8 Best Basketballs | March 2017

We spent 29 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Shooting hoops is a lot more fun when you're not fooling with an old, half-deflated ball. Treat yourself to a new one from our list of basketballs, which includes everything from models good for playground or high school use through to those that are NBA-approved for professional play. Skip to the best basketball on Amazon.
8 Best Basketballs | March 2017

Overall Rank: 2
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 8
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 3
Best Inexpensive
With the Wilson X Connected Basketball, every shot you take creates more data for you to study. This ball pairs with either an iPhone or Android app to help create a profile of your accuracy, your range, and other metrics.
The Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor ball features 80% nylon windings for long-lasting shape retention and has a 100% butyl bladder that allows for maximum air retention even with heavy and frequent use.
The Wilson Evolution Indoor Game Basketball is designed for indoor play at the high school. It is constructed from microfiber composite leather with a high definition pebble surface, and is slightly smaller than NBA regulation balls.
The Spalding ABA is designed to meet the exacting specifications of the classic American Basketball Association, which was rolled into the NBA in the 1970s. This size 7 men's ball is made from high quality materials.
  • stylish red white and blue colors
  • ideal for competitive indoor play
  • one year manufacturer's warranty
Brand Spalding
Model 74-248
Weight 1.7 pounds
The Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball will certainly be hard to misplace or confuse with another player's ball thanks to its striking pink color. It's perfectly suitable for use, but also makes a good display or autograph item.
  • composite leather cover
  • purchase supports breast cancer research
  • good reviews from users
Brand Wilson
Weight 1.4 pounds
Don't stop the ballgame just because darkness has fallen. With the Franklin Sports Night Lightning Basketball, your ball will soak up the sun by daylight and then glow softly at night, allowing the play to continue.
  • polyester winding for shape retention
  • official size and weight
  • glow fades quickly
Brand Franklin
Model 11422
Weight 2.4 pounds
The Wilson NCAA Solution Basketball is both the men's and women's college tournament official game ball. It features a 100-percent composite cover and patented aqua grip channels that enhance grip and control.
  • cushion core technology
  • low density sponge rubber
  • pebbled composite leather enhances grip
Brand Wilson
Model WTB0700R,WTB0701R
Weight 1.4 pounds
The Spalding Size 7 was the official 2014 game basketball of the NBA, and is the choice of countless school programs and house leagues across the country. It's made from full grain leather and meets all official size specifications.
  • for top level competitive indoor play
  • exceptional feel and touch
  • nba weight specified
Brand Spalding
Model 74-233T
Weight 1.7 pounds

When To Buy a Leather Basketball, When To Buy a Rubber One

Most people, when shopping for a basketball, tend to gravitate toward what is considered to be a regulation model. A regulation basketball has a leather exterior with a dimpled surface that allows for an ample grip.

In addition, any regulation ball should weigh approximately 1.7 pounds and measure 30 inches in circumference, with slight variations depending on how much air that ball has in it. The NBA uses a regulation ball that is manufactured by Spalding, but companies like Franklin, and Wilson, and Rawlings manufacture their own regulation basketballs, as well.

There is a drawback to certain regulation basketballs in that their leather panels may have been designed specifically for indoor play. More importantly, asphalt may cause a leather ball to wear, or even peel. Rubber balls, on the other hand, are much more geared toward being used in a park, or on an outdoor court. The bright orange color of a rubber ball is great for playing at night, as well.

Rubber balls are less expensive, and they bounce higher if they're fully inflated. But leather balls are more durable, and they're less prone to being punctured. The majority of starter balls are made out of rubber, while there are a wide range of intermediate balls (both leather and rubber) that have been designed for indoor and outdoor play.

If you're a tech geek and you're interested in improving the physics of your game, there are certain basketballs on the market that can be synced up to a mobile app. These "smart balls," including the Wilson X (please see above), can provide data and comparisons to help improve your day-to-day shooting, dribbling, accuracy, and mechanics. Assuming you do have interest in a smart ball, it's important to confirm that you'll be able to download the appropriate app onto your phone. Certain smart-ball apps will only work on certain devices. You're generally in good shape assuming you own an Android or an iPhone.

Several Basketball Drills That Can Improve Your Basketball Skills

If you want to get better at basketball, chances are you'll need to practice. Practice can be collaborative, and practice can be fun. But practice almost always begins by zeroing in on a handful of drills, the type that will allow you to build a foundation, and then progress as you continue along.

First things first: a player needs to be able to dribble before he can shoot. With that in mind, set up a line of orange cones, and weave your way through them while dribbling the ball. The cones are an essential part of this drill in that they stand just tall enough to keep you from cheating, and yet they're soft enough to prevent you from getting hurt. As your dribbling improves, you can work on alternating hands. You can also increase the difficulty level by shortening the distance between each cone.

The most basic passing drill involves scissor-jumping your way down the court while touch-passing a basketball back and forth with a partner. This drill is meant to improve speed and accuracy. But over time, you and your partner can expand to practicing bounce passes, one-hand passes, and perhaps even fast breaks, as well. In the event that a partner isn't available, you can still complete a similar drill by bouncing the ball against a wall.

Shooting drills are a matter of expanding one's range while adjusting weak mechanics. The most basic shooting drill involves marking off several spots around the perimeter. Every time you've completed a full rotation, double back around the arc. As your scoring percentage increases, expand the perimeter a little further. You'll be improving your outside game by sharpening the range on every shot.

A Brief History of Basketball (By Way of Its Founder)

The first-ever basketball game was played as part of a YMCA gym class that took place during December of 1891. This class, which was moderated by a Massachusetts physician named James Naismith, consisted of 18 boys, who had been divided into a pair of nine-player groups. Naismith instructed that the objective of the game was to bounce, or dribble, a soccer ball before passing it, or shooting it toward one of two peach baskets, which had been set up along opposing sides of the YMCA hall.

Over the next few months, Naismith would facilitate a number of scrimmages. These early matches would provide the impetus for Naismith's 13 Basic Rules of Basket Ball. Among these rules was the notion that a soft leather ball should be used to minimize injury, that a player could not run while holding the ball, and that it should be a violation for any player to directly block the opposing team's basket.

The first-ever "basket balls" were paneled in leather and stitched like footballs along the cross-section. These balls were centered around a rubber bladder which was filled with air, enabling the ball to bounce with uncharacteristic lightness.

Throughout the first third of the 20th Century, Dr. Naismith continued to hone the regulations of his game. Manufacturers, meanwhile, began to develop balls that were more rigid, dynamic, durable, and player-friendly. Basketball flourished as an amateur sport, with several colleges developing their own basketball clubs (Naismith famously founded the men's basketball program at the University of Kansas in 1898).

Basketball was introduced as an Olympic sport in 1936. One decade later, the NBA was formed. Unfortunately, Dr. Naismith never got to see an NBA game played. Naismith died of a brain hemorrhage in 1939. He was 78 years old.

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Last updated: 03/25/2017 | Authorship Information