Basketball Ball: Definition and characteristics

You can’t talk about basketball without talking about the Basketball ball, the main protagonist of the game on the court. Everything revolves around this ball in the basketball world.

In this article you will learn everything you need to know about the basketball such as its definition, the history of the ball in basketball, the characteristics it has and why it has them and also information about the main manufacturers and some types of basketballs in basketball.

If you want to learn all about the basketball ball then be sure to read this article to the end, I assure you it will be worth every second.

What is the basketball ball?

The basketball ball is the ball used to play basketball, which has a spherical shape. Its dimensions and weights vary according to the level of the category where the players are. The standard measurements are 56 cm in circumference for small players and between 73 to 76 cm for professional players.

History of the basketball ball

Basketball was born in 1981 by the hand of its founder J. Naismith, after the need to have a sport to practice in the winter seasons, in the beginning the first ball used was a soccer ball.

The first basketball comes after Naismith’s request to Albert Goodwill Spalding (A.G. Spalding founder of the Spalding company) who creates it at the end of the 19th century.

Evolution of the Basketball ball

The first ball was designed with leather strips glued together with a gummed gut, which was common at the time. In 1942, a cloth overcoat was incorporated, which improved the design and gave uniformity to the basketball.

A few years later, between 1967 and 1976 a three-color ball (blue, red and white) was used by the American Basketball Association better known by its acronym ABA, this design can still be seen in the NBA three-point competition where they give the name of “money Ball” to this tricolor design which gives more points than the traditional one.

In 1990 the incursion of synthetic materials for the creation of basketballs began, as they have performance advantages over leather and the leagues love them, which is why they are still used today.

Characteristics of Basketball ball

Characteristics of Basketball ball

The basketball ball has several interesting characteristics that differentiate it from other balls such as soccer balls or volleyballs, such as the design, their sizes and measurements and even the materials in which they are made.

To understand these characteristics a little better, I will detail them one by one so that you can understand how the basketball is made and the meaning of each characteristic.

Sizes, weights and dimensions

Basketball sizes, weights and measurements may differ depending on the level or category. In order to show it in a better way I elaborated a table with the characteristics of the ball according to each category.

Size 1micro-mini ballmini baskets19,68 a 20,47 inches0,3681 pounds
Size 3mini ball022,04 a 22,44 inches0,6239 pounds
Size 4junior ball025,59 a 26,77 inches0,881 a 0,992 pounds
Size 5youth ballMini basketball27,16 a 27,95 inches1,036 a 1,102 pounds
Size 6women’s official ballFemale Professional28,34 a 29,13 inches1,124 a 1,250 pounds
Size 7men’s official ballProfessional Male29,14 a 29,92 inches1,250 a 1,433 pounds

The pressure

Another important characteristic is the pressure, a ball must have a pressure of 7.98 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) which is equal to 0.55 bar. An excellent way to measure if a ball has the correct pressure is to drop it from a height of 180 cm against the floor, the rebound of this drop should be between 130 cm to 136 cm to indicate that the pressure in the ball is correct.

Materials of the basketball ball

The materials typically used to make basketballs in basketball are: 

  • Leather.
  • Semi-leather.
  • Rubber.

These vary depending on where the ball will be used, as we have indoor balls and outdoor balls.

For outdoors, the ones made of rubber work better, since they are more resistant to cement or asphalt, which is usually the material used in outdoor courts. For indoor use, those made of leather and semi-leather are of better quality and provide a more comfortable grip for the player.


Basketballs ball have a spherical design and a rough skin to improve the maneuverability of the players when taking the ball and dribbling. The color of the balls is usually linked according to the material with which it is made, for example, the standard color in leather is orange with black lines. We can also find them in a variety of colors when they are made of synthetic material such as black, white, blue, silver, etc.

Main Companies Basketballs balls manufacturers

Basketball Ball manufacturers

Nowadays there are many companies that manufacture basketballs ball, many with tradition and prestige and some others that are just starting their way in the career of creating basketballs for this sport.

For this section we have taken only 5 companies that in our opinion are the best for their quality and also for their achievements to date.


Since 1983, they have been the official supplier of the NBA, WNBA and the NBA Development League (D-League). This company is the one that created the first basketball.


Another major player in the global ball industry, this Japanese company is also the official supplier of FIBA with presence in other competitions such as the vtb united league in Eastern Europe and several national leagues.


This company needs no introduction, as it is one of the most popular in the sports field in general, in terms of basketballs ball had agreements with the EBC (European Basketball Company) in 2007 which lasted until mid-2012. Nike officially supplies the NCAA in the Philippines and the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP).


It is the official company for the NCAA and Division 1 men’s and women’s play-off tournaments. They are very popular at the college level.


This company has a long tradition in the United States (USA). The Amateur Athletic Union of the USA uses it as an official brand. They are also using it in most of the 3 x 3 tournaments.

Medicine Ball in Basketball

Basketball medicine balls are similar to normal balls, they even look the same, the difference is in their weight and the use they have. The medicine ball is used for training purposes in basketball to improve the physical abilities of the players.

These balls are made of leather, rubber and plastic, sizes vary and weights start from 1,000 gr to 14,000 gr.

Many basketball coaches have been using these medicine balls for years in their practices and training sessions because of the great benefits they provide. They use them in exercises such as throwing, jumping, lifting and more.

Some benefits of using these balls are:

  • They increase endurance and strength.
  • Can strengthen various muscles in the body.
  • Help prevent joint and muscle injuries.
  • Improve body control.
  • Correct posture.

As you can see, there are many advantages that this medicine basketball can bring to the improvement of the body, and that is why coaches love to use them.


We have reached the end of another very interesting post on another topic such as the beloved basketball ball, we saw the different types of balls that exist, the different materials used to create them, the big companies that manufacture them and even a medicine ball that helps us to improve our physical abilities!

Esteban Gomes

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