Best basketballs around
March 25, 2013 5:21 PM   Subscribe

As March Madness is here, want to get a basketball as a gift. What's the best basketball on the market?

While I don't want to spend a fortune, not too picky on price. Also understand there's a difference between indoor and outdoor usage, and plan on mainly using ball at gym, with some occasional outside games. Am thinking of something like the basketball closest to Nokona baseball gloves or Leatherhead footballs...
posted by neoist to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
I won't really have a useful answer, sorry. So, way back in the day when I was playing basketball several hours every day, I kept two kinds of balls around. For indoor use it was only a Spalding official NBA ball. They are expensive and take time to work in the leather but it is the basketball. The feel of it is like no other ball (and apparently for people who have never played competitive ball it even feels wrong or foreign to them). You never ever use this ball outdoors.

For outdoor play I just kept several cheap-o balls around. I didn't really care -- rubber, worn-out leather, whatever. It was outdoor use so as long as the grip was decent and it held air I didn't really care.

These days you have these fancy composite balls that I think are supposed to be good for indoor and outdoor play. But I have read reports that they fall apart pretty quickly when used outside. So again, maybe Spalding's outdoor rubber ball might be the way to go.

Basically what I'm saying is that you need a nice, expensive indoor ball and then a much less-expensive outdoor ball.

Like I said, probably not such a useful answer. Except that maybe you can't go wrong with a nice Spalding.
posted by bfootdav at 6:31 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

To me 'best' means the actual ball the NBA uses:
NBA Game Ball
$110 from this outlet.
posted by LonnieK at 6:33 PM on March 25, 2013

If you are stuck on a cheaper indoor, this is probably the best. (Wilson NCAA)
posted by sandmanwv at 6:40 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd agree that the NBA game ball is pretty much the best thing going, I'd hate to ruin it outside. We did that back when we were kids and, once it starts to get worn by playing outside, it's actually horrible and a waste of good money. Outside, it's always been the NCAA indoor/outdoor, though the link above went to the Evolution, an indoor ball. The NCAA indoor/outdoor is a seriously tough ball with great grip, but it doesn't have the feel of leather. I haven't spent much time with the composites like the Spaulding Zi/O. Maybe someone else here has.
posted by advicepig at 6:53 PM on March 25, 2013

My experience is that indoor/outdoor balls are fine, but it's not worth spending the money to get a decent ball if you're going to use it outside at all. Even using it outside once can change the texture of the ball dramatically.

I'd get a decent composite ball from any of Spalding or Wilson for around $50-60 and a cheapo ball (composite preferably or rubber if you must) for playing outside. The Wilson Evolution comes to mind as a good ball in that range. If you're up for spending more than that then you might as well grab a leather game ball.

Double check that it's regulation size -- size 7 or 29.5 inches.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 7:03 PM on March 25, 2013

This Nike ball isn't as fancy as the official ball, but it will last a lot longer and be easier to handle. All the old guys at my Y swear by it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:48 PM on March 25, 2013

I play every Sunday with a bunch of ex-, and occasionally, current college players. The Wilson Evolution balls always are silently picked for use despite many other nice balls available.
posted by lpsguy at 7:35 PM on March 26, 2013

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