10 Best Spalding Basketball In 2024

If you quickly want to know my top-rated Spalding basketball, then I would recommend Spalding Excel TF-500 as the best one.

When it comes to basketball equipment, Spalding is undeniably the first brand that springs to mind for professional and amateur players alike.

Spalding is the most iconic brand in basketball – and for good reasons.

They have been making high-quality basketballs for over 100 years. They were also the NBA’s official game ball for 37 years.

The best Spalding basketballs excel in air retention, grip, control, and durability.

In this article, I’ll review the following Spalding basketballs:

10 Best Spalding Basketballs

Among them, the Spalding Excel TF-500 emerged as the ultimate choice in my round-up review after carefully considering crucial factors (covered in a later section).

1. Spalding Excel TF-500 – Best Overall

Features

  • MATERIAL: Composite Leather
  • WEIGHT: 1 pound
  • OFFICIAL SIZE: 29.5″ / 28.5″ / 27.5″
  • PLAYING SURFACE: Indoor/outdoor courts

I’ve been using the Spalding Excel TF-500 basketball for a few months, and I’m very impressed with it.

I have used this ball on indoor and outdoor courts, and it has performed excellently on both surfaces.

The grip is really good, even when my hands are sweaty. The ball also has a good bounce, which is important for dribbling and passing.

The Spalding TF-500 strikes the perfect balance between durability and comfort. It can easily handle the rough play of pick-up games while offering a soft and comfortable grip.

Having this ball as the best overall in the review means I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a new favorite basketball.

Pros

  • Suitable as an indoor and outdoor ball
  • Designed for instant ball recognition
  • Offers exceptional control and precise accuracy
  • Sponge backing and tacky feel create maximum grip and handling

Cons

  • Ball may be less durable outdoors compared to a rubber ball

2. Spalding NeverFlat Elite – Best Value

Features

  • MATERIAL: Composite faux leather
  • WEIGHT: 1 pound
  • OFFICIAL SIZE: 29.5″ / 28.5″
  • PLAYING SURFACE: Indoor/outdoor courts

As someone who loves playing basketball indoors and outdoors, I must say that Spalding’s Never Flat Technology is a game-changer.

The NeverFlat Elite is injected with NitroFlate molecules, which means it stays inflated for much longer than your average ball.

The premium composite material used for its covers has a sponge carcass, ensuring longevity and a soft grip.

The Never Flat® technology guarantees this ball holds its shape for an entire year.

The only downside to the ball is that it makes a strange sound with every dribble. This is probably due to the NitroFlate molecules, but it doesn’t bother me too much.

Pros

  • Premium composite cover with sponge carcass
  • Stays inflated longer than your average ball
  • Can handle rough conditions or surfaces
  • Amazing grip

Cons

  • Makes a strange sound with every dribble

3. Spalding Street Basketball – Best Budget Pick

Features

  • MATERIAL: Rubber
  • WEIGHT: 1 pound
  • OFFICIAL SIZE: 29.5″, 28.5″, 27.5″
  • PLAYING SURFACE: Outdoor basketball

The Spalding NBA official Streetball is my go-to choice as an outdoor basketball player who loves to battle it in the paint.

This ball is designed with durability and security, easily handling intense physical play.

Streetball is timeless, and the Spalding NBA Street Outdoor basketball is the perfect companion for summer tournaments and Saturdays at the park.

Moreover, the durable rubber cover can withstand the rough surfaces of asphalt or concrete.

With the Spalding Street Outdoor basketball, I can enjoy endless hours of outdoor basketball without worrying about the ball’s performance or durability.

It’s the ideal choice for any outdoor player who values quality basketball and reliability on the court.

Pros

  • The most budget-friendly Spalding basketball
  • Less prone to weather damage
  • Made of durable materials
  • Deep channel design for superior control

Cons

  • Limited versatility to outdoor play

4. Spalding React TF-250

Features

  • MATERIAL: Composite leather material
  • WEIGHT: 1 pound
  • OFFICIAL SIZE: 29.5″, 28.5″, 27.5″
  • PLAYING SURFACE: Indoor-outdoor basketball courts

This ball is also very versatile, performing well in both outdoor and indoor play.

With Spalding’s iconic grip, I feel in complete control of my moves and plays at all times.

Whether executing behind-the-back passes or practicing last-second half-court heaves, the REACT TF-250 is my reliable companion, always ready to ball.

Its all-surface performance composite material ensures that I’m always set for any game, no matter where or when it takes place.

The REACT TF-250 boasts Spalding’s Shooter’s Seam, providing instant ball recognition, exceptional control, and precise accuracy.

While this basketball has great attributes, it requires a short break-in period.

Pros

  • Highly versatile game ball
  • Spalding’s seam allows for instant ball recognition and greater accuracy
  • Affordable price
  • Great grip for better handling
  • Nice weight and feel

Cons

  • Requires a break-in period before players get used to this Spalding professional ball design

5. Spalding Legacy TF-1000

Features

  • MATERIAL: Composite leather cover
  • WEIGHT: 1 pound
  • OFFICIAL SIZE: 29.5″, 28.5″
  • PLAYING SURFACE: Indoor

No basketball compares to the Spalding Legacy TF-1000 when it comes to clutch moments on the court.

Its moisture management capabilities keep the ball dry for ultimate ball control.

This Spalding ball features a wet grip/ZK microfiber composite cover that feels game-ready after you break in the ball.

Its elite moisture-wicking surface keeps the ball performing high, from tip-off to crunch time.

The Spalding Legacy TF-1000’s rotationally balanced butyl bladder ensures top-notch air retention. Meanwhile, the 100% nylon windings provide maximum structural integrity.

This is NFHS-approved as the official high school ball in several states and regions.

Pros

  • NFHS- approved
  • Features a ZK microfiber composite cover
  • Has a rotationally balanced butyl bladder
  • Soft touch and increased grip

Cons

  • Less preferred as an outdoor ball

6. Spalding Precision TF-1000

Features

  • MATERIAL: Microfiber composite material
  • WEIGHT: 550 grams
  • OFFICIAL SIZE: 29.5″, 28.5″
  • PLAYING SURFACE: Indoor basketball

Having just acquired this Spalding Precision basketball, I can already attest to its elite performance.

The first thing that caught my attention was its dry-grip microfiber composite material which provides exceptional grip and control.

The Spalding Shooter’s Seam provides instant ball recognition, precise accuracy, and exceptional control. I also appreciate its lightweight nature, allowing quick and precise movements.

It’s also NFHS-approved, like the Spalding TF-1000.

However, this indoor ball may have a hard feel when dribbling, which may not be for everyone.

Pros

  • Offers excellent grip
  • Lightweight
  • Great bounce
  • Best indoor basketball from Spalding
  • NFHS-approved

Cons

  • Hard feel when dribbling

7. Spalding Street Phantom Outdoor Basketball

Features

  • MATERIAL: High-performance rubber cover with Soft Grip Technology
  • WEIGHT: 454 grams
  • OFFICIAL SIZE: 29.5″
  • PLAYING SURFACE: Outdoor play

The Spalding Street Phantom outdoor basketball is built for the toughest playgrounds, from concrete courts to rough asphalt arenas.

The ball’s high-performance rubber cover and Soft Grip Technology provide exceptional grip.

The deep channels on the Street Phantom make it effortless to align my fingers, enhancing my ball control and shooting accuracy.

Another plus is the sponge rubber design, which adds to its durability.

However, the Street Phantom’s limited size selection might be a drawback for some.

Pros

  • Soft grip technology ensures optimum grip
  • Different colors and unique designs
  • Affordable price point
  • Sponge rubber design

Cons

  • Available in size seven only
  • Designed for outdoor play only

8. Spalding Tack-Soft TF

Features

  • MATERIAL: Composite leather cover
  • WEIGHT: 522 grams
  • OFFICIAL SIZE: 29.5″, 28.5″
  • PLAYING SURFACE: Indoor and outdoor use

The Tack-Soft TF All Surface Basketball has been an exciting addition to my basketball collection.

The ball’s all-surface performance composite cover provides an excellent grip, giving me total control on any playing surface.

I love how this ball transitions seamlessly from the driveway to the gym.

The shooter’s seam on the Spalding TF improves touch and accuracy. It’s perfect for shooting guards who normally deal with long-range shots.

However, I did notice that the ball required a break-in period to reach its optimal performance.

Some players may prefer a softer ball since the Tack-Soft TF is not as soft as an NBA official game ball.

Pros

  • Infused with an all-surface performance composite cover
  • Shipped inflated and game-ready
  • Gives a superior grip for total control

Cons

  • Requires breaking-in
  • Not as soft as the NBA official game ball

9. Spalding Zi/O Excel TF

Features

  • MATERIAL: Composite material
  • WEIGHT: 1 pound
  • OFFICIAL SIZE: 29.5″, 28.5″, 27.5″
  • PLAYING SURFACE: Indoor and outdoor courts

Whether playing on indoor hardwood or hitting the driveway for outdoor hoops, this ball has consistently delivered top-notch performance.

The foam-backed design provides a solid bounce. It feels great in my hands, thanks to the soft, slightly tacky composite cover that allows easy palming.

The full ball pebbling design further enhances the grip and ensures the ball stays securely in my hands, even during intense gameplay or when the ball is wet.

The only downside to the ball is that it’s not an official NBA game ball.

However, I don’t think this is a major drawback. The ball is still great for playing basketball, both indoors and outdoors.

Pros

  • Foam-backed for a solid bounce
  • Shipped inflated and game-ready
  • Great grip, even when wet
  • Full ball pebbling design

Cons

  • Not an official NBA game ball

10. Spalding Rookie Gear Youth Basketball

Features

  • MATERIAL: Composite material
  • WEIGHT: 1 pound
  • OFFICIAL SIZE: 27.5″
  • PLAYING SURFACE: indoor and outdoor

I recently introduced my young basketball enthusiast to the Spalding Rookie Gear SGT Youth Basketball, and it’s safe to say that it has become their new favorite.

Being 15% lighter than standard youth basketballs, it’s perfect for beginners and helps them easily handle the ball.

The sponge rubber cover gives the Rookie Gear a soft and comfortable feel. The pebble graphics on the surface further enhance grip.

I also appreciated the vibrant and colorful designs of the ball, which can instantly capture a kid’s attention.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Spalding Rookie Gear is designed specifically for beginners.

Pros

  • Affordable price point
  • Colorful designs, attractive to young players
  • Soft Grip Technology cover
  • 15% lighter to help develop technique

Cons

  • For beginners only

Factors To Consider When Buying The Best Spalding Basketball

The factors I’ve considered when ranking the best Spalding basketballs above are also the same factors you must consider when buying.

Whether you’re a professional basketball player or just starting your journey, there’s surely a Spalding ball for you!

Therefore, let me walk you through the most important factors to consider to choose the best Spalding basketball for your needs.

1. Weighing grip

Look for a basketball with dense and wide channels woven into the cover for grip.

These channels create 8-12 distinct regions on the ball, which helps players control the ball and make accurate shots.

You should also look for a basketball with dense pebbling throughout the cover for added grip. This pebbling provides extra grip and protects the ball from moisture.

The Spalding Excel TF-500 has deep, wide channels, which provide excellent grip and improved release control.

2. Ball Control

Ball control is crucial when buying the best Spalding basketball because it directly impacts a player’s ability to precisely handle and maneuver the ball.

Optimal ball control empowers players to execute a wide range of moves and shots confidently.

Ball control keeps the ball with you while dribbling, passing, and shooting – a must-have skill for any skill level or position.

This factor should align with the ball’s size, weight, surface, and the player’s grip.

3. Size

Basketballs come in various sizes to accommodate different ages, skill levels, and playing preferences.

This variety allows you to select the perfect ball that suits your needs and enhances your performance on the court.

The most common basketball sizes you can typically choose from include:

Full Size (29.5″ or Size 7)

Size 7 basketballs, measuring 29.5 inches in circumference, are the largest type available. They are the official size for the NBA.

As such, they are the natural choice for adult players seeking a ball that aligns with professional standards.

Due to their popularity and endorsement by the NBA, Size 7 basketballs are commonly used in recreational settings such as parks and gyms.

You will want to purchase this size if you’re a grown man.

Women’s Size (28.5″ or Size 6)

Size 6 basketballs are ideal for women.

Compared to men’s basketballs (Size 7), they are slightly smaller, but their dimensions strike the perfect balance between comfort and usability for female athletes.

This basketball size is ideal for players with smaller hands. They are easier to grip and control.

Although small, they still give players a similar feel to full-size basketball sizes.

Size 6 balls have gained popularity, not only among women but also among youth and high school basketball players.

Kids’ Size (27.5″ and Below or Size 5 and 3)

These are designed for young children just beginning their basketball journey.

A small-size ball enables little kids to shoot comfortably at rim level, fostering their confidence and love for the sport.

Perfect for mini hoops and arcade basketball hoop machines, these mini basketballs offer a fantastic experience for kids.

The Kids’ Size basketballs are lightweight, easy to handle, and suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Their smaller circumference and reduced weight make them manageable for new basketball players.

4. Material

High-quality basketball materials keep them in shape and grip over time. It also influences how the ball bounces and interacts with the playing surface. It affects your ball handling too.

For example, leather offers a better grip but is more susceptible to weather damage than those with a durable rubber cover.

If you play outdoors, you will need a durable ball made from the right material like rubber. Leather basketballs grip better but are less durable than rubber basketballs.

Rubber Basketballs

Rubber basketballs are a great option for outdoor play. It’s good to use on concrete and asphalt courts.

In addition, they are made of a butyl rubber core. This makes rubber balls durable and water-resistant.

However, a rubber ball can develop bumps over time, affecting performance.

They are still good for kids, casual players, and recreational games. Plus, they are affordable, durable, and suitable for all skill levels in basketball games.

Leather Basketballs

Genuine leather balls are the most expensive type of basketball and are typically only used indoors. However, leather balls offer a satisfying grip once broken in, making them a preferred choice for many players.

The official NBA game ball is made of genuine leather.

Avoid using these types frequently outdoors, as it can impact the feel on your hands.

Pro Tip: Breaking in a basketball is using it to make it softer and more playable. This is especially important for genuine leather basketballs, which can be stiff and slippery when new.

Composite Basketballs

Composite basketballs are mid-priced faux-leather balls suitable for both outdoor and indoor play.

Composite leather balls are ideal if you want one that resembles and feels like genuine leather but can withstand concrete surfaces.

They are more affordable than leather basketballs and are a good compromise between durability and performance.

They are like the mid-tier models of an NBA official game ball.

They are made from synthetic materials, typically a mix of rubber and synthetic leather or a composite leather cover.

5. Bounce

The harder the playing surface, the higher the bounce will be. The bounce of the best basketball is important for both indoor play and outdoor courts.

The best Spalding basketball has a consistent bounce ensuring reliable ball handling, precise dribbling, and accurate shooting.

Choose the best basketballs specifically designed for your intended courts: rubber for outdoor plays and composite or faux leather balls for indoor basketball.

6. Air Retention

Air retention is a critical factor when purchasing the best Spalding basketball because it directly impacts the ball’s consistency and performance on the court.

A basketball with an excellent air seal maintains its optimal shape and pressure over time.

This factor is important for several reasons, including:

  • Comfort – good air seal provides a consistent and predictable feel during play.
  • Performance – it maintains bounce and shape over time, resulting in better overall performance.
  • Durability – improved air retention reduces the risk of punctures or tears.

7. Frequency of Use

How often do you play basketball?

Casual players who play a few times a week can use a less expensive Spalding basketball.

However, serious players or those who play multiple times a week will need a more durable basketball. You will need a high-quality ball that can withstand wear and tear over time and maintain consistent performance.

8. Playing Surface

It’s good that the best Spalding basketballs are designed for different playing surfaces so players can find the perfect fit for their game.

There are three primary playing surfaces:

Indoor

Indoor basketballs are designed for smooth and polished gymnasium floors. They typically have a softer cover to offer better grip and control on the hardwood surface.

Indoor basketballs are made of leather or composite covers and are designed for indoor courts.

The pressure of the best indoor basketballs should be between 7.5 and 8.5 psi.

Outdoor

An outdoor ball is built to withstand rough surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt. They feature more durable materials and rugged covers to withstand the harsh conditions of outdoor courts.

Outdoor basketballs are typically made of rubber or composite materials.

Composite outdoor basketballs are often made with a synthetic leather cover. This helps to keep the ball in good condition.

All Surface

All-surface Spalding basketballs are versatile options suitable for both indoor and outdoor play.

The best Spalding basketballs are engineered to work well on various court types, balancing durability and optimal performance.

Composite basketballs are generally suitable for all types of playing surfaces.

They are made of a rubber-synthetic blend that balances durability and performance.

9. Budget

A budget is crucial when buying a basketball because it helps you narrow your options and find a ball that meets your needs without overspending.

It’s good that the best Spalding basketballs are an excellent choice for budget-conscious buyers as they offer various price points, from affordable rubber balls to mid-priced composite balls.

Despite their competitive pricing, the best Spalding basketballs maintain a high-quality standard.

They also ensure players find a suitable option that fits their budget without compromising performance or durability.

Why Should You Buy Spalding Basketballs Over Other Brands?

Spalding basketball meets the NBA’s stringent quality and performance standards, becoming the Official Ball of the NBA for many years.

Spalding has a long history of innovation and has produced iconic basketballs.

These best basketballs are the preferred ball of many professional basketball players in the NBA, NCAA, and various leagues worldwide.

This ensures reliability and quality that meets the sport’s standards, safety, and players’ needs.

Despite its long-standing reputation, Spalding continues to innovate and improve its best basketball technology, which includes deep channel design, improved release control, and nylon windings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We all know the significance of selecting the right ball that complements your playing style and enhances your skills on the court.

In this section, I will discuss what other quality ball brands are there, how Spalding stands out, and what accessories you should get.

What Are the Other Basketball Brands Besides Spalding?

While Spalding remains a leading manufacturer of basketballs, the market offers a diverse selection of other exceptional brands worth exploring.

Let’s have a glance at these brands.

Wilson

The Wilson basketball is made from composite leather, which means it’s also durable and longer lasting.

The composite leather cover provides a soft touch, allowing players to have better control during dribbling, passing, and shooting.

Wilson basketballs are also available in various models tailored to different skill levels.

Molten

Molten is a Japanese company known for its high-quality basketballs.

Molten basketballs have also earned their place in professional leagues worldwide, including prestigious events like the FIBA World Championship and the Olympics.

Their basketballs are known for their ability to withstand harsh conditions.

Nike

Nike is a leading athletic apparel and equipment manufacturer. They also produce basketballs.

Their basketballs are known for their innovative designs and their high-performance materials. Nike basketballs are a popular choice for professional players and serious athletes.

However, Nike has been more popular in providing quality shoes among NBA players.

What are the Differences between Spalding Basketballs and Other Basketball Brands?

When it comes to high-quality basketball, three leading names stand out: Spalding, Wilson, and Molten.

The differences between these brands lie in various factors, such as construction materials, technology, design, and performance features.

Discovering these distinctions will enable you to choose the best basketball that perfectly complements your playing style and elevates your games.

Spalding vs. Wilson

Spalding and Wilson are basketball titans. Spalding is the elder statesman of basketball brands, while Wilson is a rising star.

Spalding basketballs are typically made from leather, composite leather, or rubber. They are known for their excellent bounce and good grip.

Wilson basketballs are high-performance, innovative balls made from synthetic or composite leather.

Spalding was the NBA’s official game ball for 37 years until Wilson took over in 2021.

Spalding vs. Molten

Spalding and Molten are two of the most popular official ball brands of basketball.

Spalding game balls are predominantly used in the US as an NBA game ball. While Molten, being the longest-standing FIBA’s official game ball, is more popular internationally.

Molten recently launched the exclusive FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 official game ball, based on the BG5000 used in FIBA international games since 2019.

Nonetheless, Molten’s average price is likely higher than Spalding’s. This is because they have a smaller selection of basketballs.

What are the Different Basketball Accessories You Should Get?

While high-quality basketballs are crucial, having the right accessories can significantly improve your game and make playing basketball more enjoyable.

These are two of the best accessories you can get from Spalding to improve your game.

1. Mesh Basketball Equipment Bag

Using this equipment bag is a great way to keep your basketballs organized and protected when you’re not playing.

It’s made from durable mesh material and has a large capacity. You can easily fit up to 7 basketballs inside, so you can hit practice prepared.

The bag also has an adjustable drawstring closure to keep your Spalding basketballs in place.

You can check out my review of the best basketball backpacks for more equipment bag options.

2. Dual Action Ball Pump

The Dual Action Ball Pump is a great way to quickly and easily inflate your basketballs. Its dual-action design lets you pump air into the ball on both push and pull strokes.

This makes it much faster to inflate your basketballs than a traditional air pump.

The pump includes a built-in pressure gauge for effortless pressure checking and ensuring your basketballs are inflated accurately.

If you are looking for dual action ball pumps, then check out my comprehensive review of the best basketball air pumps.

The Awesome Choices

As we near the conclusion of my comprehensive Spalding basketball round-up review, it’s time to take a moment for a quick recap of the top three contenders.

Best Budget Pick – Spalding Street Basketball

Spalding Street is more than just the best outdoor basketball. It is also the best budget pick because it offers exceptional value for its price.

Despite being budget-friendly, this ball is designed with durability in mind.

Spalding Street basketball is great for summer tournaments and your local gym.

Best Value – Spalding NeverFlat Elite

The Spalding NeverFlat Elite is a great basketball for both indoor and outdoor use.

It has superior air retention that can last for a year, thanks to NitroFlate molecules. The premium composite cover with a sponge carcass provides a soft grip.

With its Never Flat technology, this Spalding NBA basketball remains relatively affordable compared to an NBA official game ball.

Best Overall – Spalding Excel TF-500

The Spalding NBA Excel TF-500 is a great ball performing well on indoor-outdoor courts.

The grip is excellent, even when my hands are sweaty, and provides an excellent bounce for shooting and passing.

The Spalding TF series has always been a smart buy, and this ball holds the title for being one.

Conclusion

After exploring a wide range of Spalding NBA basketball designs, it is evident that the best one depends on individual preferences and playing style.

There are many best Spalding NBA basketballs, whether for competitive play, outdoor fun, or skill development.

Nevertheless, Spalding basketballs have proven their worth by being an NBA official game ball for 37 years.