Title:
Adjustable basketball apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An adjustable basketball apparatus having a basketball backboard, a support member or pole, and upper arm and a lower arm connecting the basketball backboard to the support member which, together with the backboard and support member, form a deformable parallelogram. There is an electrically powered elevating assembly coupled to one of the upper and lower arm and the support member for adjusting and securing the basketball backboard at a selected height. The elevating assembly is actuated by a user operated switch and upon actuation, causes the deformable parallelogram to be deformed, thereby adjusting the height of the basketball backboard.



Inventors:
White, Ron (North Prairie, WI, US)
Matteucci, Ron (Waukeshs, WI, US)
Breitzman, Jeff (Sussex, WI, US)
Application Number:
09/759641
Publication Date:
07/18/2002
Filing Date:
01/16/2001
Assignee:
WHITE RON
MATTEUCCI RON
BREITZMAN JEFF
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B63/08; (IPC1-7): A63B63/08
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael J. Bell (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. An adjustable basketball apparatus comprising: a basketball backboard; a basketball goal coupled to said basketball backboard; a support member; an upper arm and a lower arm connecting said basketball backboard to said support member which, together with said basketball backboard and said support member form a deformable parallelogram; a linkage member coupled to at least one of said upper and lower arm; and a motor-driven screw mechanism coupled to said linkage member; wherein said screw mechanism is selectively driven to deform said deformable parallelogram thereby adjusting the height of said basketball goal.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a switch, coupled to said motor, for turning said motor off and for selectively operating said motor in a forward or reverse direction.

3. The apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising a battery coupled to said motor for providing power to said motor.

4. The apparatus according to claim 3, wherein a battery charger is attached to said battery for recharging said battery.

5. The apparatus according to claim 4, further comprising a housing, wherein said housing accommodates said motor, said screw mechanism, said battery, said battery charger and said switch.

6. The apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said housing includes a plurality of height markings for visibly indicating the height of said basketball goal.

7. The apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said housing accommodates said linkage member.

8. The apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said housing is coupled to said support member.

9. The apparatus according to claim 7, wherein said housing is coupled to said support member.

10. The apparatus according to claims 5, further comprising a bracket mounted on said support member.

11. The apparatus according to claim 7, further comprising a bracket mounted on said support member.

12. The apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said housing is coupled to said bracket.

13. The apparatus according to claim 7, wherein said housing is coupled to said bracket.

14. The apparatus according to claim 2, wherein when said switch is an on position, said motor drives said linkage member to deform said deformable parallelogram.

15. An adjustable basketball apparatus comprising: a basketball backboard; a basketball goal coupled to said basketball backboard; a support member; an upper arm and a lower arm connecting said basketball backboard to said support member which, together with said basketball backboard and said support member form a deformable parallelogram; a linkage member coupled to at least one of said upper and lower arm; an elevator assembly including a screw mechanism and a motor; and a switch coupled to said elevator assembly; wherein said deformable parallelogram is deformed to adjust the height of said basketball goal.

16. The apparatus according to claim 15, wherein said elevator assembly operates to adjust the height of said basketball goal.

17. The apparatus according to claim 16, wherein said elevator assembly is driven by said motor to deform said deformable parallelogram thereby adjusting the height of said basketball goal.

18. The apparatus according to claim 15, wherein said screw mechanism is driven by said motor thereby deforming said deformable parallelogram.

19. The apparatus according to claim 15, wherein said switch turns said motor off and selectively actuates said motor in a forward or reverse direction.

20. The apparatus according to claim 19, wherein when said switch actuates said motor, said motor drives said screw mechanism to deform said deformable parallelogram.

21. The apparatus according to claim 15, wherein said elevator assembly further comprises a battery and a battery charger.

22. The apparatus according to claim 15, further comprising a plurality of height markings for visibly indicating the height of said basketball goal.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The invention relates generally to a basketball apparatus. More particularly, the invention relates to basketball apparatuses with automatically adjustable backboards.

[0003] 2. Description of Related Art

[0004] Various types of basketball apparatuses have been proposed and used in the past. Such proposals have recognized that adjustability of the height of the basketball goal is a desirable characteristic.

[0005] In some basketball adjustment systems, once the basketball goal is at the desired height, it is secured in place by tightening one or more bolts which “lock” the assembly in place. One of the disadvantages of such devices is that whenever one desires to adjust the basketball goal, it requires the use of a ladder to enable one to reach the bolts that must be loosened to “unlock” the basketball goal. This is complicated by the fact that when the bolt or bolts are loosened, the person adjusting the goal must support the entire weight of the goal until the goal has been to the desired height and the bolts are tightened.

[0006] Other adjustable basketball apparatuses have adjustment systems that are only accessible with the use of a ladder or require the person adjusting the goal to use a long rod or pole to manipulate the adjustment system. Moreover, many of these systems may also require the person adjusting the goal to support the entire weight of the goal while it is being adjusted.

[0007] Some of the aforementioned existing adjustable basketball apparatuses attempt to counter the weight of the backboard using a counterweight or spring mechanism, thereby alleviating the load that the user must support while adjusting the basketball apparatus. However, these mechanisms complicate the basketball apparatus and are susceptible to wear, and subsequent failure, after extended use.

[0008] There are also basketball apparatuses with adjustable height support poles. The poles are adjustable in a variety of ways, including via mechanical means. The existing manual systems do not provide the user with sufficient leverage to make the adjustment in a simple manner. For example, there are systems that comprise telescoping support poles that are secured in place by a sleeve or collar on the support pole. The manual pole-adjusting systems require the person making the adjustments to bear the entire weight of the basketball backboard and goal, as well as a substantial portion of the support pole, while making the desired adjustments. The existing mechanical pole-adjusting systems conventionally require heavy-duty drive mechanisms to support the weight of the basketball backboard and its extensive support pole structure. These mechanisms are very expensive and add significant weight to the basketball apparatus, thus limited to use in institutional basketball backboards which are mounted to walls or rafters of gymnasiums.

[0009] Yet other adjustable basketball apparatuses utilize a rotatable handle or crank to manually adjust the height of the basketball backboard and goal. Once again, however, this requires the operator to put forth a considerable amount of effort and force while adjusting the basketball apparatus, precluding children and small adults from safely adjusting the basketball goal. Additionally, if the handle or crank is damaged or lost, the basketball backboard cannot be adjusted at all.

[0010] The foregoing demonstrates that there is a need for an adjustable height basketball apparatus that can be easily adjusted without manual effort and without the need for tools or external equipment.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] Additional features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objectives and other advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by the apparatus particularly pointed out in the written description and claims hereof as well as the appended drawings.

[0012] To achieve these and other advantages and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, as embodied and broadly described, the invention consists of an adjustable basketball apparatus having a basketball backboard, a support member or pole, and an upper and lower arm, connected such that they form a deformable parallelogram. There is a powered elevating assembly coupled to one of the upper and lower arm and the support member for adjusting and securing the basketball backboard at a selected height. The elevating assembly is actuated by a user operated switch and upon actuation, causes the deformable parallelogram to be deformed, thereby adjusting the height of the basketball backboard. Otherwise, if the switch is not operated by the user, the adjustable basketball apparatus is secured in place by the mechanism.

[0013] It is an object of the present invention to provide an adjustable height basketball apparatus which is easily adjusted.

[0014] It is another object of an embodiment of the present invention to provide an adjustable height basketball apparatus that is adjusted without the need for tools or equipment.

[0015] It is yet another object of the present invention to provide an adjustable height basketball apparatus that is maintained rigidly in place during operation.

[0016] These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings. It is understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention as claimed.

[0017] The accompanying drawings are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate several embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] FIG. 1 is a side view of a first embodiment of an adjustable height basketball apparatus according to the present invention.

[0019] FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of a portion of the apparatus according to FIG. 1.

[0020] FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a portion of the apparatus according to FIG. 1.

[0021] FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of another portion of the apparatus according to FIG. 1.

[0022] FIG. 5 is a close-up side view of a portion of the apparatus according to FIG. 1.

[0023] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the apparatus according to FIG. 1.

[0024] FIG. 7 is a close-up front view of the elevating assembly of the present inventon.

[0025] FIG. 8 is front view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

[0026] Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0027] Reference will now be made in detail to the present preferred embodiment of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

[0028] An exemplary embodiment of an adjustable height basketball apparatus is shown in FIG. 1 and is designated generally by reference numeral 10. As embodied herein and referring to FIGS. 1-6, the adjustable basketball apparatus 10 comprises a basketball backboard 12 with a basketball goal 9 attached thereto and a support member or pole 14 set in a movable base 16 or dropped directly into the ground. The adjustable basketball apparatus 10 also includes an upper arm 22 having a first end 23 and a second end 24, and a lower arm 26 having a first end 27 and a second end 28 for pivotally connecting the basketball backboard 12 to the support member 14. The basketball backboard 12, the support pole 14, upper arm 22, and lower arm 26 together form a deformable parallelogram 20.

[0029] As illustrated in FIG. 2, the adjustable basketball apparatus includes an elevating assembly 60. The elevating assembly 60, a linear actuator or the like, comprises a motor 62, a manual elevating member 66, and a screw mechanism 64 for selectively raising and lowering the height of the basketball backboard 12. Screw mechanism 64 is pivotally connected to at least one of the upper arm 22 and the lower arm 26 to deform the deformable parallelogram 20 and is also pivotally connected to the support pole 14, or an extension thereof, such as bracket 40.

[0030] In the preferred embodiment, the elevating assembly 60 is contained within a housing 30 to shield the elevating assembly 60 from outdoor elements. The housing 30 comprises a lower portion 50, an upper portion 32 and an end cap 36. Lower portion 50 includes a front cover 55 and multiple height markings 56 that are used to indicate the height of the basketball goal 9. A switch 51 is disposed on the lower portion 50 of the housing 30. The housing 30 may be mounted on the support member 14, via a bracket 40 as shown in FIG. 3, facing outwardly from the support member 14. Although depicted in the drawings as a substantially unshaped bracket mounting the housing 30 on the opposite side of the support member 14 from the basketball backboard 12, it would be obvious to one skilled in the art for the bracket 40 to be any configuration allowing the housing 30 to be coupled to the support member 14.

[0031] The first end 23 of the upper arm 22 and the first end 27 of the lower arm 26 are pivotally connected to the basketball backboard 12. The upper arm 22 and the lower arm 26 are also pivotally connected to the support member 14. At least one of the second end 24 of the upper arm 22, and the second end 28 of the lower arm 26, extends beyond support member 14 so that they may be pivotally connected either to the end cap 36 of housing 30, or directly to the screw mechanism 64. The upper arm 22 and the lower arm 26 each preferably comprise a pair of arms pivotally connected to opposite points on the support member 14 and the backboard 12. However, the upper arm 22 and the lower arm 26 may comprise a single arm. Although, the preferred embodiment is described above, it should also be understood that either second end 24, or second end 28, may be pivotally connected to the end cap 36 or the screw mechanism 64 and on the same side of the support member 14 as the basketball backboard 12.

[0032] As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, the housing 30 contains an elevating assembly 60 that is electrically coupled to switch 51. Preferably, the elevating assembly 60 is contained within both the lower portion 50 and the upper portion 32 of housing 30. The elevating assembly 60 is coupled, directly or via linkage members, at one end to end cap 36, and pivotally connected at another end, through the lower portion 50 of housing 30, to the free ends 41 of bracket 40.

[0033] Electrical power is preferably provided to the elevating assembly 60 by a rechargeable battery 80 having a battery charger 82 attached thereto, or via an electrical cord and outlet (not shown). The battery 80 and battery charger 82 are preferably disposed in the lower portion 50 of the housing 30, as shown in FIG. 5. When the battery 80 needs to be recharged, battery charger 82 may be connected to an AC adapter, or the like, for subsequent connection with a power source, such as an electrical outlet. FIG. 7 illustrates the preferred arrangement of the elevating assembly 60 within the lower portion 50 the housing 30.

[0034] In a preferred operation, the user moves switch 51 from an off position, in which the adjustable backboard apparatus 10 is locked at a selected height, to one of two operating positions. One operating position operates motor 62 in one direction, and the other operating position operates motor 62 in the opposite direction. While switch 51 is maintained in an operating position, motor 62 is operated in the selected direction driving the screw mechanism 64 selectively up or down. The movement of the screw mechanism 64 causes a deformation in the deformable parallelogram 20, whereby the height of the basketball goal 9 is adjusted. When the basketball goal 9 is at a desired height as indicated by the height markings 56, the user moves switch 51 into an off position, deactivating motor 62 and thereby securing the adjustable basketball apparatus 10 at the desired height.

[0035] Alternatively, if battery or other electrical power is unavailable to the user, or the motor is inoperable, the height of the basketball goal 9 may still be adjusted manually using the elevating assembly 60. The user removes the front cover 55 from the lower portion 50 of the housing 30, and attaches a crank handle 68 to the manual elevating member 66, as shown in FIG. 6. As the crank handle 68 is rotated, the screw mechanism 64 is driven to deform the deformable parallelogram 20, whereby the height of the basketball goal 9 is adjusted.

[0036] Additionally, the elevating assembly 60 may be operated via remote control (not shown). The remote control unit may be, but is not limited to, a wireless hand-held actuator or a hard-wired actuating unit mounted inside a home or garage. Likewise, switch 51 may either be replaced or may operate in concert with such a remote control unit.

[0037] It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in an adjustable height basketball apparatus of the present invention without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Thus, it is intended that the present invention cover the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.