Basketball (ball)
A basketball is a spherical inflated ball
A ball is a round, usually spherical but sometimes ovoid, object with various uses. It is used in ball games, where the play of the game follows the state of the ball as it is hit, kicked or thrown by players. Balls can also be used for simpler activities, such as catch, marbles and juggling...

 used in the game of basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

. Basketballs typically range in size from very small promotional items only a few inches in diameter to extra large balls nearly a foot in diameter used in training exercises to increase the skill of players. The standard size of a basketball in the NBA is 29.5 to 29.875 in (74.9 to 75.9 cm) in circumference
The circumference is the distance around a closed curve. Circumference is a special perimeter.-Circumference of a circle:The circumference of a circle is the length around it....


Nearly all basketballs have an inflatable inner rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

 bladder, generally wrapped in layers of fiber and then covered with a tacky surface made either from leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

 (traditional), rubber, or a synthetic composite. As in most inflatable balls, there is a small opening to allow the pressure to be increased or decreased.

The surface of the ball is nearly always divided by "ribs" that are recessed below the surface of the ball in a variety of configurations and are generally a contrasting color
Color or colour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors...

. An orange surface with black
Black is the color of objects that do not emit or reflect light in any part of the visible spectrum; they absorb all such frequencies of light...

 ribs and a possible logo is the traditional color scheme of basketballs but they are sold in various colors.

Balls are generally designated for indoor (generally made of leather or absorbent composites), or all-surface use (generally made of rubber or durable composites, also known as Indoor/Outdoor balls). Indoor balls tend to be considerably more expensive than all-surface balls due to cost of materials. In addition, brand new all-leather indoor balls must be "broken in" first to achieve optimal grip before use in competition. The abrasiveness of asphalt and the dirt and moisture present in an outdoor setting will usually ruin an indoor ball within a very short period of time, which is why an indoor/outdoor ball is recommended for recreational players.

Aside from the court and the baskets, the basketball is the only piece of equipment necessary to play the game of basketball. During the game, the ball must be bounced continuously (dribbling), thrown through the air to other players (passing) and towards the basket (shooting). Therefore, the ball must be very durable and easy to hold on to. The basketball is also used to perform tricks (sometimes called freestyling), the most common of which are spinning the ball on the tip of one's index finger, dribbling in complex patterns, rolling the ball over one's shoulder, or performing aerobatic maneuvers with the ball while executing a slam dunk
Slam dunk
A slam dunk is a type of basketball shot that is performed when a player jumps in the air and manually powers the ball downward through the basket with one or both hands over the rim. This is considered a normal field goal attempt; if successful it is worth two points. The term "slam dunk" was...

, most notably in the context of a slam dunk contest
Slam Dunk Contest
The Slam Dunk Contest is an annual National Basketball Association competition held during the NBA All-Star Weekend. The contest was inaugurated by the American Basketball Association at its All-Star Game in 1976 in Denver, the same year the slam dunk was legalized in the NCAA...



In early December 1891, the chairman of the physical education department at the School for Christian Workers (now Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts
Springfield, Massachusetts
Springfield is the most populous city in Western New England, and the seat of Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers; the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern...

, instructed physical education teacher James Naismith
James Naismith
The first game of "Basket Ball" was played in December 1891. In a handwritten report, Naismith described the circumstances of the inaugural match; in contrast to modern basketball, the players played nine versus nine, handled a soccer ball, not a basketball, and instead of shooting at two hoops,...

, known to many as the inventor of basketball, to invent a new game to entertain the school's athletes in the winter season. Naismith assembled his class of 18 young men, appointed captains of two nine-player teams, and set in motion the first ever basketball game, played with a soccer ball and two peach baskets tacked to either end of the gymnasium.
The first purpose-built basketballs were made from panels of leather stitched together with a rubber bladder inside. A cloth lining was added to the leather for support and uniformity (identity). A molded version of the early basketball was invented in 1942.
From 1967 through 1976, the American Basketball Association (ABA) used a distinctive red, white and blue basketball that is still seen from time to time.
For many years, leather was the material of choice for basketball coverings, however in the late 1990s, composite materials were put forth and have rapidly gained acceptance in most leagues due to their superior performance in harsh outdoor game conditions. A survey in 2007 showed that there were approximately 300 million basketballs in the United States.

Modern-day specifications

Organized basketball leagues generally have very rigorous specifications for the balls to be used in official competition including weight
In science and engineering, the weight of an object is the force on the object due to gravity. Its magnitude , often denoted by an italic letter W, is the product of the mass m of the object and the magnitude of the local gravitational acceleration g; thus:...

, inflation pressure, bounce, circumference
The circumference is the distance around a closed curve. Circumference is a special perimeter.-Circumference of a circle:The circumference of a circle is the length around it....

, color, and materials used. Most leagues use very similar specifications for their balls which are referred to as size 7 (for men's competition) and size 6 (for women's competition) by manufacturers. However the specific wording and policy on manufacturers vary between leagues. Here are the official specifications for three popular leagues:
  • The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has very strict criteria for its certified basketballs: The ball must be size 7, bear the name of the manufacturer and a serial number. It must be made of either genuine or artificial/synthetic leather and must be free of toxic materials and materials which may cause allergic reactions, and must also be free of heavy metals and AZO colors, though FIBA does not specify a specific color for the ball. It must be between 749 millimetres (mm) and 780 mm (29.5-30.7 in) in circumference, it must bounce at least 1300 mm (51.2 in) when dropped from a height of 1800 mm (70.9 in) on a hard surface with a mass of more than 1 ton, and it must weigh between 567 grams (g) and 650 g (20-22.9 oz). The ball must also pass a battery of rigorous tests: a fatigue test where it is bounced 20,000 times at a reference pressure without leaking any air, and then perform to specification when dropped from the reference height (1800 mm); a heat test where it is stored in a room for 7 days at 70 Celsius (158 Fahrenheit) and show no difference in appearance or performance; a valve test where a dry inflation needle is inserted into the ball 100 times and the ball must not show any leakage afterwards; and a friction
    Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, and/or material elements sliding against each other. There are several types of friction:...

     test where the outer surface must match or exceed friction requirements or perform to the testers' satisfaction in a practice game. The manufacturer of the ball must have been certified by FIBA, which entails submitting balls for testing and paying a $3,000 testing fee, paying $13,000 per year in licensing fees, and printing the FIBA logo on each ball. Any manufacturer may submit for testing and certification.
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has less stringent requirements: The ball must measure between 29.5 and 30 inches (749–762 mm) in circumference, bounce between 49 and 54 inches (1245–1372 mm) when dropped from a height of 6 feet (1829 mm), and must weigh between 20 and 22 ounce
    The ounce is a unit of mass with several definitions, the most commonly used of which are equal to approximately 28 grams. The ounce is used in a number of different systems, including various systems of mass that form part of the imperial and United States customary systems...

    s (567–624 g) for men's competition (size 7), and measure between 28.5 and 29 inches (724–737 mm) in circumference , bounce between 51 and 56 inches (1295–1422 mm) when dropped from a height of 6 feet (1829 mm), and must weigh between 18 and 20 ounces (510–567 g) for women's competition (Size 6). Though the NCAA does not specify a particular manufacturer for the ball in regular season play, the Wilson SOLUTION basketball is the official basketball of the NCAA tournament.
  • The National Basketball Association (NBA) allows only one official ball: The ball must be the official NBA game ball manufactured by Spalding. The ball is orange in color, 29.5 (749 mm) inches in circumference and weighs 22 ounces (624 g) (size 7). It must also be inflated to between 7.5 and 8.5 pounds per square inch. Starting in the 2006 season, the NBA switched to a new ball from Spalding that had a synthetic surface and a modified rib pattern (See section below). Until 2005 the ball had a leather surface. On December 11, 2006 the NBA decided to revert to the old leather ball due to numerous player complaints, lawsuits and injuries, mostly scratched hands, from the synthetic ball. Spalding has manufactured the official NBA game ball since 1983.
  • The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) has similar requirements to the NBA: The ball must be the official WNBA game ball manufactured by Spalding. The ball must be orange and white in color, between 28.5 and 29 inches (724–737 mm) in circumference and weigh between 18 and 20 ounces (510–567 g) (size 6).


Spalding (sports equipment)
Spalding is a sporting goods company founded by Albert Spalding in Chicago, Illinois, in 1876 and now headquartered in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The company specializes in the production of balls for many sports, but is most-known for its basketballs...

 was the first company to produce a basketball for official use. Company founder A.G. Spalding
Albert Spalding
Albert Goodwill Spalding was a professional baseball player, manager and co-founder of A.G. Spalding sporting goods company.-Biography:...

 made the first dedicated basketball in the last years of the 19th century at the behest of James Naismith. It has produced basketballs since that time and has produced the NBA’s official game ball since 1983. The company also produces a wide variety of balls for the consumer market, most notably its INFUSION ball which has a built-in pump to maintain proper inflation.

In June 2006 the NBA announced that Spalding would be introducing a new official game ball for play beginning in the 2006 season. It was made from a microfiber composite with moisture management that was supposed to provide better grip and feel. However, there were several complaints about the new basketball. Many players complained that the new ball was slippery, hard to hold and that the increased friction caused cuts on player's hands. Many elite players called for the NBA to bring back the old ball, even bringing a grievance to the National Labor Relations Board
National Labor Relations Board
The National Labor Relations Board is an independent agency of the United States government charged with conducting elections for labor union representation and with investigating and remedying unfair labor practices. Unfair labor practices may involve union-related situations or instances of...

 to revert to the original leather ball. On December 11, 2006, NBA commissioner David Stern
David Stern
David Joel Stern is the commissioner of the National Basketball Association. He started with the Association in 1966 as an outside counsel, joined the NBA in 1978 as General Counsel, and became the league's Executive Vice President in 1980. He became Commissioner in 1984 succeeding Larry O'Brien...

 announced that the NBA would switch back to the old leather model starting at the beginning of 2007. In 2007, Spalding became the Official Basketball Provider of the Ball4Real
Ball4Real was the name of a traveling basketball exhibition and competition which made its debut in June 2007. A group of well known streetball players traveled from city to city to challenge teams composed of local talent...

 World Tour.

Spalding will be the new supplier for NBL (Australia)
National Basketball League (Australia)
The National Basketball League, also known as the iiNet NBL Championship for sponsorship reasons, is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in Australasia....

 in 2010.


Molten Corporation
is a sports equipment and automotive parts company based in Hiroshima, Japan.Their football, basketball, volleyball and handball are often used for official matches, games and competitions...

, a Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese sporting goods manufacturer, has the current contract to provide game balls for:
  • All FIBA world championships and continental qualifying events.
  • All FIBA Asia
    FIBA Asia
    FIBA Asia is a zone within the International Basketball Federation which contains all 44 Asian FIBA federations.-National teams:East AsiaGulfMiddle AsiaSoutheast AsiaWest Asia-Top ten FIBA Asia teams:...

  • Many domestic leagues, including Argentina
    Liga Nacional de Básquetbol
    The Liga Nacional de Básquet is the top level of the Argentine basketball league system. The league is controlled by the Basketball Clubs' Association...

    , Uruguay
    Liga Uruguaya de Basketball
    The Liga Uruguaya de Basketball is the most important basketball league from Uruguay.-List of Champions:...

    , England, Greece
    The Hellenic Basketball Clubs Association, abbreviated as HEBA, is a governing body for basketball in Greece. In Greek, it is known as the ΕΣΑΚΕ. It directs the 30 pro Greek basketball sports clubs of the HEBA A1 and the HEBA A2 divisions, and oversees the HEBA Greek All Star Game...

    , Indonesia
    National Basketball League (Indonesia)
    The National Basketball League , in Indonesian: Liga Bola Basket Nasional, often abbreviated to the NBL, is the pre-eminent men's basketball league in Indonesia, competed by 10 clubs across the country. It is organised by DBL Indonesia and sanctioned by Perbasi...

    , Italy, Lithuania
    Lietuvos Krepšinio Lyga
    The Lietuvos krepšinio lyga is Lithuania's premier professional men's basketball league, composed of 12 teams.- History :...

    , the Philippines
    Philippine Basketball Association
    The Philippine Basketball Association , is a men's professional basketball league in the Philippines composed of 10 company-branded franchised teams. It is the first and oldest professional basketball league in Asia and the second oldest in the world after the NBA...

    , Poland (women's)
    PLKK is a Polish female basketball league. The league also uses sponsors' names.- PLKK names in previous seasons :* 2006-still Ford Germaz Ekstraklasa...

    , and Portugal
    Portuguese Basketball League (LCB)
    The Liga Portuguesa de Basquetebol is the top men’s basketball league in Portugal. From the 2008-09 season onwards, the competition will be organized once again by the Federação Portuguesa de Basquetebol after 13 seasons. This was caused by the fold of the LCB, after many years of financial...


Through the 2006-07 season, it had the contract to provide balls for both Europe-wide competitions organised by ULEB
ULEB was founded in 1991, with the aim to help in the cooperation and development of European professional club basketball leagues...

, the Euroleague
Euroleague Basketball, commonly known as the Euroleague, is the highest level tier and most important professional club basketball competition in Europe, with teams from up to 18 different countries, members of FIBA Europe. For sponsorship reasons, for five seasons starting with 2010–2011, it is...

 and ULEB Cup (now the Eurocup). However, ULEB has now signed Nike
Nike, Inc.
Nike, Inc. is a major publicly traded sportswear and equipment supplier based in the United States. The company is headquartered near Beaverton, Oregon, which is part of the Portland metropolitan area...

 as its ball provider.
Molten's top-of-the line product is the GL7/GL6, a leather ball with a distinctive 12-panel design, a high-density cushioning foam below the surface and special soft rubber seams, a flatter pebbled finish providing increased contact area and a flattened seam between the panels (called a "Full-Flat Seam").
Molten also produces a wide variety of balls at all price points for the consumer market.


Wilson Sporting Goods
The Wilson Sporting Goods Company is a sports equipment manufacturer based in Chicago, Illinois, and currently is a foreign subsidiary of the Finnish company Amer Sports....

's top-of-the-line product is the SOLUTION ball, named for its ability to absorb moisture over the course of a game and retain its grip. The ball is the official ball of all NCAA
National Collegiate Athletic Association
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a semi-voluntary association of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States...

 postseason tournaments, most notably the men's
NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship
The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship is a single-elimination tournament held each spring in the United States, featuring 68 college basketball teams, to determine the national championship in the top tier of college basketball...

 and women's
NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship
The NCAA Women's Division I Championship is an annual college basketball tournament for women. Held each April, the Women's Championship was inaugurated in the 1981–82 season...

 Division I tournaments, and is used by many NCAA teams during the season as well by many high school leagues. Like Spalding, Wilson produces a variety of balls for the consumer market as well.


Rawlings (company)
Rawlings is a sports equipment manufacturing company in the United States. It was founded in 1887. The parent company is Jarden, Inc. Rawlings specializes in baseball equipment, but also manufactures softball, basketball, training equipment and American footballs...

 has manufactured basketballs since 1902. The company is known for producing a 10-panel ball (known as the TEN), along with traditional 8-panel balls. The TEN basketball is the official ball of the Amateur Athletic Union
Amateur Athletic Union
The Amateur Athletic Union is one of the largest non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs.-History:The AAU was founded in 1888 to...

 and the "Gus Macker
Gus Macker
The Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament is a nationwide event for players of a variety of age and skill levels in the United States. Although every tournament is different, a typical Gus Macker event involves dozens of temporary courts set up in parking lots or closed-off public streets...

", the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...



Nike, Inc.
Nike, Inc. is a major publicly traded sportswear and equipment supplier based in the United States. The company is headquartered near Beaverton, Oregon, which is part of the Portland metropolitan area...

, as noted earlier, now has the contract to produce balls for ULEB (including the Euroleague). In the Philippines it is used in the NCAA and UAAP as the official ball of the tournament. All these competitions use the Nike 4005 Official Tournament Balls.

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