Best Spalding Basketballs for Indoor, Outdoor or Universal Use

Spalding brand logoWhether you are a professional basketball player, a recreational player, or simply a fan of the game, there is a name that will definitely be recognizable to you: Spalding.

I will review best Spalding basketballs for different use conditions and good choices for women game. But at first I want to introduce you to this well known brand in sport industry.

When you supply the best basketball league in the world with balls and backboards, your accolades don’t have to be debated at all. But the thing that makes Spalding one of the greatest sports apparel and equipment manufacturers is the fact that they pay attention to semi-pros and amateurs as well. Many of their products are designed for professional use, but you can buy them at a really affordable price. Even the cheapest models they feature offer performance and quality comparable to the professional basketballs used in arenas across the globe. We have been using and testing their products for years now, and it was about time to create a Spalding basketball specific article.

Spalding surfaceSpalding uses different materials according to the balls intended use (surface, level of competition, gender, age, etc.). They use genuine leather for most of the premium indoor models. Spalding genuine leather balls are simply the best indoor basketballs on the market, according to most of the sources. The fact that it’s being used in the NBA, top basketball league of the world, just speaks louder than words and screams about best quality. The quality of the material and the craftsmanship of the balls are what separates them from the competition. The same could be said about their composite leather balls. Spalding uses composite materials for the mid-tier models and balls that can be used on multiple surfaces. Coupled with the other patented solutions, most of their composite models are at the top of the best-selling charts all over the world. Lastly, for their outdoors models, Spalding uses rubber and they had much success with it. Spalding rubber basketballs offer great performance and the material used is durable and tough. The area where Spalding excels at, compared to the competition, is the longevity of their rubber ball models.

Now let’s observe top picks in each of the categories we mentioned previously.

Spaldings for Indoor Use

Official NBA Game Ball

Rating: 3.6/5

Spalding Official NBA Game BallThe name says it all: Spalding NBA Official Game Basketball. This is one of the best-selling premium indoor basketballs and for a good reason as well. This model features NBA official size and weight, full grain Horween leather cover and it has even been updated to contain the official NBA twitter handle to keep it up to date. Being that this is an official ball used for all 1400+ games during the season, there was no need to perform any testing, but we did it anyway. We would give this ball a maximum rating of 5, but the price tag is our main concern. On the other hand you get top quality and well made ball. All the scores across the testing categories showed that this is definitely one of the best genuine leather basketballs the money can buy. Full review…

  • NBA Official Size and Weight
  • Traditional design with symmetrical channels for excellent grip
  • Horween Leather cover that offers excellent grip and control
  • Excellent build quality and ball longevity

TF-1000 Legacy

Rating: 4.0/5

TF-1000 LegacySpalding TF series features some of the best basketballs in the market. The reasons for this can be found in excellent build quality, top materials being used, and affordable pricing. TF-1000 Legacy in particular is one of their best-selling models in general. It features ZK microfiber composite cover for great grip and feel, symmetrical channel design for improved control and Nylon winding for improved structural integrity. All this means that you get a great ball with excellent performance for a reasonable price.

  • High-quality ZK composite material
  • Advanced moisture management technology
  • Symmetrical channel design for improved control
  • Sturdy rubber bladder of improved air retention
  • Nylon windings that improve structure integrity

TF-1000 Classic

Rating: 4.1/5

Spalding TF-1000 ClassicTF-1000 classic ball features one of the best value-for-money combinations in the market. This composite material model introduced ZK microfiber material that gives off a great feel and amazing grip. For better release and control, a wide channel design is used and on top of it all, a good moisture control system will make sure that optimal grip is always maintained. The shape and structural integrity are guaranteed by Nylon windings and that extends the ball longevity for a significant amount of time. Spalding TF series basketball has always been a smart buy and this model only confirms the rule. Full review…

  • Exclusive ZK microfiber composite cover material for a soft touch and dry tack feel
  • 100% nylon windings for maximum structural integrity
  • Wide channels for improved control and instant recognition
  • Designed for indoor use only

Spaldings for Outdoor Use

Spalding NBA Street

Rating: 4.2/5

NBA Street BallSpalding outdoor models are designed with performance and durability in mind. The Spalding NBA Street model is a perfect example of a cheap basketball that performs well on rough outdoor courts and can last for a couple of seasons thanks to the ultra-durable rubber material being used for this ball. Official size and weight coupled with wide channels will offer a great game feel and a unique playing experience, comparable to more expensive models from this segment. If you are looking for an affordable outdoor basketball, this model definitely has to be taken into consideration. Full review…

  • Ultra-durable, performance rubber cover
  • Official size and weight
  • Designed to withstand the rough-and-tumble street game
  • Wide channel design for excellent grip

Spalding Varsity

Rating: 4.3/5

Spalding VarsitySpalding’s NBA Varsity model features an interesting design and color choices. This outdoors model uses traditional rubber cover that can withstand a lot of punishment from rough surfaces. Symmetrical channel design and an intricate pattern on the rubber surface will make sure you have the control during the release and dribbling, but the interesting color variations will definitely make this ball popular on the courts. Couple all of this with really affordable price and you get a good overall outdoor basketball that will definitely turn some heads on the playground.

  • Sturdy rubber cover for rough surface courts
  • Official size and weight
  • NBA logo stamped on the ball
  • Interesting color variations and a plethora of choice

NBA Street Phantom

Rating: 4.2/5

Spalding Phantom BlackSpalding NBA Street Phantom is one of those basketballs that will make other players envy you. It features a unique design with true black premium rubber cover. This is a durable ball that also uses Spalding’s patented Soft Grip technology for better grip and control, wide channel design for improved release control, and improved moisture control for wet hands or court surfaces. This official size and weight outdoors model comes in a variety of color choices, and it is one of the most popular outdoor models on the market. Affordable pricing makes this a smart buy. Full review…

  • Premium Outdoor Cover with Durable Soft Grip Technology
  • Wide Chanel design provides improved recognition
  • Official NBA size and weight
  • Designed for outdoor play
  • Interesting design that turns heads on the playground

Spalding Varsity Rubber Ball

Rating: 3.9/5

Varsity Rubber BallVarsity Rubber Outdoor basketball is one of the best-selling models in Spalding’s inventory. The reasons for it can be found in the quality of the material used and the fact that this ball comes in sizes 7 and 6, which makes it an excellent choice for kids to play with. The versatility of the ball, the longevity of it and an affordable price all combine to make this a really smart purchase and definitely a model to consider when buying an outdoor basketball. The kids love it as much as the adults. Full review…

  • Durable rubber cover
  • Designed to withstand rough surfaces
  • Comes in two sizes: 6 and 7
  • Classic design with wide symmetrical channels
  • Great for kids and adults alike

Spalding NBA Velocity

Rating: 4.1/5

Spalding NBA VelocityNBA Velocity is a premium composite model that offers great performance on both indoor and outdoor courts and couples it with a unique design. However, most people prefer to use it outdoors because of great durability characteristics Velocity ball has.
The composite material used will make sure this feels less rubbery and more natural while maintaining the longevity that is put to the test playing on rough outdoor courts. Inlay rubber channels offer a great level of control during the release. This official size and weight model is an excellent choice if you are looking for a universal ball at an affordable price, as most Spalding balls usually do.

  • Premium PU composite cover
  • Wide, inlay rubber channels for added durability
  • Official NBA size and weight
  • Designed for indoor and outdoor play

Universal Indoor/Outdoor Spaldings

NBA Replica Game Ball

Rating: 4.3/5

Spalding Replica NBA BallHaving a single ball that can be used on both indoor and outdoor courts solves a couple of problems. With that in mind, Spalding designed this NBA Replica model. It emulates the NBA official game ball in design, size and weight, and most importantly, build quality. A Composite material is used for the cover and coupling that with a much lower price tag, you won’t find many differences between this and other premium basketballs. All other design features of this Replica model are comparable to the original including the channel design, added NBA twitter handle and the official logo. An excellent buy might we say.

  • Composite material cover for enhanced grip
  • Official size and weight
  • Emulates looks and design features of the official NBA game ball
  • Designed for both indoors and outdoors use
  • Really affordable considering the build quality

Spalding Never Flat

Rating: 3.9/5

Spalding Never FlatSpalding’s Never Flat technology proved its worth many times over and we loved every single basketball that features this solution. This particular model is designed for indoors and outdoors usage and the composite leather cover is durable and grippy at the same time. Symmetrical design with slopped channels provide an excellent release control during the shoot motion and coupling that with the fact that the bounce consistency is guaranteed by the Never Flat technology, this ball will always end up exactly where you intended. Full review…

  • Never Flat technology makes sure ball holds air over a very long period
  • Consistent bounce height
  • Special valve cap that eliminates leaks and prevents dirt build up
  • High-performance composite material offers optimum grip on all surfaces
  • Comes in two sizes and can be used for kids and adults alike

NBA Zi/O

Rating: 4.4/5

Spalding NBA Zi/OSpalding NBA Zi/O is one of the most popular indoors/outdoors game balls on the market. Players love it because it offers amazing feel and control, both of which is probably the result of full ball pebbling design. Composite leather cover performs well on hardwood floors, but it’s durable at the same time and able to withstand the wear and tear of rough outdoors courts surfaces. Combining these features with the NBA official size and weight, you get an excellent alternative to buying two balls. This model will prove more than capable to handle all types of surfaces and last for a long time. Full review…

  • Composite material offers genuine looks and feel
  • Full body pebbling increases grip and enhances control
  • Official size and weight
  • Performs well on hardwood floors and can cope with wear and tear on rough outdoor surfaces
  • NBA game ball style design

TF-500

Rating: 4.1/5

TF-500TF-500 is a universal basketball designed for indoor/outdoor use and it comes in sizes 7 and 6. It is covered with composite leather that provides excellent feel and that is probably the reason why this ball is popular amongst kids and adults alike. A wide channel design offers excellent release control and full body pebbling will make sure the ball ends up exactly where you want it every single time. The bounce is consistent and the overall quality is very high, especially taking into account the price of the ball. An excellent buy in our opinion.

  • Comes in sizes 7 and 6 (women/youth)
  • High-performance composite leather cover
  • Full body pebbling for improved grip
  • Wide channel design for improved release control
  • Tough and durable to withstand rough courts

NBA Tack Soft

Rating: 4.3/5

Spalding Tack SoftModern basketball is centered on handlers and shooters and this is the ball designed for them. Offered in two sizes, 7 and 6, this ball can be used for amateur and professional games. Full bodypebbling and a composite leather cover provide optimal grip and control while slopped channel design helps during the release and rotation control. This model is very popular amongst user because it offers the looks and feel of the hardwood-only models, durability of the outdoors basketballs, and the price tag that makes it affordable.

  • Composite leather cover with full body pebbling
  • Designed for indoor and outdoor play
  • Two sizes: 6,7
  • Ideal for ball handling and shooting
  • Can be used in competitions

Spaldings for Women

Women’s WNBA Official Game Ball

Rating: 5.0/5

WNBA Official Game BallThe qualities of the WNBA Official game ball should not come into question, but we decided to take a closer look anyways. This is a size 6 ball and it features a microfiber PU composite cover that is designed for indoor hardwood play. The composite material offers plenty of grip and asymmetrical channel design provides an interesting look while increasing rotation control during the shooting motion. WNBA logo and twitter handle are neatly imprinted. Official balls tend to be a bit expensive comparing to others, but this model is the exception and offers great performance for a really affordable price tag if you take in to consideration about what you get for money. Excellent purchase for those who want a quality ball from the pioneers of ball manufacturing.

  • Exclusive PU composite leather cover
  • Official WNBA size and weight
  • Designed for indoor play
  • Excellent build quality
  • Full body pebbling

WNBA Official Outdoor Ball

Rating: 4.5/5

Spalding 71000 WNBA Official Outdoor BallSpalding created this model to mimic the looks and performance of the official WNBA game ball. But the difference is that this ball is designed for outdoor use.
Performance rubber cover is durable and the ball holds well against the rough surface of outdoor courts. Full body pebbling and rubber channels provide enough grip and rotation control, even if the ball is dirty (dusty) or wet.
This is an excellent size 6 outdoors game ball and apart from the good looks and performance, an attractive price tag makes this a really smart purchase.

  • High-performance, durable rubber cover
  • Designed for outdoor play
  • Official WNBA size(6) and weight
  • Designed to last longer while providing a good grip

Origins of Spalding in Basketball World

Albert Goodwill Spalding started his professional baseball career in 1871 as Boston Red Stockings. He was one of the best players at that time. In 1876 he retired from baseball and went straight to business. Interesting fact is that he used his own ball in games even before he started business, he made it by himself. Same year A.G. Spalding & Brothers opens first store in Chicago. Later on company starts manufacturing all goods for baseball.

Now let’s talk about how it all started to connect with basketball game.

James Naismith invented the game in 1891, players at first had to use soccer ball to play. So Naismith asks A.G. Spalding to develop a special ball for this game, and he listens and manufactures it. Later on even in official rules of the game you can find a line that balls made by Spalding shall be used in official games. Now you know how it all began and rest is history.

Interesting Spalding NBA Ball Facts

  • A day before NBA games referee brings 3 balls to the captains of each teams that will play next day. They must agree on which one ball to use in the game.
  • Leather used to make NBA game balls are produced by Horween, material the company uses is from Canada.
    3 to 4 square feet of leather is used to make one ball.
  • Basketball signature dots are created by a 1000 tone press with German embossing plates.
  • Inflated bladder is formed by using 3200 yards of Japanese nylon
  • Inner sphere is covered by rubber from Malaysia and Vietnam and 8 leather panels are glued by a professional worker and by hand
  • In 2006 NBA tried to change balls from genuine leather to microfiber composite made ones, but it only lasted for two months as world’s players started to complain a lot and NBA had to roll back to using leather basketballs.

Conclusion

Spalding is one of the biggest names in the basketball world. Their good reputation is well-deserved and according to us as well as the user reviews we found on each of these models, Spalding balls are quite often the best choice in the respective segment. Whether you are looking a genuine leather ball, composite material or a rubber covered model, the probability is that Spalding has the best model on the market. Competitive pricing certainly helps, but based on the quality and design features alone, Spalding is the way to go.