What Basketball Does the NBA Use?

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) has been around since 1946, but it wasn’t until recently that they switched up their equipment.

You’d expect that the reason behind this would be because of player complaints about discomfort using the old basketballs, but this isn’t actually the case here.

More on that in a minute.

So what exactly does the NBA use now?

Read on to find out!

The basketball that the NBA currently uses is the Wilson NBA Official Game basketball. It was unveiled as the league’s new ball right before the anniversary of the NBA’s 75th campaign.

It features a similar material composition and eight-panel configuration just like its predecessor from the Spalding manufacturer.

Let’s dig in a bit more to discover what this basketball is really about.

Wilson official NBA basketball 2021

what basketball does the NBA use - wilson official game ball

The new model seems to be all anyone can talk about.

New Wilson logo

It looks distinctly different from previous basketballs, particularly because it incorporates Wilson’s anthracite-lined logo along with the NBA’s iconic brand mark.

One plus point here is that the improved visual graphics make the ball look so much more tempting to have a play with.

As fans we’ve been so used to seeing the Spalding name embedded onto NBA basketballs that we end up slightly surprised when a totally different brand partnership comes along.

In fact, the NBA and Spalding had a collaboration agreement that spanned more than 30 years!

Recognised colour

The ball comes in a colour combination of brown and inflated display, which is just how previous NBA basketballs have looked as well.

So, there’s a bit of consistency when it comes to visual aspects of the ball.

This will also certainly help fans keep track of games while at the arena.

And there are many reasons why people love Wilson’s ball.

Improved bounce

One of these reasons is that it appears to have better bounce.

That means that if you’re looking to get down low during a fast break or slam home a shot, you’ll definitely notice the difference between this ball and its predecessor.

Video review of Wilson’s Official Game Ball

Check out the video below, as it showcases this ball in all its glory.

Why did the NBA switch to Wilson basketballs?

The reasons for the NBA deciding to end its deal with Spalding are not quite clear cut.

Wilson originally supplied the league with game balls for its first 37 years of existence, before Spalding took over the contract in 1983 and carried on being the official manufacturer for the next 37 years.

However, Wilson’s general manager Kevin Murphy spoke about consistency with regard to having a long-term business partnership with the NBA.

Here’s exactly what he had to say about the matter:

“For the NBA and the players association — I think everybody wanted consistency. The idea behind the change wasn’t about fixing a problem, it was a bigger partnership transition. The ball on the court is the most important thing and we have to deliver. For us, consistency is king.”

Source – New York Daily News

So, it simply looks like a purely competitive play by the NBA who are focused on creating new innovations, and nothing to do with the previous Spalding ball being of poor specification.

What is the official NBA basketball size?

If you want to know precisely how large of a basketball the official NBA version measures, here it is:

  • Circumference – 29.5 inches (75 centimetres)
  • Weight – 22 ounces

These numbers may seem fairly standard compared to other brands, but once again, the main thing that matters is comfort.

Because players spend so much time running across the court, having a lightweight yet durable ball is essential.

In terms of the manufacturing process, Wilson’s company creates each of its balls by hand.

Once the raw materials arrive, workers assemble everything together by hand.

Each part must pass strict quality tests to ensure that only top-quality basketballs leave production.

What is the price of a Wilson NBA basketball?

It varies depending on what kind you choose to buy.

A general rule of thumb is that higher-tier balls cost more money, so you should expect to pay more for yours too.

On Wilson’s website, they list the price of an official NBA game basketball as $199.95.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing they seem to have run out of stock of these basketballs.

That basically tells you how popular they are.

You’re in luck though, especially because the retail powerhouse called Amazon.com exists!

Although they don’t seem to offer the NBA’s official game ball, they have a number of indoor and outdoor options worth considering.

Check out the products below:

Final thoughts

This article has covered what specific basketball the NBA uses and highlighted certain elements of its design.

Should you wish to go ahead and purchase this ball, there are some options available on Amazon.

Alternatively, if you’re one of those basketball players who reminisces the good times with Spalding as the official ball sponsor, then you can check out our product roundup article that reviews the finest Spalding basketballs.

Lastly, if you’ve found this post useful, consider checking out our other articles on whether height matters in basketball and whether basketball games can end in a tie.

About Samuel Waihenya

Samuel 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. Have a read through Samuel Waihenya's author bio page here.