The Best Wilson Basketballs for Court Play [2022 Buying Guide]

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The Wilson brand has been part of American basketball history for a number of decades.

You see, Wilson Sporting Goods has twice partnered with the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Back in 2020, they took over from Spalding as the NBA’s official basketball sponsor.

And in addition to that, they have a deeply entrenched relationship with this division that stems from as far back as 1946, when Wilson manufactured the first basketballs for the league.

Here’s a quick quote from the NBA’S president of global partnerships – Salvatore LaRocca – that backs up this point:

“We were partners for 37 seasons dating back to when Wilson manufactured the first official NBA basketballs in 1946, and we look forward to growing the game of basketball together.”

Source – NBA.com

If Wilson basketballs are used on a regular basis by the professionals at the highest levels of the sport, then surely, they must offer great durability and performance, right?

This article is going to answer this question by taking a closer look at the best Wilson basketballs that you can get your hands on today.

For starters, check out the comparison table below as it summarizes the top recommendations:

Image

Product

Features

 Rating


Our #1 Rated

Wilson Evolution Game Basketball

Cushion core carcass

Advanced microfiber composite cover

84%

Best Premium

Wilson NCAA Evo NXT Game Basketball

Extended range tech

Composite pebbled channels

79%

Best Budget 

Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball

Cushion core

Laid-in leather channels

74%

Wilson NBA DRV Series Basketballs

Inflation retention lining

Rugged performance cover

72%

Overall, the award for the best Wilson basketball has to go to the Wilson Evolution Game Basketball. Its laid in composite channels and high definition pebbling which give players a smooth feel and fantastic grip that doesn’t degrade with continued use of the ball.

However, the competition for top spot is arguably quite tight, because the Wilson NCAA Evo NXT Game Basketball is also a great option for any prospective buyer and wouldn’t look out of place as the number one pick either.

Now then, let’s dig a little deeper to see what these Wilson basketballs are all about!

1. WILSON Evolution Game Basketball

You can actually run out of superlatives to describe just how amazing this basketball is!

On first glance, the Wilson Evolution Game Basketball doesn’t look much different from your run-of-the-mill basketball that you can pick up from a Walmart for cheap.

The color options certainly don’t leave much to the imagination, as all the different style variations of this ball are mainly covered in the typical orange-brown shade that you expect to see on a basketball.

But beyond its basic appearance, this ball delivers on the court in a number of ways.

Read on to find out how.

Cushion core carcass

If you break down this concept to its simplest form, the basketball that you see in the picture is super soft!

But of course, that’s not the way Wilson’s marketing team wants to portray this.

What they’ve done here is use their proprietary Cushion Core TechnologyTM to combine low density sponge rubber and ultra durably butyl rubber.

The end result of that is a ball that feels exceptional to the touch due to its unparalleled smoothness, along with it being excellent to grip.

Advanced microfiber composite cover

Grip and durability have been heavily emphasized by the way in which Wilson have developed this ball.

Players want to be able to feel the tackiness on the ball and the Premium Evo Microfiber composite cover helps achieve just that.

This is aided by high definition pebbling on the basketball’s exterior, which enhances the overall feel of the ball when it’s bounced on the ground and gripped by the palms of your hand.

Laid-in composite channels

Another innovative feature that’s been incorporated into the design of this ball is the laid-in composite channeling.

These help to create a consistent feel and texture over the entire outer surface of the basketball.

And that in itself offers unmatched levels of ball control.

NFHS approved

Another impressive thing about this basketball is the fact that it’s approved for play by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Now this is no easy feat to achieve.

Every ball that’s approved by this association undergoes lots of stringent performance testing to ensure that factors such as bounce uniformity, shape retention and moisture uptake (or the lack of it) are in order.

Video review

Check out the clip below as it illustrates what this ball looks and feels like:

Other specifications

  • Channel construction – laid in composite leather
  • Cover construction – microfiber composite leather
  • Ball size – size 5 (27.5”), size 6 (28.5”) and official size 7 (29.5”)
  • Playing surface – indoors
Benefits
  • The composite leather material is soft to the touch
  • Bounce is consistent on indoor surfaces
  • Excellent fingertip grip that doesn’t degrade with continued use of the ball
  • Comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Holds up very well over time with regular usage – i.e. no deformities or bulges form if used appropriately
Drawbacks
  • Slightly expensive which may put it out of the budget range for the price conscious consumers

2. WILSON NCAA Replica Game Basketball

WILSON NCAA Replica Game Basketball
  • Whether you're playing in The Final Four or lunchtime pick-up, the ball matters. There is no other ball that can offer the Final Four quality and craftsmanship at a price no fan would argue with. This ball features the same patented technologies that you find on the NCAA Official Game Ball. A moisture absorbing cover is specially designed for indoor/outdoor play combined with Laid In Channels and our Cushion Core, make this ball a favorite of competitive players everywhere.
  • Replica of the NCAA Game Ball
  • Moisture absorbing material offers superior grip ability designed for indoor/outdoor play

Up next we have the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball.

Quite interestingly, this is the official ball that’s used for NCAA March Madness.

If you don’t happen to know what that is, then read on for a bit of an explanation.

When it comes to basketball, March Madness is the time of the year where the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments are held.

This is an exciting time of the year for players in this sport, as it marks the period when 68 college-level basketball teams from all across America step up to try and win the single-elimination tournament.

What makes it extra special is that millions of people follow the action from their television screens, because multiple matches are played simultaneously over the course of three weeks.

Anyway, that’s enough background information about March Madness!

Let’s get on to the particulars of this basketball.

Cushion core

This is a sponge-like core contained within the ball.

First of all, its presence gives the ball an extra softness that players appreciate.

And to add on to that, the cushion core makes the basketball a lot easier to control when compared against the basketballs made by competing manufacturers, which feature stiffer cores.

Furthermore, because the cushion core is complemented by a high-performance composite leather cover, you also get a top coating that is strong and durable enough to withstand moderate to heavy use on all sorts of indoor or outdoor court surfaces.

Laid-in composite leather channels

Another strong point of this basketball is evident when it comes to the channeling.

The textured composite channels on this one provide a very complete pebbled surface coverage that maximizes the number of grip points that the ball has to offer.

So, grabbing this ball and holding on to it shouldn’t be a problem for players of any experience level.

Video review

Here’s a brief review that breaks down how this ball comes right out of the box, as well as how it performs on the court:

Other specifications

  • Bladder – pressure lock
  • Channel construction – textured composite channels
  • Outer cover – high performance composite leather
  • Playing surface – indoor and outdoor
  • Ball size – official size 7 (29.5”) and intermediate (28.5”)
Benefits
  • Hefty bounce which is great
  • The ball is soft and comes with plenty of grip
  • Does not attract dust when played with outdoors, and even when it is dirty the deep channels help out a lot here
  • Comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty from Wilson Sporting Goods
  • Fairly decent price point
Drawbacks
  • The inflation nozzle is not exactly flush with the ball, which you can feel when you touch it or notice when the ball changes direction slightly upon a single bounce

You can also have a look at some of the alternative NCAA basketballs below, as there are some great options for outdoor play here as well:

WILSON NCAA Replica Game Basketball - Red/White/Blue, Official - 29.5"
  • Replica of the NCAA Game Ball
  • Moisture absorbing material offers superior gripability designed for indoor/outdoor play
  • Laid In Composite Channels provides a 100% composite cover
WILSON Sporting Goods WILSON NCAA Final Four Edition Basketball, Official - 29.5",WTB1233
  • Ncaa Final Four Edition Basketball
  • High Definition Pebble - Improved Grip
  • Deep Channel Construction
WILSON NCAA Killer Crossover Basketball - Black/White, Size 7 - 29.5"
  • All Surface Cover and Deep Channel Construction improves grip
  • Premium Carcass Construction for excellent rebound and durability
  • Ideal for the recreational player

3. WILSON NCAA Evo NXT Game Basketball

Another basketball that is well worth the review is the Wilson NCAA Evo NXT Game Basketball.

This ball is pretty much the dream invention for college basketball shooters.

On first glance, it actually doesn’t look like much.

The electric orange aesthetic is just the sort of appearance that you’ll see on any other standard basketball.

And even though Wilson went for a brighter color on this ball to aid visibility and track the flow of court play – particularly when playing basketball at night – that’s not the feature that will convince you that this product is a must have.

For the good bits, you’ll need to read this review further.

Extended range tech

To begin with, Wilson Sporting Goods really went the extra mile to ensure that this ball is optimally balanced.

Here they’ve used revolutionary extended range tech to make sure that the eight of the ball is redistributed evenly with a super soft core construction which rests within it.

What this does is allow players to effortlessly generate more spin on the ball with each shot that they take.

More so, the super soft core of the ball provides extra cushioning that allows your fingers to dig themselves deeper into the ball surface for elevated levels of control and superior feel.

The end result here is a basketball that accommodates shooters in ways that you’ve never seen before, as those long range three-point shots taken from distant territory become much easier to make.

Composite pebbled channels

This ball just keeps getting better and better the more that it’s talked about!

You see, Wilson made sure to incorporate composite pebbled channels as these create a consistent surface texture for the ball.

And the benefit of that is evident, because that consistent surface texture easily displaces moisture that tries to stick onto it.

To add on to that, the pebbled channels provide players with fantastic grip, which ultimately affords them even greater control when it comes to catching the ball, dribbling it and taking shots.

Embedded microscopic texture layer

Finally, Wilson included a micro-touch cover on the ball for moisture management.

How it works is that extra layer of texture on the pebbled cover creates double-layered grip that effectively serves to channel moisture away from the ball.

So, even if you’re a player that sweats a lot, you can rest assured that this embedded layer will minimize the amount of sweat that drips onto the surface of the ball, affording you better overall control when in hand.

Video review

Take a look at this comprehensive unboxing video, as it details everything about this ball from its retail packaging to how it performs in terms of grip:

Without a doubt, this ball is perhaps the best Wilson basketball for indoor play on those iconic hardwood floors.

Other specifications

  • Channel construction – composite pebbled channels
  • Outer cover – micro-touch composite leather
  • Internal construction – super soft core
  • Playing surface – indoor
  • Ball size – intermediate size 6 (28.5”) and official size 7 (29.5”)
Benefits
  • The ball has great grip, as it doesn’t get slick when wet or when handled by a bunch of sweaty players during a causal pickup session
  • Comes with one-year manufacturer warranty
  • Bright orange color delivers better on-court optics in terms of visuals and detection for players
  • NFHS and NCAA approved
Drawbacks
  • Fairly expensive

4. WILSON NBA DRV Series Outdoor Basketballs

WILSON NBA DRV Series Basketballs
  • Wilson NBA DRV Series Basketball - DRV, Brown, Size 4 - 25.5"
  • NBA OFFICIAL: Wilson is the official basketball of the NBA. This ball features official NBA branding coupled with the iconic Wilson script
  • PERFORMANCE COVER: Outdoor cover designed for grip on rough surfaces

Lastly, we have the DRV Series Outdoor Basketballs by Wilson.

This group consists of:

  • Standard DRV;
  • DRV Plus; and
  • DRV Pro

Obviously, the plus and pro versions of this basketball are of higher spec and they’ll certainly command a higher price.

At first glance, you’ll notice the stylized granite design of these basketballs, as they appear in a fresh style that would make them stand out on any court.

But let’s briefly talk about what all of the three aforementioned types have to offer in terms of performance.

Inflation retention lining

Wilson added an inflation retention lining to this basketball to give it longer lasting air retention.

The last thing you’d want as a player using this ball outdoors is having to pump it up after every couple of hours because the air pressure keeps on dropping.

And that’s where the lining does its job, by securing all the air inside the basketball and preventing it from escaping (i.e. at least at a very slow and unnoticeable rate).

Rugged performance cover

Wilson delivers durability with this basketball through its rugged performance cover.

The all-surface rubber exterior is designed for regular usability on outdoor courts, and its built to stand up to the natural elements too.

More so, the cover delivers good grip on rough outdoor playing surfaces.

Other specifications

  • Bladder – pressure lock
  • Channel construction – NBA Pro seams
  • Outer cover – all surface rubber
  • Internal construction – standard
  • Playing surface – outdoor
  • Ball sizes – mini (22”); size 4 (25.5”) up to official size 7 (29.5”)
Benefits
  • Comes with one-year manufacturer warranty
  • The packaging also contains a Wilson-branded inflation pump and an accompanying valve needle
  • Easy to spot on the court because of the different color
  • Decent grip
Drawbacks
  • Ships deflated so you’ll have to pump it up before first use

Other Wilson basketballs you should look at

Now, of course we can’t provide in-depth coverage for every basketball that Wilson has ever made!

The purpose of this article is to provide extensive reviews for the best options and leave consumers with a bit more choice beyond that by listing some alternatives that may be worth buying.

Here are some of those other options:

WILSON NBA Forge Series Indoor/Outdoor Basketball - Forge, Blue Grey, Size 7 - 29.5"
  • Wilson NBA Forge Series Indoor/Outdoor Basketball - Forge, Blue Grey, Size 7 - 29.5"
  • NBA OFFICIAL: Wilson is the official basketball of the NBA. This ball features official NBA branding coupled with the iconic Wilson script
  • PURE FEEL COVER: Pro-level feel and durability
WILSON NBA Team Tribute Basketball - Chicago Bulls, Size 7 - 29.5"
  • Wilson NBA Team Tribute Basketball - Chicago Bulls, Size 7 - 29.5"
  • NBA OFFICIAL: Wilson is the official basketball of the NBA. This ball features official NBA branding coupled with the iconic Wilson script
  • PERFORMANCE COVER: Outdoor cover designed for grip on rough surfaces
Wilson WNBA Heir Series Basketball - Smoke Outdoor, Size 6 - 28.5"
  • Wilson WNBA Heir Series Basketball - Smoke Outdoor, Size 6 - 28.5"
  • WNBA OFFICIAL: Wilson is the official basketball of the WNBA. This ball features official WNBA branding coupled with the iconic Wilson script
  • SMOKE DESIGN: Bold design with inspired the bold play of the WNBA
WILSON NBA Authentic Series Basketball - Indoor/Outdoor, Size 7 - 29.5"
  • Wilson NBA Authentic Series Basketball - Indoor/Outdoor, Size 7 - 29.5"
  • NBA OFFICIAL: Wilson is the official basketball of the NBA. This ball features official NBA branding coupled with the iconic Wilson script
  • PURE FEEL COVER: Pro-level feel and durability

What to consider before choosing a Wilson basketball

This roundup post would not be complete without a little buying guide section that helps steer you towards the correct purchase for your needs.

Believe it or not, it’s not all about looking at the options and deciding which one to pick based on the price points.

Here are some other factors that you need to take into account.

Material feel

wilson basketball considerations - material feel

The choice that you’ll be presented with is rubber versus composite leather.

Of course, you want the ball to feel soft as you bounce it with the palm of your hand, which you will find is much more apparent on composite leather basketballs that have an even surface texture with more precise pebbling.

Conversely, if how the ball feels in your hand isn’t that important to you, then you can just opt for a standard rubber Wilson basketball instead.

Ball size

If you’re buying the ball for your child, then you’ll want to go with a Wilson ball that comes in smaller sizes.

Some listings even have mini sized options (i.e. 22”) which could be great for your child to develop their skills all whilst their bones are still quite fragile.

Location of play

wilson basketball considerations - location of play

Do you have access to an indoor playing facility?

If so, then you’ll want to buy a Wilson basketball that’s built exclusively for hardwood flooring.

Such a ball will give you the best combination of bounce and grip that you can ask for.

On the flip side, if you like to play basketball outside come rain or shine, then an outdoor basketball would be a much better fit for you.

Using an indoor basketball on an outdoor surface can destroy the outer material of the ball due to the fact that it’s not meant to withstand the wear and tear that surfaces like concrete and asphalt inflict.

But also bear in mind that any Wilson basketball that’s been labelled as outdoor can do a fair job when it comes to use indoors as well.

Is a Wilson basketball good?

Clearly, the basketball brand that’s used by America’s highest-level basketball division (i.e. the NBA) is obviously good enough.

Whether you want a Wilson basketball for recreational play or competitive action, there’s an option out there for you.

Over the years the company have solidified their reputation as one of the best manufacturers of basketballs as they continue to deliver when it comes to durability and performance.

Is Wilson the best basketball brand?

This one is a bit more debatable.

Wilson is the official NBA basketball sponsor, but it does face stiff competition in this market segment.

Major players like Spalding and Nike are competing for a slice of the basketball pie with their own product ranges which are arguably just as good as what Wilson has to offer themselves.

In fact, you can see this for yourself by reading through our comprehensive product roundup of the best Spalding basketballs and our review article on the best Nike basketballs.

There are a number of picks in that post which you’ll be astounded by!

About Content Man

Content Man is an avid fan of basketball and has been following the sport for over 10 years. He now intends to dedicate his time to produce great content for his own little basketball blog that aims to help its readership with whatever basketball-related topic they can think of.