Title:
Adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly is described having an a-symmetric backboard with a plurality of threaded apertures, a basket mounted thereto via single face-plate. A first and second biased support structures are used in combination with a series of coupling brackets to secure the backboard assembly on the supports at selective heights within a door frame or similar area. A plurality of thumb fasteners are used to quickly secure and deploy the assembly as a light-weight and transparent assembly.



Inventors:
Griswold, Gary R. (Gardiner, ME, US)
Application Number:
09/876919
Publication Date:
12/12/2002
Filing Date:
06/11/2001
Assignee:
GRISWOLD R. GARY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B63/08; A63B21/16; (IPC1-7): A63B63/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard C. Litman (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly comprising: a backboard having a plurality of threaded apertures, a basket, said basket comprises a face-plate having a plurality of apertures for attachment with said backboard; a first support means for supporting a first portion of the backboard between a first and second portion of a frame member; a second support means for supporting a second portion of the backboard between a third and fourth portion of the frame member; a plurality of coupling means for coupling said respective first and second support means to said backboard via said plurality of threaded apertures; and a plurality of fastening means for fastening the face-plate to the backboard via said plurality of apertures.

2. The backboard assembly according to claim 1, wherein: said first and second support means further comprise respective first and second stoppers adapted thereto.

3. The backboard assembly according to claim 2, wherein: said respective first and second stoppers are made of a material which maximizes friction between a surface portion of the respective stoppers and an abutting surface portion of the respective frame members.

4. The backboard assembly according to claim 3, wherein: said respective first and second stoppers are made of rubber material.

5. The backboard assembly according to claim 4, wherein: said first and second support means are extendable and retractable support members.

6. The backboard assembly according to claim 5, wherein: said first and second extendable and retractable support members are spring loaded, said springs having a predetermined stiffness for effecting a support force for the back board assembly.

7. The backboard assembly according to claim 1, wherein: said first and second support means are extendable and retractable support members.

8. The backboard assembly according to claim 5, wherein: said first and second extendable and retractable support members are spring loaded, said springs having a predetermined stiffness for effecting a support force for the back board assembly.

9. The backboard assembly according to claim 1, wherein: said first and second support means are telescoping support members.

10. The backboard assembly according to claim 1, wherein: said backboard is made of a light-weight and transparent material.

11. The backboard assembly according to claim 1, wherein: said material is acrylic.

12. The backboard assembly according to claim 1, wherein: said plurality of coupling means comprise at least one bracket and at least one mechanical fastener, said at least one bracket having a first and second aperture for insertably receiving said at least one mechanical fastener.

13. The backboard assembly according to claim 12, wherein: said plurality of coupling means comprise at least one bracket and at least one mechanical fastener, said at least one bracket having a first and second aperture for insertably receiving said at least one mechanical fastener.

14. The backboard assembly according to claim 12, wherein: said at least one mechanical fastener is a threaded thumb fastener of predetermined dimensions corresponding to said plurality of threaded apertures of said backboard.

15. The backboard assembly according to claim 1, wherein: said a plurality of fastening means are a plurality of threaded thumb fasteners.

16. The backboard assembly according to claim 1, wherein: said basket includes a rim portion having a plurality of T-shaped protruding attachment ends disposed within a interior rim portion of said rim for attaching a basket ball net.

17. The backboard assembly according to claim 1, wherein: said basket being made of a light-weight plastic material.

18. An adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly comprising, in combination with a miniature basketball: a backboard having a plurality of threaded apertures, a basket, said basket comprises a face-plate having a plurality of apertures for attachment with said backboard; a first support means for supporting a first portion of the backboard between a first and second portion of a frame member; a second support means for supporting a second portion of the backboard between a third and fourth portion of the frame member; a plurality of coupling means for coupling said respective first and second support means to said backboard via said plurality of threaded apertures; and a plurality of fastening means for fastening the face-plate to the backboard via said plurality of apertures.

19. The backboard assembly according to claim 18, wherein: said first and second support means further comprise respective first and second stoppers adapted thereto.

20. The backboard assembly according to claim 19, wherein: said respective first and second stoppers are made of a material which maximizes friction between a surface portion of the respective stoppers and an abutting surface portion of the respective frame members.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to basketball goal assemblies. More specifically, the invention is a miniature basketball goal assembly adapted to be releasably attached to a window and/or door frame at selective heights.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] Numerous basketball goal assemblies have been devised as portable features for attachment to doors, stand alone supports and the like. Some of the conventional features as herein described below utilize accessories such as special nets and multiple goals for added recreational appeal. As early as 1945, U.S. Patents were issued to facilitate the deployment of portable basketball goals. Some of these particular features are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. issued to Gibson (2,379,572), Cook (2,512,417), Killick (2,707,104), Chalcroft (3,017,183), Mason (3,669,450), Pangburn (4,468,027), Offutt (4,715,600), Thornell (4,793,611), Goldfarb (4,955,605) and Jarriel et al. (4,974,841).

[0005] It was not until the early 1980's that adjustable features of a deployable miniature goal was realized as described in the U.S. Pat. No. issued to Killen (4,183,522). However, this particular goal assembly had many shortcomings with the use of sharp edged removable brackets which is quite dangerous in and around the presence of children. An adjustable miniature basketball backboard assembly which is light-weight and which can be easily deployed as herein described is lacking.

[0006] Other patents which sought to provide similar features were those respectively issued and granted to Gibson (Des. U.S. Pat. No. 139,311), Graham (Des. U.S. Pat. No. 431,272), Dickinson (GB 520,656) and Francis (FR 2,583,649), but such developments proved to be conventional in comparison with the previously recited patents. Thus, these conventional features are considered to be of generally relevance to the adjustable miniature basketball goal assembly as herein described.

[0007] None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singularly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed. Thus a adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly solving the aforementioned problems is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly according to the invention includes a backboard having a plurality of threaded apertures, a basket secured thereto and a biased first and second support structure for supporting a first portion of the backboard between selective areas of a door frame at selective heights. A plurality of light-weight coupling brackets are used to secure the respective supports to the backboard before full deployment within a window or door frame accordingly. The materials of the assembly and the mechanisms used are designed for minimum effort and simple assembly for use.

[0009] Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention to provide an adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly for use by toddlers and older children.

[0010] It is another object of the invention to provide an adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly which simple to deploy.

[0011] It is a further object of the invention to provide an adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly which light-weight.

[0012] Still another object of the invention is to provide an adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly which transparent for ease of supervision by a parent or guardian.

[0013] It is an object of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof for the purposes described which is inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing its intended purposes.

[0014] These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] FIG. 1 is an environmental, perspective view of an adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly according to the present invention.

[0016] FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of the adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly according to the invention.

[0017] FIG. 3 is a rear perspective view of the adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly according to the invention, illustrating a partial cut-away perspective of a single extension rod.

[0018] FIG. 4A is an exploded perspective view of the adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly according to the invention, illustrating alignment with a door frame.

[0019] FIG. 4B is a top perspective view of a basketball rim of the adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly.

[0020] FIG. 4C is a perspective view of a face-plate for the rim of FIG. 4B.

[0021] FIG. 4D is a partial perspective view of the basketball rim according to the invention.

[0022] Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0023] The present invention is directed to an adjustable height miniature basketball backboard assembly for kids or children K. The preferred embodiment of the invention is depicted in FIGS. 1-4D, and is generally referenced by numeral 5.

[0024] As best seen in FIG. 1, the adjustable height miniature basketball assembly 5 is shown in environmental perspective, wherein a child K is seen honing fundamental basketball skills by shooting a miniature basketball 10 towards the rim 12 of the basket 14. The rim 12 includes a L-shaped face-plate 16 disposed on a peripheral portion of the rim 12 for attachment with a backboard 18. The face-plate is configured with a plurality of predimensioned threaded apertures 17.

[0025] As shown therein, the adjustable height miniature basketball assembly 5 comprises the backboard 18 having a plurality of threaded apertures 19, the basket 10 (including rim 12 and net 13), a first support structure or means 20 for supporting a first portion of the backboard 18 between a first and second portion 22a and 22b, respectively of a frame member 22, a second support structure or means 24 for supporting a second portion of the backboard 18 between a third and fourth portion 22c and 22d, respectively of the frame member 22. The first and second support structures 20, 24 are preferably telescoping members which are biased to extend and retract along the length of each respective structure 20, 24. The mechanism by which each support structure extend and retract can include the use of spring loaded features 26 and/or threaded couplings which provide the same effect. Each mechanical spring 26 is selected having a predetermined stiffness k (Newtons/meter) for producing or exerting a support force via rubber stoppers 27 attached to the respective ends (20a, 20b and 24a and 24b) of each support structure 20 and 24. The use of rubber stoppers are selected to have a maximum normal force at selected frame surface portions 22a, 22b, 22c and 22d of frame 22 for supporting the backboard 18 and attached basket 14 at selective heights between the door frame 22 due to the coefficient friction of the stoppers 27. The backboard 18, as shown therein is preferably made of a transparent material such as acrylic. Other polymeric materials can be used, so long as the material is light-weight in comparison to acrylic.

[0026] Accordingly, each support structure 20, 24 is secured to the backboard 18 by a plurality of coupling brackets or means 30 having threaded apertures 31 for coupling the respective first and second support structures 20, 24 to the backboard 18 via the plurality of co-linearly aligned threaded apertures 19 by a plurality of threaded thumb fasteners 21. The threaded features of the apertures 19 and associative thumb fasteners 21 of the assembly 5 are selected to correspond not only in dimension, but also to reduce overall material weight of the assembly. According the fasteners 21 are preferably made of a light-weight polymeric or metal material. Similar fasteners 21 are used to fasten the face-plate 16 via apertures 17 to the backboard via similarly disposed apertures 19.

[0027] While the depiction of the support structures 20, 24 in FIG. 1 are shown as substantially cylindrical structures 20, 24, any geometrical configuration of the supports 20, 24 (including associative bracket features) can be used, so long as such configurations are used consistent with the scope and intent of the invention as herein described.

[0028] As diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 2, the backboard assembly 5 is shown in a front perspective as a fully deployed assembly 5. The stoppers 27 disposed on respective ends (20a, 20b and 24a and 24b) of each support 20, 24 as either fixed or removable elemental features in order to maximize the normal force due at the interface of the each stopper 27 and respective frame portion to friction between a surface portion of the respective stoppers 27 and respective abutting surface portions 22a, 22b, 22c and 22d of the frame 22.

[0029] As diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 3, the backboard assembly 5 is shown in a rear perspective, illustrating a cut-away perspective of the first support structure 20 to reveal the operative use of a loaded spring 26 for generating an extension force between the frame 22 for supporting a first portion of the backboard 18. A more detail perspective of the assembly 5 is shown in an exploded perspective in FIG. 4A to illustrate the alignment of the assembly 5 with the door frame 22. As diagrammatically illustrated in FIGS. 4B-4D, the basket is shown in respective elemental features comprising a rim 12 with a plurality of T-shaped protruding attachment ends 15 disposed within a interior rim portion 12a to anchor or support the basketball net 13 therefrom. The face-plate 16 is also respectively shown in FIG. 4C to illustrate co-linearly aligned apertures 17. Instead of using a solid rim structure 12, FIG. 4D shows a substantially curvilinear rim portion to provide certain amount of rigidity at a reduced weight. front perspective as a fully deployed assembly 5.

[0030] Other unobvious features of the invention reside in the particular use of light-weight materials which significantly reduces the need for a certain level of physical prowess to deploy. As recited above, it is preferable to manufacture the assembly out of a polymeric material such as acrylic or similar material. The transparent features of the material provides a means by which a parent or guardian can observe a child K from a remote location without the fears produced by non-transparent barriers or obstructions.

[0031] It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.