I was listening to a podcast featuring Neil Degrasse Tyson where he learned that 2 basketballs can fit through the same hoop side by aide because the hoop is 4 times the size of 1 ball, yet I can’t picture in my head how that’s possible

In: Other

The formula for the area of a circle is π r^2.

If a basketball’s rim width (diameter) is 2x the basketball, then so is its radius.

So when you square the radius, you need to square the 2 as well.

Thus, for any size rim where the basketball fits side by side within the rim, the area of that rim is 4x the basketball’s.

They can’t. A standard NBA basketball’s diameter [is between 9.41 and 9.43 inches](https://www.stack.com/a/basketball-sizes). A basketball hoop is [18 inches in diameter](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backboard_/(basketball/)). So put two basketballs side by side and their width exceeds the basketball’s hoop diameter by about .8 inches.

Tyson tells Rogan a lot of wrong stuff. For example Tyson telling Joe there are more transcendental numbers than irrationals. See this post in [the bad mathematics subreddit](https://www.reddit.com/r/badmathematics/comments/5vnnym/neil_degrasse_tyson_theres_more_transcendental/).

A regulation hoop is 18″ diameter. A regulation basketball is 9.43-9.51″ diameter. Simply based on that I don’t see how it is possible for two regulation basketballs to fit in a regulation hoop at the same time.

Without having access to what he was saying directly, all I can imagine he is saying is that the total area is enough to cover it, but the shape of the basketballs makes it impossible. If you took one of the basketballs and deformed it so that it’s still occupy the same amount of volume but was in a ring around the other basketball, then it would work.

It is kind of like how despite the fact that I am a 6ft tall man, I can fit through a moderately large doggy door. It just requires a heck of a lot of work and contortion.