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The Best Basketballs - 2020

Last updated on October 26, 2020
Best Basketballs

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Our Picks For The Top Basketballs

Show Contents
Our Take
  Best All-Around

Wilson Evolution Official Size Game Basketball

Wilson

Evolution Official Size Game Basketball

Overall Take

Easy-Grip RimThe design of these basketballs makes them easy to grip around the rim to improve your gameplay.

  Most Comfortable

Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor 29.5-Inch Basketball

Spalding

NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor 29.5-Inch Basketball

Overall Take

All-Purpose BallWhether you're shooting hoops with your kids or putting together a team, this basketball is an all-purpose option that will suit your needs.

  Best for Night Games

GlowCity 29.5-Inch LED Light Up Basketball

GlowCity

29.5-Inch LED Light Up Basketball

Overall Take

Lights UpKeep your eye on the ball at all times with this basketball, which lights up to add a little spark to your game.

  Best for Beginners

AND1 Xcelerate 29.5-Inch Rubber Basketball & Pump

AND1

Xcelerate 29.5-Inch Basketball & Pump

Overall Take

Pump IncludedYou'll get easy shipping with this ball, which arrives deflated but comes with a pump that you can use even after the original inflation.

Avatar
Guide written by Stephanie Faris
Last updated on October 26, 2020

You only need two things to shoot hoops: a hoop and a basketball. If you want to play against someone else, you’ll need at least one other player, as well. But if you have a hoop handy, you may find that you can’t always access basketballs, especially if you play at the park or in your own backyard.

But as you start shopping around for a basketball, you’ll quickly realize there are many variations. The top consideration of any basketball is grip. You’ll want a basketball that resists slipping around to make sure when you finally do gain control of the ball, you don’t accidentally drop it. For that reason, most basketballs feature a textured surface that’s easier to grip.

Comfort is also a consideration. Some basketballs are built to allow you to easily grasp them, with slight indentations that help you grab on. If you play recreationally, or you’re new to the game and want comfort as you get started, this can be a great choice. It’s important to keep in mind if you play on a team, though, that you may get used to playing this way, only to have to adjust to a ball without this feature at game time.

The Best Basketballs

1
  Best All-Around

Wilson Evolution Official Size Game Basketball

A cushioned core carcass gives this basketball a softer feel, and the design makes it easier to grip around the rim. The composite is made from microfiber, which not only provides comfort but also ensures it lasts through many games and practices. The design also ensures consistency across the entire surface, giving you great control during gameplay.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Wilson
Model
2
  Most Comfortable

Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor 29.5-Inch Basketball

This basketball features a foam-backed design that keeps it comfortable without sacrificing functionality. It's designed for both outdoor and indoor use, so it's great for those who start up a game spontaneously. The cover has a slight tackiness to it to keep the ball from slipping out of your grip.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Spalding
Model
3
  Best for Night Games

GlowCity 29.5-Inch LED Light Up Basketball

Two Hi-Bright LEDs light up the entire ball, making this basketball perfect for playing in poorly-lit conditions. The lights use Smart Play, which illuminates the ball automatically when you're playing, then shuts them off when the ball is idle. You'll get about 30 hours of gameplay before needing to change the batteries, which means you'll need to have 12 LR44 batteries on hand. The first set is already installed in the ball.

Features


Specifications

Brand
GlowCity
Model
4
  Best for Beginners

AND1 Xcelerate 29.5-Inch Rubber Basketball & Pump

This basketball includes a 12-inch pump with an ergonomic handle for easy inflation. The ball is made from heavy-duty material to withstand many hours of gameplay without showing signs of wear. The enhanced pebbling helps players maintain their grip while dribbling and shooting, making it perfect for beginners and young players.

Features


Specifications

Brand
AND1
Model
5
  Best for Pools

GoSports Water Basketballs, 2-Pack

From the colors to the materials, this set of two balls is made for use in the water, particularly swimming pools with basketball hoops. Each ball is built with a textured grip to help keep it from sliding around in wet hands. The thick wall construction is designed to hold up even with the rough-housing that often takes place in swimming pools.

Features


Specifications

Brand
GoSports
Model

Our Basketball Buying Guide

You only need two things to shoot hoops: a hoop and a basketball. If you want to play against someone else, you’ll need at least one other player, as well. But if you have a hoop handy, you may find that you can’t always access basketballs, especially if you play at the park or in your own backyard.

But as you start shopping around for a basketball, you’ll quickly realize there are many variations. The top consideration of any basketball is grip. You’ll want a basketball that resists slipping around to make sure when you finally do gain control of the ball, you don’t accidentally drop it. For that reason, most basketballs feature a textured surface that’s easier to grip.

Comfort is also a consideration. Some basketballs are built to allow you to easily grasp them, with slight indentations that help you grab on. If you play recreationally, or you’re new to the game and want comfort as you get started, this can be a great choice. It’s important to keep in mind if you play on a team, though, that you may get used to playing this way, only to have to adjust to a ball without this feature at game time.

DWYM Fun Fact

Basketball is commonly known to have been invented by James Naismith, but many may not realize that he was a physical education teacher at the YMCA. In 1891, his supervisor asked him to come up with a good wintertime activity, and Naismith created the game that’s now known as basketball.

Naismith wrote the original rule book for the sport, as well as founding the basketball program at the University of Kansas. Initially, the game wasn’t played with the basketball we know today. Instead, players used a soccer ball and peach baskets, which required the referee to retrieve the ball and put it back in play every time someone landed one in.

String baskets came along in 1900 and backboards were later added to prevent spectators from stopping a shot from making its way in.

The Basketball Tips and Advice

  • Some basketballs are designed for both outdoor and indoor use, while others specify one or the other. Basketballs can suffer significant wear when played on surfaces like concrete, so you may want to go for durability versus comfort if you’re buying for outdoor play.
  • Some brands sell basketballs in varying sizes. You may want a smaller, 27.5-inch version for a youth player, for instance, or an intermediate ball for a new player who’s learning. Once you’re ready to play as part of a team, though, you’ll likely graduate to the “official” size, which is 29.5 inches, so it’s important to get used to playing with this larger size once you’ve practiced a while.
  • If you’re buying a ball for official gameplay, make sure the basketball is rated for play by the appropriate association. High school basketballs are rated for play by the National Federation of State High School Associations, for instance.
  • You’ll need to keep a pump handy for when your basketball needs a little extra air.
  • If you’re playing in a pool, standard basketballs likely will prove too slippery in wet hands. Look for basketballs that are specifically designed for water use.

About The Author

Avatar
Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and business writer whose work has appeared on numerous blogs. She worked for the State of Tennessee for 19 years, the latter six of which were spent as a supervisor. She has written content for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2011. In addition to her online content, she is also the author of eight novels for Simon & Schuster, including the Piper Morgan chapter book series.