All basketballs are not created equal, so knowledge about the ball, where the ball is going to be used, and by whom it will be used can save the purchaser money as well as make the playing more positive. Before purchasing one ball or a dozen for team practice, one should consider whether the ball will be used inside or outside or at both places, the composition of the ball, the size of the ball, and the price of each ball. There is a right basketball for everyone.
Where the ball is to be used is very important. Balls for outdoor basketball play must be moisture resistant and have a tough cover. There are two kinds of balls that work well outside, but there are many levels of quality in these balls. The toughest balls are rubber, and they are usually the cheapest; but they have great value because they can take the outdoor beating as well as be useful inside. Usually, rubber balls do not have the grip-ability of composite or synthetic leather because the pebbling is not as extensive and they may be slightly heavier. Spalding’s TF-150, Champion’s Premier Super Grip, and Mikasa’s BWL 110 are good choices. All three offer a choice in size and price.
To step up the grip-ability of the basketball, basketball legends especially for advanced players, the choice would be composite, synthetic leather. Many of these balls are waterproof and tough enough to use outside. They are top choices for schools and recreational centers because they play much like a real leather ball. There are many levels of synthetic leather or composite basketballs. The difference in cost would be in the quality of the synthetic cover, the bladder or carcass wounding for air retention, the extensiveness of the pebbling, and the depth and width of the channel. The following are very good choices. Although they have similar attributes and come in different sizes, there are some differences in quality of the covers or the insides of the balls, so they are mentioned from lowest price to highest price: the Spalding TF-250, the Rawlings Crossover, the Spalding TF-500, and the Spalding TF-1000.
Leather basketballs are the top choices for high schools, colleges, universities, and the PRO teams because they provide great grip-ability, air retention, and may be lighter weight per size. There are Nike basketballs, NFL basketballs, and leather balls by every basketball maker. A good leather ball has a foam backing to the leather, deep channeling, and extensive pebbling. For the best price for an excellent ball with all the expected components of leather balls, only one that is reasonably priced is mentioned: the Spalding TF-1000 ZK PRO. There are many other fine choices, but when price per ball must be considered, this ball is a good choice.
Basketballs must suit the size and expertise of the players. There are rubber balls, such as the Spalding TF-150, specifically sized for junior players, but all of the balls mentioned in this article come in an Intermediate/Women’s official size and a men’s official size. There is little difference in the weight of the two balls, but the women’s ball is 28.5″ circumference whereas the men’s is 29.5″ circumference. Each one can be slightly larger. Supposedly, this sizing relates to the assumed difference in the size of female/intermediate hands and male hands. It makes sense but may not be relative to the Pro’s players.