Title:
BASKETBALL GOAL RETURN NET AND MOUNTING SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
One embodiment of the present invention includes a basketball goal return net and a mounting system for mounting the basketball return net to a basketball goal assembly. The mounting system may be used with various styles and sizes of basketball goal assemblies. The mounting system secures a net to a basketball goal assembly. The system suspends the net and may also inhibit side-to-side or lateral movement. In certain embodiments, an elongate member passes through a sleeve of the return net, the sleeve being formed at the top of the return net. The mounting system includes one or more straps extending from the net and attachable to a hoop mount. The straps can be attached adjacent ends of the elongate member to the outer surface of the sleeve or directly to the elongate member. The straps are preferably attached at a middle portion or opposing end to the hoop mount. The net serves to capture and/or return a basketball to a thrower.



Inventors:
Thomas, Scott (Newburgh, IN, US)
Application Number:
11/381468
Publication Date:
02/22/2007
Filing Date:
05/03/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOODARD, EMHARDT, HENRY, REEVES & WAGNER, LLP (111 MONUMENT CIRCLE, SUITE 3700, INDIANAPOLIS, IN, 46204-5137, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A mounting system for mounting a basketball return net to a basketball goal assembly, comprising: an elongate member with opposing end portions; a net have opposing side edges wherein said net is suspendable from said elongate member; and, a pair of mounting straps, each strap having an outward end engagable adjacent an end of the elongate member, and each strap having an inward end securable to a hoop mount of a backboard assembly of a basketball goal.

2. The mounting system of claim 1, wherein said outward ends of said mounting straps are engagable to said opposing end portions of said elongate member.

3. The mounting system of claim 1, wherein said outward ends of said mounting straps are engagable to said net substantially adjacent said opposing edge portions.

4. The mounting system of claim 1, wherein said inward ends are releaseably securable to the hoop mount.

5. The mounting system of claim 4, wherein said inward ends are securable to the hoop mount with hook and loop fasteners.

6. A basketball goal assembly, comprising: a. a backboard defining a front face; b. a basketball hoop bracket mounted to said front face; c. an elongate member having opposing end portions; d. a net suspended from said elongate member; e. at least one strap extending from at least one of said opposing end portions to over said basketball hoop bracket; and, f. means for securing said at least one strap to said basketball hoop bracket.

7. The assembly of claim 6, comprising a pair of straps, wherein each said strap has an outward end secured substantially adjacent one of said elongate member end portions.

8. The assembly of claim 6, wherein said outward ends are secured to said net.

9. The assembly of claim 6, wherein each said strap has an inward end secured to said basketball hoop bracket.

10. The assembly of claim 6, wherein said means for securing comprises hook and loop fasteners.

11. The assembly of claim 10, wherein said means for securing inhibits said strap from moving laterally with respect to said basketball hoop.

12. The assembly of claim 6, wherein said means for securing includes a selectively releaseable portion located at least at one location along the length of said at least one strap.

13. A basketball goal assembly, comprising: a. a backboard defining a front face; b. a basketball hoop mounted to said front face; c. an elongate member having opposing end portions; d. a net suspended from said elongate member; e. at least one strap extending from adjacent to at least one of said opposing end portions to over said basketball hoop; and, f. wherein said at least one strap is releaseably secured to said basketball hoop.

14. The assembly of claim 13, wherein said at least one strap is releaseably secured to said basketball hoop with hook and loop fasteners.

15. The assembly of claim 14, wherein said hook and loop fasteners include one portion mounted to said basketball hoop and a mating portion mounted to one face of said at least one strap.

16. The assembly of claim 14, comprising a second strap extending from adjacent to the second opposing end portion of said elongate member and selectively mounted to said basketball hoop.

17. The assembly of claim 16, wherein said second strap is selectively mounted to said basketball hoop with hook and loop fasteners.

18. The assembly of claim 17, wherein said hook and loop fasteners include one portion mounted to said basketball hoop and a mating portion mounted to one face of said second strap.

19. The assembly of claim 17, wherein said hook and loop fasteners include one portion mounted to said at least one strap and a mating portion mounted to said second strap.

Description:

This application claims priority to Provisional Application No. 60/709,295, filed Aug. 18, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present system relates to basketball return nets, and in particular a basketball goal return net and method of mounting.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A training aid for certain basketball goals is a net to catch and return or urge a basketball towards a user. Such nets typically are located below a basketball goal hoop, and may be slanted forward. An improved system and method for attaching a basketball goal return net to a basketball goal system is desired.

SUMMARY

One embodiment of the present invention includes a basketball goal return net and a mounting system for mounting the basketball return net to a basketball goal assembly. The mounting system may be used with various styles and sizes of basketball goal assemblies. The mounting system secures a net to a basketball goal assembly. The system suspends the net and may also inhibit side-to-side or lateral movement. In certain embodiments, an elongate member passes through a sleeve of the return net, the sleeve being formed at the top of the return net. The mounting system includes one or more straps extending from the net and attachable to a hoop mount. The straps can be attached adjacent ends of the elongate member to the outer surface of the sleeve or directly to the elongate member. The straps are preferably attached at a middle portion or opposing end to the hoop mount. The net serves to capture and/or return a basketball to a thrower.

Further objects, features and advantages of the present invention shall become apparent from the detailed drawings and descriptions provided herein. Each embodiment described herein is not intended to address every object described herein, and each embodiment does not include each feature described. Some or all of these features may be present in the corresponding independent or dependent claims, but should not be construed to be a limitation unless expressly recited in a particular claim.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a basketball goal assembly, along with a basketball goal return net and mounting system, according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the basketball goal return net and mounting system according to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an exploded front view of the basketball goal return net mounting system according to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the mounting system according to an alternate embodiment.

FIG. 5 is a perspective of an alternate embodiment of a basketball goal return net and mounting system.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended, such alterations and further modifications in the illustrated device, and such further applications of the principles of the invention as illustrated therein are contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention relates.

One embodiment of the present invention includes a basketball goal return net and a mounting system for mounting the basketball return net to a basketball goal assembly. The mounting system may be used with various styles and sizes of basketball goal assemblies. The mounting system secures a net to a basketball goal assembly. The system suspends the net and may also inhibit side-to-side or lateral movement. In certain embodiments, an elongate member passes through a sleeve of the return net, the sleeve being formed at the top of the return net. The mounting system includes one or more straps extending from the net and attachable to a hoop mount. The straps can be attached adjacent the ends of the elongate member to the outer surface of the sleeve or directly to the elongate member. The straps are preferably attached at a middle portion or at an opposing end to the hoop mount, for example with a hook and loop fastener system. The net serves to capture and/or return a basketball to a thrower.

Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a basketball goal return net mounting system 10. System 10 connects a flexible return net 12 to a conventional basketball goal assembly, such as basketball goal assembly 14. The basketball goal assembly may be fixed or portable. The assembly generally includes a conventional vertical support element such as a round or square pole, and a backboard assembly including a backboard and a hoop in front of the pole. The backboard assembly can be fixedly or adjustably mounted to the vertical support element using various means known to those skilled in the art. The backboard assembly can alternately be suspended from a wall or ceiling.

Basketball goal assembly 14 includes a conventional backboard assembly 15. In one embodiment, backboard assembly 15 includes a backboard 16 with a surrounding frame 17. Basketball goal assembly 14 preferably includes a basketball goal hoop 19 mounted to the front face of a backboard assembly 15 via a bracket or hoop mount 20. Hoop bracket 20 may allow the hoop to pivot during use, for example with a biased pivot hinge. A scoring net is typically suspended from the hoop.

For convenience, directional references to front refer to the side of the backboard upon which the hoop is mounted and forward is the direction extending towards the playing area. Rear refers to the side or face of the backboard opposite the hoop and rearward is a direction extending behind the backboard, opposite to forward. Inward refers to directions from the respective side edges towards the center of the backboard, and outward extends from the center towards and beyond the edges.

In a preferred embodiment, system 10 attaches net 12 to hoop bracket 20 of backboard assembly 15. Referring to FIGS. 1-2, system 10 includes an elongate member, such as a bar 18, to carry net 12. The elongate member may be solid or hollow. As illustrated, in certain embodiments bar 18 is a pole, extending substantially horizontally along a sleeve 40 formed in an upper end of the net from one side or edge to another. The length of the elongate member is preferably equal to or less than the width of the backboard assembly; however, a length greater than the width is an alternative.

The elongate member, such as bar 18, preferably has a length equal to or slightly longer than the width of the upper end of net 12. In an alternative embodiment, the net may be compressed or gathered so that the effective width of the upper end of the net is equal to or less than the length of the elongate member.

An upper end of the net 12 defines a sleeve 40. The sleeve closure can be fixed, such as by sewing. Alternatively, the sleeve on the upper end can be defined using various closure or surrounding methods as would occur to one skilled in the art, examples include a zipper, snaps, straps, laces or Velcro® hook and loop fasteners. In the illustrated embodiment, the bar passes through the sleeve to carry the net. The sleeve can be held from sliding relative to the bar by a snug size causing a friction fit, end caps or retaining pieces which secure the sleeve in place by passing through or around the sleeve and/or bar. The retaining pieces can be a temporary or permanent limiting member such as a cotter pin, a clip, a bolt, a screw, a peg, a clamp or a plastic piece such as a zip tie. In an alternate embodiment, the retaining member is a biased button or stud which resiliently extends from the elongate member's interior to engage the sleeve.

FIG. 2 illustrates system 10 with basketball hoop 19 not shown for clarity. System 10 includes a mounting base 25 secured on hoop bracket 20. If hoop mount 20 includes a pivot for the hoop, preferably the mounting base is mounted on the pivoting piece or allows or compensates for any pivoting movement. In certain preferred embodiments, base 25 is a piece from a hook and loop fastener, such as a Velcro® brand fastener.

System 10 is illustrated with straps 26 and 27 extending from net 12 and attachable to the hoop bracket, for example by securing the inward ends 30 and 31 (FIG. 3) to base 25. In certain preferred embodiments, outer ends 28 and 29 of straps 26 and 27, respectively, are sewn to the net 12 adjacent opposing outward edges of net 12 adjacent the opposing ends 13 of bar 18. The straps can be pre-secured to the net or alternately secured bar during manufacture or during the assembly and mounting process. It should be appreciated that the straps can be attached to the net or the opposing ends of the elongate member in various other manners and locations along the sleeve or member length as would occur to one skilled in the art examples of attachment mechanisms include buckles, clips, hooks, clamps, knots, or mechanical retaining pieces. A wide or spaced apart attachment substantially adjacent the outer ends is preferred for stability.

FIG. 3 is an exploded cross-sectional view of one embodiment of the system at hoop bracket 20, with the hoop, backboard and mounting details omitted for clarity. In the embodiment illustrated, mounting base 25 is attached to an upper plate, for example a pivot plate, of hoop bracket 20. It is contemplated that the base is secured to the hoop bracket in any appropriate manner as would generally occur to one skilled in the art, such as via adhesive material. Other examples include mechanical fasteners such as clamps, bolts, screws or mounting brackets.

Mounting base 25 can extend along the entire width or less of hoop bracket 20. As illustrated, mounting base 25 includes an upper surface 25a. Upper surface 25a includes one portion of a hook and loop fastener pairing, such as Velcro® fasteners. Strap 26 includes an inward end portion 30 with lower surface 26a and upper surface 26b. Strap 27 includes an inward end portion 31 with lower surface 27a and upper surface 27b. Preferably, mating portions of the hook and loop fasteners extend in lengths adjacent the inward ends 30 and 31 to allow strap 26 and strap 27 to be selectively secured to the mounting base 25.

In certain embodiments, hook and loop fastener portions are mounted on surfaces 26a, 26b and 27a to allow lower surface 26b to mate with upper surface 25a, and to allow upper surface 26b to mate with lower surface 27a. In a slight alteration, upper surface 27b can optionally also include a hook and loop fastener portion to reversibly allow strap 27 to be attached to base 25 and strap 26 be positioned on top of strap 27.

In an alternative embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4, the strap inward ends 30 and 31 are placed side by side and both are secured to a base piece 25′. In this embodiment, lower sides 26a′ and 27a′ each have fastener portions which are securable to base piece 25′.

Additionally, it should be appreciated that the straps and base can be attached differently to the backboard assembly, including being mounted to backboard 16. In certain embodiments, the straps can be shorter or longer in length to allow for placement of the net at varying heights or to support longer or shorter elongate members. Optionally, the straps can include hook and loop fasteners throughout a length of the straps, allowing for height adjustability of the net.

Alternate system 100 is illustrated in FIG. 5. System 100 includes a backboard assembly 15 with a bracket or hoop mount 120. Elongate member 118 is substantially horizontal and extends through a sleeve in the upper end of net 112. End caps 119 enclose and capture the ends 113 of elongate member 118. Straps 126 and 127 have outward ends 128 and 129 secured to end caps 119. The inner ends of straps 126 and 127 are securable to hoop mount 120. Elongate member 118 has a length approximately equal to the width of the backboard assembly 15. The width of net 112 is illustrated as less than the length of elongate member 118.

In certain embodiments, such as in system 10, the end caps are optional. The protective caps are illustrated as capturing an end of the elongate member by enclosing it, which also provides weather protection and blunts the edges. However, the caps can be secured to the end portions without complete enclosure. In one embodiment, the caps have a snug, friction fit to the end portions. Alternately, the caps are secured in place with a retaining piece.

The optional end caps, in one embodiment, can include round, soft tips. In another embodiment, the end caps can include arrow shaped tips. Additionally, the end caps can be made of a substantially plastic material. However, it should be appreciated that the end caps can be made of other suitable materials, such as rubber.

In certain less preferred embodiments, one continuous strap is used instead of separate straps. The one continuous strap can be attached to the hoop bracket in various manners, including through the use of hook and loop fasteners or bracket assemblies. In preferred alternative embodiments, the one continuous strap is maintained at a position on the hoop bracket, preventing forward and side-to-side movement of the return net. As an example, the one continuous strap can be received in a trough or channel mounted to or by the hoop bracket, and friction or another mounting mechanism, such as a mechanical fastener or clamp, can be used to prevent side-to-side movement of the strap.

Preferably the straps are selectively and releaseably securable to allow simple and optionally quick release mounting and disengaging of the net assembly, preferably without tools. In other alternative embodiments, fasteners such as snaps or laces are used to connect the straps and to retain the straps in position. In further alternative embodiments, fasteners such as retaining clips or buckles are mounted to the backboard assembly, bar or net and are connectable to straps to retain the net assembly in position. The buckles can be plastic or metal. In certain alternative embodiments, one or more straps are fixedly mounted to a hoop bracket and can be selectively connected to the return net at one or both ends of the strap(s). A still further alternative embodiment involves the use of studs or pins connected to a mount or backboard assembly, with holes, optionally with metal eyelets, in the strap(s) selectively placed over the studs.

The straps and/or the net can be composed of nylon, leather, plastic, or synthetic materials, or other such material compositions that enable performance of the functions stated herein. The sleeve of the net can be one continuous passage, or a series of passages such as loops of material. Additionally, the elongate member can be made of a plastic, metal, or wood material, or other such material compositions that enable performance of the functions stated herein.

The elongate member is shown with a circular cross-section, although other cross-sections, such as square, oval or rectangular may be used as desired. In other embodiments, the member can be longer or shorter and/or can include telescopic or fixed length extension members or sections to provide for extension and reduction of the member length to correspond to various backboard assembly and return net sizes. In other embodiments, the elongate member can have a smaller or larger cross-section. Further, in yet other embodiments, the member is flexible to permit flexing of the member during mounting, and is biased to unbend to a return length and to then be retained in place.

Referring generally to FIGS. 1 through 3, the overall operation of universal basketball goal return net mounting system 10 is as follows. The elongate member, such as bar 18, is advanced through the sleeve 40 of the return net 12 or the end is wrapped around the bar and closed to form a sleeve. Base 25 is attached to hoop mount 20. An outward end 28 of at least one strap, such as strap 26, is secured substantially adjacent an end 13 of bar 18 with net 12. An inward end 30 of strap 26 is secured to base 25, for example with surface 26a mating with surface 25a. In a two-strap arrangement, an outward end 29 of a second strap, such as strap 27, is secured substantially adjacent an end 13 of bar 18. An inward end 31 of strap 27 is secured to the mounting base 25, for example with surface 26b mating with surface 27a.

The lower end of the net 12 can hang loose or be held in position by water or sand bags or another such weighting or bracing mechanism as desired. During use, a basketball which lands on the net will be urged in a desired direction depending on how the net is oriented. The elongate member, stops and net may move or sway due to an impact, yet preferably are inhibited from lateral movement and return to a standard position.

While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character, it being understood that only the preferred embodiments have been shown and described and that all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the invention are desired to be protected.





 
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