standards that present an aesthetically pleasing appearance, are quickly and easily adjustable through a wide range of heights, and that reduce potentially dangerous pinch or crush points to endanger operators continue to be sought.

Further, conventional basketball standards can generally be categorized as portable or permanent. Portable systems are generally less robust than permanent systems. Portable systems may wobble or shift during play. To provide stabilizing support to the system, the base of many conventional portable basketball goal systems are weighted. For example, the base may include a ballast cavity, which can be filled with water or sand. The weighted base can sometimes stabilize the system during light to moderate play conditions, but typically fails to provide adequate support during heavier play conditions. Due to shifting of the base during extreme play, total failure of the system is unlikely but the shifting can be frustrating to the players during play of the game.

Permanent systems are often bolted to the ground and offer more stability than portable systems. However, permanent installations can be costly and difficult to install. Therefore, permanent systems continue to be sought and developed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The principles described herein may be followed to provide a basketball standard that is easy to assemble and simple to adjust to various heights. According to one embodiment of the present invention, a sporting equipment apparatus is disclosed. The sporting equipment apparatus comprises a support pole, a backboard, an adjustment assembly connected between the backboard and the support pole, a hoop attached to the backboard, and an adjustment cable attached to the adjustment assembly and extending through an interior of the support pole. A winch may be attached to the support pole and connected to the adjustment cable. The winch may be disposed inside of the support pole. The winch may comprise a cable spool having a first gear, and a worm gear meshed with the first gear of the cable spool. A hand crank may be attached to the worm gear. A motor may drive the worm gear and/or the first gear.

According to some embodiments, the sporting equipment apparatus comprises a stationary anchor disposed in a ground location and extending up from the ground. The support pole may be disposed over the anchor.

Some embodiments of the sporting equipment apparatus further comprise a pulley disposed at a top portion of the support pole. The adjustment cable may thus extend from the adjustment assembly, around the pulley, through the interior of the support pole, and to a winch. The adjustment assembly may comprise a four-bar mechanism capable of curvilinearly translating the backboard and the hoop.

Another embodiment of the invention provides a basketball standard assembly. The basketball standard assembly may comprise a basketball backboard, a basketball hoop for attachment to the backboard, a support pole, and a basketball hoop adjustment assembly. The basketball hoop adjustment assembly comprises a cable drive mechanism. The basketball standard assembly may further comprise an anchor for at least partial subterranean insertion, the anchor being receptive of the support pole. The cable drive mechanism may comprise a cable extending internally though the support pole. The cable drive mechanism may further comprise a cable spool comprising an edge gear mounted to the support pole, a worm gear meshed with the edge gear of the cable spool, and a hand crank attached to the worm gear. The cable drive mechanism may also comprise an internal cable, an external cable spool comprising an edge gear mounted to the support pole, an external worm gear meshed with the edge gear of the cable spool, a hand crank attached to the worm gear, a first internal cable pulley attached to a top portion of the support pole, and a second internal cable pulley attached to the support pole adjacent to the external cable spool. According to some embodiments, the cable drive mechanism comprises an internal cable and a motorized cable spool mounted to the support pole.

Another aspect of the invention provides a method of constructing a basketball standard. The method comprises providing a support pole, inserting an anchor pole into the ground, receiving the support pole by the anchor pole, and attaching a basketball backboard and hoop to the support pole. Receiving the support pole by the anchor pole may comprise disposing the support pole over the anchor pole concentrically. The method may further comprise providing a cable drive system for adjusting the basketball backboard and hoop relative to the support pole. Providing the cable drive system may comprise running a cable inside of the support pole.

Another aspect of the invention provides a method of making a basketball standard. The method comprises providing a support pole, attaching a winch and a first pulley to the support pole, extending a cable around the first pulley, through the support pole, and to the winch, and attaching a backboard and hoop to the support pole. The method may further comprise partially burying an anchor in the ground, and concentrically attaching the support pole to the anchor. The method may include burying a flared anchor to a depth of at least two feet, leaving at least two feet of the flared anchor above grade, and disposing the support pole over the anchor.

Another aspect of the invention provides a method of using a basketball standard. The method comprises adjusting a height of a basketball hoop. The adjusting comprises actuating a cable extending through a basketball hoop support pole. Actuating the cable may comprise rotating a hand crank attached to a worm gear, the worm gear driving a cable spool. Actuating a cable may also comprise turning on an electrically powered winch which is attached to the cable.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings illustrate various embodiments of the present invention and are a part of the specification. The illustrated embodiments are merely examples of the present invention and do not limit the scope of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a basketball standard according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a rear assembly view of basketball standard of FIG. 1 according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the basketball standard of FIG. 1 with an internal winch according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a side view of a basketball standard with an external winch according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a detailed perspective view of the winch of FIGS. 1 and 2 according to one embodiment of the present invention.

Throughout the drawings, identical reference numbers designate similar, but not necessarily identical, elements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present specification describes sporting equipment methods and apparatus that may be used for basketball, and may be particularly useful for height adjustment. One aspect of the novel basketball standard relates to a mechanism for adjusting the height of the basketball hoop. The adjustment mechanism may be cable driven, and all or most of the adjustment mechanism may be located internal to a support pole of the basketball standard. In contrast, conventional adjustable basketball standards are not cable driven and often include many exposed moving parts.

Another aspect of the novel basketball standard relates to anchoring the system. The novel anchoring system facilitates robust and easy installation of the basketball standard. A simple anchor may be installed that is receptive of the support pole and other components. Previous permanent basketball standards generally require the installation of the support pole directly, and the support pole can be large, bulky, and difficult to handle as it is mounted in the ground. The simple anchor taught herein can be more easily handled and plumbed.

Accordingly, the specification describes various aspects of the invention according to the following order. First, embodiments of a basketball standard are shown and described. Second, embodiments of an anchoring system are disclosed. Third, methods of assembling and using embodiments of the basketball standard and anchoring system are described.

As used in this specification and the appended claims, the term “winch” is used broadly to encompass any apparatus that is used for hoisting or hauling or moving, which has a drum or spool around which a cable, rope, chain, or other filament is at least partially wound or attached. A “winch” may be motor-driven or hand powered. The words “including” and “having,” as used in the specification, including the claims, shall have the same meaning as the word “comprising.”

As mentioned above, a number of developments related to basketball standard technology, and particularly adjustable height basketball standards, have recently occurred. While there are many different options available, conventional basketball standards have traditionally not provided the combination of safety, strength, adjustability, and ease of use offered by principles of the present invention. Further, conventional basketball standards can be very difficult to permanently mount while ensuring that the standard is plumb. The methods and apparatus described herein include various devices that offer many advantages over conventional basketball standards. The particular implementations, however, are exemplary in nature, and not limiting.

Turning now to the figures, and in particular to FIGS. 1-3, one embodiment of a sporting equipment apparatus, and in particular a basketball standard 100, is shown according to principles of the present invention. The basketball standard 100 comprises a support pole 102 made of structural material such as steel. The support pole 102 may have a generally rectangular or square cross section as shown, or it may have any other cross-sectional shape. The support pole 102 is generally vertical as shown in FIGS. 1-3.

An adjustment assembly 104 is attached to the support pole 102 and interconnects the support pole 102 and a basketball backboard 106. The adjustment assembly 104 comprises a four bar mechanism and includes a first or upper arm 108 and a second or lower arm 110. Each of the first and second arms 108, 110 comprises structural materials such as steel. The first and second arms 108, 110 are generally Y-shaped and comprise a forked pillar 112 and diverging branches 114. The forked pillars 112 of each of the first and second arms 108, 110 are pinned or hingedly connected to the support pole 102. The support pole 102 may include first and second journals 116, 118 (FIG. 2) attached to an outer surface or rear surface 120 (FIG. 2) of the support pole 102. The first and second journals 116, 118 are receptive of first and second pins or bolts 122, 124 (FIG. 3), respectively. The first and second pins 122, 124 extend through first and second sets of holes 126, 128 (FIG. 2) in the first and second arms 108, 110, respectively, and attach the adjustment assembly 104 to the support pole 102. The second arm 110 may include a cross-member 130 extending between the forked pillar 112. In addition, the second arm 110 may include a cable attachment ring 132 at or near a transition between the forked pillar 112 and the diverging branches 114. The attachment ring 132 may be located at other positions as well.

The diverging branches 114 of each of the first and second arms 108, 110 are pinned or hingedly connected to the backboard 106. Accordingly, pins 134, 136 (FIG. 3) (and another similar or identical set of pins opposite the view shown in FIG. 3) may extend through holes 138, 140 (FIG. 2) in the first and second arms 108, 110 and the backboard 106, respectively. The double-hinge connection between the backboard 106 and the support pole 102 via the adjustment assembly 104 facilitates curvilinear translation of the backboard 106. Moreover, a rim or hoop 142 is attached to the backboard 106, and is likewise capable of curvilinear translation—rather than rotation—relative to support pole 102. Accordingly, as the first and second arms 108, 110 pivot relative to both the support pole 102 and the backboard 106, each of the backboard 106 and the hoop 142 tends to maintain its orientation relative to the ground. Therefore, if the support pole 102 is plumb to the ground, at any position of the first and second arms 108, 110, the angle of the backboard 106 tends to remain perpendicular to the ground, and the hoop 142 tends to remain parallel to the ground. Nevertheless, the cross-member 130 of the second arm 110 may limit the upper and/or lower travel extents of the adjustment assembly 104 and thus the backboard 106 and hoop 142. The cross-member 130 may contact the support pole 102 as shown in FIG. 1 at a lower extent of the adjustment assembly 104.

According to some aspects of the invention, the adjustment assembly 104 and thus the backboard 106 and hoop 142 are adjusted by a cable drive mechanism. The cable drive mechanism may include a winch 144 and an adjustment cable 146. The adjustment cable 146 is attached at a first end 148 to the adjustment assembly 104. According to the embodiment of FIGS. 1-3, the first end 148 of the adjustment cable 146 is attached to the cable attachment ring 132. The adjustment cable 146 extends from the attachment ring 132 into and through an interior of the support pole 102. A second end 149 of the adjustment cable 146 is attached to and partially wound on the winch 144. A first pulley 150 attached at a top portion 152 of the support pole 102 may smoothly redirect the adjustment cable 146 from its connection to the adjustment assembly 104 through the interior of the support pole 102. The first pulley 150 may be disposed partially or completely within the support pole 102. According to the embodiment of FIGS. 1-3, the first pulley 150 is rotatably attached to the support pole 102 by a pin 154 (FIG. 3) extending through the support pole 102 and the first pulley 150.

The adjustment assembly 104 may be raised and lowered via the adjustment cable 146 by operating the winch 144. The winch 144 is shown in detail in FIG. 5 and is attached or mounted to the support pole 102. The winch 144 may be located inside of or interior to the support pole 102 as shown in FIGS. 1-3, or outside of the support pole as shown in FIG. 4. According to embodiments wherein the winch 144 is located interior to the support pole 102, the basketball standard 100 may be especially aesthetically pleasing and may have fewer exposed components. As shown in FIG. 5, some embodiments of the winch 144 include a cable spool 156. The adjustment cable 146 may wind and unwind from the cable spool 156 to adjust the height of the backboard 106 and the hoop 142 (FIG. 1). The cable spool 156 may be actuated by any convenient mechanism. However, according to some embodiments, the cable spool 156 may include a first or edge gear 158. The edge gear 158 may be meshed with a transverse mating worm gear 160. The worm gear 160 may be attached to a hand crank 162 for manual operation of the winch 144. According to FIGS. 1-3, the worm gear 160 and the cable spool 156 and edge gear 158 are located inside of the support pole 102. The hand crank 162 is attached via a fastener 164 to the worm gear 160 according to FIG. 5, but the hand crank 162 and the worm gear 160 could also comprise a unitary piece. The worm gear 160 facilitates precise rotation the cable spool 156 and thus precise adjustment of the height of the basketball hoop 142 (FIG. 1). The transverse worm gear 160 may also eliminate any need for a locking mechanism on the cable spool 156 to prevent unwanted rotation.

Some embodiments of the winch 144 may include a motor such as electric motor 166 (FIG. 2) coupled to the worm gear 160 or the cable spool 156. The electric motor 166 may be in addition to or in place of the hand crank 162. The electric motor 166 may operate to rotate the worm gear 160 or the cable spool 156 to wind and unwind the adjustment cable 146 and change the height of the hoop 142.

As mentioned above, the winch 144 may be located inside or outside of the support pole 102. The embodiment of FIGS. 1-3 shows the winch 144 located primarily inside of the support pole 102 and may protect some or all of the winch components from exposure. However, the hand crank 162 extends outside of the support pole 102 for convenient user access. Nevertheless, the embodiment of FIG. 4 shows the winch 144 mounted outside of the support pole 102. The embodiment of FIG. 4 includes a second pulley 168 attached inside of the support pole 102 adjacent to the cable spool 156. Therefore, whether the winch 144 is mounted primarily inside or outside the support pole 102, the adjustment cable 146 may run primarily through the interior of the support pole 102.

According to principles described below, the basketball standard 100 may be mounted to the ground more simply and conveniently than previous systems. For example, referring again to FIG. 1, the basketball standard 100 may include an anchor or anchor pole 170 that may be installed separately and independent of the support pole 102. The anchor 170 is a structural member that may be made of steel or other structural material. The anchor 170 has a cross sectional shape similar to the cross sectional shape of the support pole 102. However, the anchor 170 is sized to receive the support pole 102 internally or externally. According to the embodiment of FIG. 1, the anchor 170 has a cross section that is slightly smaller than the cross section of the support pole 102. Therefore, the support pole 102 may slidingly fit over the anchor 170 as shown in FIG. 1. The support pole 102 and the anchor 170 may be concentric as shown in FIG. 1.

The anchor 170 may include a flared end 172 for enhanced support. The anchor 170 may extend into the ground a distance of one to four feet, or about three feet. However, the anchor also extends up from the ground at least about one to three feet, or about two feet. The anchor 170 can be installed and plumbed independent of the assembly of the support pole 102, adjustment assembly 104, backboard 106, and hoop 142. The anchor 170 is much easier to work with and plumb than a full basketball standard, or even just a support pole. When the anchor 170 is properly set, the support pole 102 can slide easily over the anchor 102. One or more set screws 172 may extend through the support pole 102 and to the anchor 170 to assure relative positioning between the anchor 170 and the support pole 102.

The basketball standard 100 may be installed with the anchor 170 for home or commercial use. According to some aspects of the invention, a hole is formed in the ground, and the hole may be at least twenty-four inches in diameter and thirty-six inches deep. Concrete or another curable material is mixed and poured into the hole. The anchor 170 is inserted into the center of the hole with the flared end 172 down. The anchor is plumbed and the concrete or other material is cured.

After the concrete has cured, for example, for at least forty-eight hours, the anchor 170 may receive the support pole. As shown in FIGS. 1-3, the support pole 102 is placed over the top of the anchor 170 and the support pole 102 is allowed to slide to the ground. The support pole 102 may be squared to a basketball court surface, and the set screws 172 secure the support pole 102 position relative to the anchor 170. The adjustment cable 146 is extended from the winch 144, through the support pole 102, over the first pulley 150 (and the second pulley 168 (FIG. 4) according to some embodiments) and out of the top portion 152. The second arm 110 is attached to the support pole 102. The second arm 110 may be attached to the support pole 102 with the pins or bolts 124 (FIG. 3) extending through the second journal 118 (FIG. 2). The adjustment cable 146 is attached to the second arm 110 at the cable attachment ring 132. The first arm 108 is also attached to the support pole 102. The first arm 108 is attached to the support pole 102 with the pins or bolts 122 (FIG. 3) extending through the first journal 116 (FIG. 2). The backboard 106 is attached to the branches 114 of the first and second arms 108, 110 by extending bolts or pins 134, 136 (FIG. 3), respectively, through the holes 138, 140 (FIG. 2) in the arms and the backboard, respectively. The hoop 142 is then attached to the backboard 106 with bolts, screws, or other fasteners. The winch 144 or other cable drive system may be preinstalled and attached to the support pole 102.

The basketball standard 100 of FIGS. 1-4 may be adjusted to change the height of the backboard 106 and the hoop 142 according to individual preference. The height of the backboard 106 and the hoop 142 is adjusted by actuating the adjustment cable 146 which extends through the support pole 102. According to some embodiments, the adjustment cable 146 is actuated by rotating the hand crank 162. Rotating the hand crank 162 may raise or lower the hoop 142. Rotating the hand crank 162 in a first direction may raise the hoop 142, and rotating the hand crank 162 in a second direction may lower the hoop 142. Rotation of the hand crank 162 drives the worm gear 160, and the worm gear transversely drives cable spool 156 and winds or unwinds the adjustment cable 146. The adjustment cable 146 is attached to the second arm 110, and both the first and second arms 108, 110 are connected to both the backboard 106 and the support pole 102. The backboard 106, support pole 102, and first and second arms 108, 110 comprise a four bar mechanism. Therefore, movement of the second arm 110 via the adjustment cable 146 forces corresponding movement of the backboard and the first arm 108. The movement of the first and second arms 108, 110 causes curvilinear translational movement of the backboard 106 and the hoop 142. Accordingly, the backboard 106 and the hoop 142 always maintain the same angled orientation with respect to the ground or other playing surface. The backboard 106 and hoop 142 adjustment range may be limited by the cross-member 130, which may contact the support pole 102 at upper and lower extents of the second arm 110.

According to some embodiments, the basketball standard 100 of FIGS. 1-4 may be adjusted by turning on the electric motor 166. The electric motor 166 provides for an electrically powered winch 144, around which the adjustment cable 146 is wound. The electric motor 166 may turn in two directions, forward and reverse. The forward direction may raise the hoop 142 via the adjustment cable 146, and the reverse direction may lower the hoop 142. The electric motor 166 may directly drive the cable spool 156, or it may drive the worm gear 162 or other driving component(s).

While this invention has been described with reference to certain specific embodiments and examples, it will be recognized by those skilled in the art that many variations are possible without departing from the scope and spirit of this invention. The invention, as defined by the claims, is intended to cover all changes and modifications of the invention which do not depart from the spirit of the invention.





 
Previous Patent: Rebound system

Next Patent: Nets for sporting equipment