Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Basketball

Not all basketballs are the same, so be sure to pick one that’s tailored for wherever you get your game on.

Among the various professional sports that claim to be “America’s Game,” basketball is the only one with a truly American origin story. Invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith at the Springfield, Missouri, YMCA, the original game featured nine players per side, boasted 13 official rules, did not include dribbling, and used a soccer ball tossed into two peach baskets mounted at either end of the court. Today, the game of basketball is popular everywhere from local YMCAs to virtually every school gymnasium in the country, and on sidestreet and driveway courts throughout the land. Whether you are looking to drum up a little regulation roundball or just want to practice your shooting, here are several solid choices for getting your game on.

For Inside Dribbling

Don’t make the mistake of buying one meant for outdoor use expecting it to handle the same indoors. Wilson

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A soft, tactile cover is the distinguishing trait of a quality roundball meant only for indoor use. That same grippy skin would take a beating on outdoor courts, but on the hardwoods a true indoor ball offers the best feel for handling and control.


This one can hold up against abrasive surfaces like asphalt or concrete. Spalding

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For play on outdoor courts, you need a basketball that will stand up to the abuse of constant bouncing on asphalt or concrete. That usually means a rubber cover specifically engineered for those highly abrasive surfaces, and a heavily dimpled exterior that will maintain its texture for hundreds of games.


This hybrid can perform equally well on a gym court and on concrete. Spalding

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If you are lucky enough to have access to both indoor and outdoor courts, you don’t need a separate ball for each environment. Hybrid indoor/outdoor basketballs offer the durability of an outdoor ball with the soft touch of indoor game balls to give you the best of both worlds.