Basketballs can be slightly more complex than one would think. The basketballs construction is designed to help retain air, keep it’s shape, maintain feel and maintain a true bounce. Type of material and how much construction is put into the ball is where you see the price changes.
RUBBER: Obviously, rubber basketballs are pretty simple, they are made from molded rubber. Rubber basketballs are the least expensive and are used outdoors, mostly by young kids. They do tend to come in a wide range of colors, which is actually painted on. Rubber balls may have a nylon winding to help strengthen the basketball. Typically priced Free-$20
Composite Outdoor: Typically known as indoor/outdoor basketballs, the composite cover ball is the most common ball used in driveways and outdoor courts. They are not as tacky as “indoor only” balls, and tend to have a firmer, more durable cover. The composite cover is made up of individual panels, which are glued to the carcass of the ball. These are sometimes referred to as laminated basketballs. Higher end models will consist of composite material for a cover, a soft material for a carcass, nylon windings to retain shape and a good butyl bladder. Less expensive styles will omit the nylon, and use a less expensive composite material. Typically priced $20-$45
The Indoor Only ball typically has a strong butyl bladder, nylon windings, a soft sponge like carcass, and very tacky panels for a cover. These balls will cost more because of the quality of materials going into them. Some (like the NBA uses) have real leather panels instead of composite. The dimpled, tacky cover gives the ball it’s grip and the carcass supplies the softness. Typically priced $50-$70
Here are the basic components. The more components a ball has, the higher the cost and the better the ball.
- The Cover is either made of molded rubber, or individual composite pieces.
- The Carcass or the layer under the cover can be firm or soft depending on the ball.
- Nylon Windings (if present) help retain the balls shape. Basketballs can get out of round!
- The Bladder, typically Butyl material, holds the air.
Basketballs do come in three basic sizes due to age and hand sizes.
Youths Ages up to 10 may use a 27.5″ ball or size 5.
Kids aged 10 up, AND official woman’s basketball size is a 28.5″ ball or size 6
Adults (high school) and the official size ball for males is 29.5 or size 7.
Balls for very young or smaller kids are available as well. I just never sell any.