Basketball is one of those games that most people love. From its humble beginnings back in 1891, it has become one of the most played games in the world. While we may only see the game played by professional players, this game is played all over the world. Many houses have a hoop set up in the driveway and kids get together in the middle of the street or local courts. The natural transition for the basketball enthusiast is school competition with the aim of one day going pro.
The original game was played with a soccer or football and was the brainchild of James Naismith, a physical education teacher, who taught at the International Young Men’s Christian Association Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. The first baskets were simply trash cans at either end of the school gymnasium and the original purpose of the game was for Naismith to keep his students occupied during classes when the weather kept them indoors.
Today’s basketballs have come a long way since the old makeshift soccer ball. The technology involved in production ensures you can elevate your game into something spectacular. To get the best out of your game, we’ve put together a list of some of the best basketballs you can ever hope to play with.
The Best Basketballs
If you’re a serious basketball player, then you’ve most likely played with a Wilson ball at least once in your life. Wilson is one of the leaders when it comes to creating fantastic sporting goods, and this Evolution Indoor Game Basketball is the best choice in basketballs. The high definition pebbling makes it easy to maintain your grip as you dribble down the court and the Cushion Core Technology makes for better handling and performance. This ball is a worldwide top seller has been made to last and will improve your game, right up until the final whistle.
Microfiber composite leather cover
Composite laid-in channels
Cushion core technology
- Weight1.2 pounds
If you haven’t played basketball in a driveway or out in the street with the neighborhood kids then you haven’t really played basketball. Most dreams of playing in a high profile, professional competition started with playing in the streets. You can look like a pro with this great Spalding NBA Street Basketball. This ball has been especially designed for playing outdoors with a durable outdoor cover. The wider channels give you great grip and feels great. This is the ultimate shooter’s ball and is everything you expect from an Official NBA Street Basketball.
Official NBA Street Basketball, Size 6 (28.5″)
Performance Outdoor Cover
Wide Channel Design for Incredible Grip & Feel
Designed for Competitive Street Play
Great for Shooters
- Weight1 pounds
The serious basketball enthusiast will love this Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor Basketball. This ball is the premium choice for indoor and outdoor play. You can spend hours with your team playing indoors, and then hit an outdoor court with your buddies. It is a versatile and very durable ball is an official NBA size and weight so you can play for fun or for serious competition. It has a durable Zi/O tournament composite cover and it is foam backed for improved feel and grip. You’ll be able to take your game to the next level with this great indoor/outdoor basketball from Spalding.
Official NBA size and weight
Zi/O Tournament composite cover
Designed for indoor and outdoor play
Foam backed design for improved feel and grip ability
- Weight1.6 pounds
Wilson is name well known in the world of basketball which is why this NCAA Replica Game Basketball is one of the most popular choices with competitive players all over the world. This ball offers superior grip and ball control so you can fly across the court like a pro. The cushion core technology feels fantastic and has a consistent bounce so you’ll be able to maneuver and dribble all the way up to the basketball hoop.
Official basketball of the NCAA Championships
Patented laid-in channels deliver unmatched grip ability and ball control
Cushion Core Technology offers an exceptional feel and more consistent bounce
Designed for Indoor and Outdoor Play
Popular with competitive players worldwide
- Weight1 pounds
Younger players want cool basketballs and the Wilson Killer Crossover Basketball is sure to impress. It comes in a range of great colors which is perfect for a full young team. Each player can choose the color of his choice for easier identification during group training sessions. The affordable price also makes it the best value basketball for all ages. It’s durable enough for indoor or outdoor play and the Optima rubber cover has a 16 panel construction making it easy to handle. If you just want a great basketball for recreational fun, then this is the best one for you.
For indoor or outdoor play
Optima rubber cover with 16 panel construction
Ideal for the recreational player
Sizes: Youth (27.5”)
- Weight5.31 pounds
The Baden Elite Indoor Game Basketball is a premium choice for the serious player. You’ll never drop this ball thanks to the composite microfiber cover which provides great grip. You’ll handle the ball like a pro and get the best out of your game. This ball is great for the younger players and seasoned professionals alike. It is durable, easy to handle and it looks great to. If you’re looking for the best indoor basketball, then this one is definitely for you.
Moisture grip for superior ball control
Composite microfiber cover provides superior grip and tack for optimum basketball control.
Patented Cushion Control Technology (CCT) creates a softer feel, truer bounce, and longer life
Perfection Symmetrical design engineered to provide a perfectly balanced ball
Smooth rounded edges ensure you won’t feel lumps or get inconsistent bounces
AVAILABLE in Intermediate Size 6 (28.5”) and Official Size 7 (29.5”)
- Weight2 pounds
If you’re known to give your basketball a lot of rough treatment then you need an Under Armour Stephen Curry Basketball Official. This is the best basketball ball players all over choose for its durability and for the super cool design. You can play with this ball on any type of court surface, indoors or out or on the rough street in your neighborhood. You can adjust the air pressure depending on the surface you are playing on and the Butyl bladder retains the air in the ball more efficiently. And because it is endorsed by Stephen Curry, you know you’re getting a fantastic basketball. You may also like to check our guide to the best tennis balls.
Exclusive Stephen Curry player ball
Durable rubber cover for all surface play
Butyl bladder for air retention
For optimal performance, additional inflation may be required
- BrandUnder Armour
- ModelBB 154
- Weight2 pounds
You’ll look like a professional basketball player when you play with the Wilson Tournament Game Basketball because this is the official basketball of the NCAA Championships. Never let sweaty hands make you drop the ball thanks to the moisture absorbing cover, and the laid in channels provide you with superior grip and ball control. Dribble the ball from one hoop to the other without missing a bounce. This is a classic basketball for the old-school players. We’ve also reviewed the best beach volleyballs so check them out!
Official Basketball of the NCAA Championships and March Madness
NCAA Solution Basketball sets the standard for performance and innovation
The only moisture absorbing cover on the market.
Laid-in channels provide unmatched grip ability and ball control
Cushion Core Technology offers exceptional feel and more consistent bounce
NCAA and NFHS Approved
- Weight1.45 pounds
SKLZ has the perfect sized basketball for players of every level from beginners to professionals. You’ll be able to upgrade your ball as you upgrade your sill levels with the best basketball you can own at any given point in your playing career. It’s made from high-quality, durable synthetic leather so it is made to withstand a lot of pounding on the court surface indoors or out. This ball lets you get a real feeling for the game so you’ll become one with the ball which will result in dramatic improvements to your game.
Develop better technique such as dribbling speed and accuracy
LIGHTWEIGHT ball forces a quicker response rate between bounces, for greater control
OFFICIAL WEIGHT. At 22.25” this under-sized ball will help you develop muscle memory and refine your focus.
HEAVY WEIGHT. This regulation size ball, 29.50”
SKLZ is dedicated to helping athletes of all levels reach their goals
- Weight0.16 ounces
Basketball Buying Guide & FAQs
Factors to Consider When Buying Basketballs
Sizing – The size of the basketball you buy depends on a few factors. Age, skills, and the type of competition you play in and how the ball feels when you play. In general though, basketballs come in 4 regulation sizes.
One of the key benefits of starting with a smaller sized basketball is that it allows the player to learn how to grip and handle the ball. In the case of children, they can graduate to the larger sizes as they grow and their skills improve.
Smaller sized basketballs are often preferred by those playing recreationally on smaller courts. They can still get a great game going, but with more control over the ball. Choosing the best ball for you is easy. Simply go to your local sports store and try out the different sizes to see how good they feel in your hands.
Size 4: 25.5” – This size ball is for young beginners. It is mainly recommended for children between the ages between 5 – 8 years.
Size 5: 27.5” – For slightly older kids between the ages of 9 to about 11 years of age.
Size 6: 28.5” – This is the ball used in women’s competitions and also for boys from 12 years old and up.
Size 7: 29.5” – This is the official sized basketball used in professional competition. This size caters for men and boys over 15 years of age.
Type of Court – Basketball court surfaces can be quite varied. Firstly, the type of surface depends on whether it is an indoor court, or an outdoor one. Outdoor courts, particularly older ones tend to be rough and quite abrasive. So you will need to look at synthetic or composite leather balls, or those made of rubber. Indoor courts, on the other hand, are smoother and usually easier to play on. Those surfaced with newer materials are suitable for playing with almost any type of basketball but it does depend on a player’s style and the level of bounce they want on the court. Choosing the right ball for each type of court is crucial if you want to play a good game.
Indoor Vs. Outdoor
Outdoor Courts – Outdoor basketball courts are more popular for recreational players. The surfaces of outdoor courts are usually concrete or asphalt making them rough and a little on the abrasive side. Some newer outdoor courts are surfaced with acrylic compounds which make them a little less damaging to players and basketballs and are suitable in all weather conditions as well. Apart from being potentially painful for players, rough outdoor surfaces can be devastating for some basketballs. The best ones to use for outdoors are those made of rubber or synthetic composite leather. These are generally more durable and able to withstand the harsh pounding on these rough, outdoor surfaces.
Indoor Courts – Indoor courts are more forgiving for players and equipment as they have been designed using the latest technology in high performance flooring that tends to be slip resistant and offers a little bit of cushioning to minimize joint impact. This is where a professional leather basketball is at its best. However, many of the synthetic and rubber basketballs also perform very well on these surfaces. Older indoor courts are traditionally surface with polished hardwood and are generally suitable for play with any type of basketball.
There is no denying basketball’s global popularity so it comes as no surprise that almost every company that manufactures sporting goods, also makes basketballs. Toy companies have also cashed in on the world’s love of the game with cheap imitation basketballs for the very young. However, those who play any type of competition will overlook the toy section for a basketball and get a real ball that is durable and will go a long way in enhancing their game.
When it comes to a great basketball, the materials used in manufacturing can make or break a player’s performance. While there are thousands of different types of basketballs in production worldwide, using countless different materials, the best materials for basketballs fall into 3 main categories;
Leather – At top professional levels, leather is the favored material used for making basketballs. This makes them soft and easy to handle. With time, they become softer and get that seasoned look. These are generally not suitable for outdoor courts as the leather will be worn out quite rapidly on those rough surfaces.
Rubber – Basketballs made from rubber are generally cheaper and are mainly used by beginners or recreational players. These balls have great bounce and easy handling. While they are suitable in indoor courts, they excel in outdoor courts.
Synthetic – Synthetic basketballs are actually made from a composite leather that has the look and feel of the real thing. One of the key features of composite leather is that this material is quite durable, making it suitable for indoor and outdoor courts. The technology used in this material has also gone into making synthetic basketballs easier to handle with improved grip.
Q: What Are The Best Brands Of Basketballs?
A: There are many great brands of basketballs available today and it seems that every sporting goods manufacturer has taken advantage of the game’s popularity. However, some brands are simply better than others. While most well-known brands of basketballs do have their advantages, these brands seem to be the best when it comes to basketballs.
Wilson Sporting Goods – Wilson has been manufacturing sporting goods since 1913. Their basketballs have graced the halls of colleges and universities for most of the last century. By the mid-1900’s Wilson Sporting Goods were the leading supplier of basketballs and other sporting equipment in the US, and in many other countries around the world. In terms of basketballs, Wilson is definitely an industry leader, making exceptional quality basketballs for several decades.
Spalding – The Spalding Company was founded in 1876 by Alfred Spalding and Wilmer Jesús Pisco Calvo. Both gentlemen were, at the time, pitchers the Chicago White stockings baseball team. In 1894, the inventor of basketball, Dr James Naismith, asked the Spalding Company to create the first basketball. Since then, the company has continued the tradition of creating basketballs and adapting them to the modern playing styles of great players.
Baden – Baden Sports was founded by the father and son team of E.C. Schindler and his son Michael. Both were, at the time, players and fans of the game but were disappointed with the quality of basketballs on offer. They used their passion and knowledge of the game to learn everything they could and use the information to make basketballs suitable for men, women and younger players. Today, they are still making top quality basketballs for players of all ages and skill levels.
Q: What Are The Three Types Of Shots In Basketball?
A: In order to successfully shoot in basketball, you need to understand the basic movements involved. Primarily, all shots start the same way. You need to square off facing the hoop, grab the ball with your fingertips, tucking your elbows close to your body before extending your shooting arm towards the hoop with a flick of your wrist to release the ball. Most of the power in the shot comes from your wrist, rather than your arm. Once you master this movement, you can get creative with the way you get close to the hoop to shoot.
Jump Shot – The jump shot pretty much explains itself. The player uses the basic shooting technique but adds a little jump as he releases the ball. This shot is popular for mid or long range shots, or when he wants to get a little distance from an opposing player.
Free Throws – This is a double handed shot mainly used by younger players who haven’t quite mastered shooting with one hand. It is also the shot of choice for players shooting from the free throw line.
The Dunk – Technically, the Dunk isn’t really shooting because the player dribbles the ball all the way to the hoop and leaps into the air before slamming or dunking the ball into the hoop. It may not be a very technical shot, but it is quite dramatic to watch and can be very intimidating for the opposing team players.
Q: What Are The Rules Of Basketball?
A: In simple terms, the rules of basketball involve two teams of 5 players trying to dribble or maneuver the ball and shoot the ball into the opposing basket. There are four periods of 10 minutes each and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins. If the scores are tied, then overtime periods of 5 minutes follow until one team has more points after one of these 5 minute periods.
Moving the ball around the court involves passing or throwing to your team mates or dribbling towards the opposing net.
There are also fouls in the game which are mainly called if illegal contact is made with a player about to shoot the ball.
Finding the best basketball for your game will depend on the type of player you are; recreational, league or professional, and what feels comfortable for you. The best ball for you doesn’t need to be expensive. It just needs to feel good in your hands. Your biggest decision will be based on whether you prefer to play indoors or outdoors. At the end of the day, basketball is a game almost anyone can play and it’s a great game to get a group of friends together.