The 10 Best Outdoor Basketballs
The 10 Best Outdoor Basketballs
When you’re serious about playing basketball, be it in a competitive league or just with friends and family in the neighborhood, you want your basketball to show it. Not only does a good basketball improve your overall performance, but it also shows the people you’re playing with that you’re going to take the game seriously and give them a fun challenge.
This list will give you the perfect guide to picking from some of the best outdoor basketballs available, including what each ball is best for.
The Spalding NBA Street Basketball
It should be no surprise that Spalding is a big player on this list. Their products are consistently high quality and designed for the player.
One of the things you want to consider for this and every basketball on this list is what size you want to order the ball in. This ball comes with three options, sizes 5, 6, and 7. Size 7 is the standard. This is what the pros play with. They are a good balance between size, weight, and maneuverability at size 7. But, size 7 is probably not a great option if you want to play basketball with your kids, or in a group made up of mostly women, or that is mixed in terms of gender.
Going smaller than size 7 has pros and cons too. The smaller and more lightweight your ball the more vulnerable it is to wind and other weather messing up its performance. That said, size 6 is a good option for female players, mixed group players, and teenagers who are still growing but don’t need a youth ball.
The final option for size on this and most basketballs is size 5, which is also called youth sized. This size is purpose-designed for younger players who aren’t big enough to handle the full-sized basketball. Great for teaching your kids, but you may also want to get a larger ball for yourself if you ever want to play on your own.
Another feature you want to look for, not only for this basketball but for the others on the list as well, is the weight of the ball. At size 7 this ball is standard NBA weight. That means it will perform as close to the professionals’ gear as possible.
However, unlike the pro’s balls, this basketball has a durable rubber cover. This gives you a few advantages for outdoor play. For one thing, it’s more durable than the leather the pros use, so you won’t have to replace it nearly as often. Also, leather requires a break-in period before it will really perform the way it’s supposed to, the rubber here might require a slight break-in, but, for the most part, it ships ready to play.
The deep channels on this ball also give it superior maneuverability and control, while the textured rubber provides an amazing surface grip. Overall this is a really great option for any outdoor player, maximizing both performance and durability.
Spalding Never Flat Indoor / Outdoor Official Basketball
The main attraction for this basketball over the Spalding NBA Street Basketball is that it is specifically designed for people who don’t want to do a lot of maintenance on their ball.
Basketballs deflate. That’s just a fact of life. Use, general wear and tear, and even the weather can take a perfectly inflated basketball and make it a flat unusable mess. Over time even the best basketballs will deflate faster, and they can even lose the ability to hold the perfect pressure.
This basketball is purpose-built to minimize how often you have to re-inflate the ball, regardless of how often you use it or how drastically the weather and temperature changes in your area.
This basketball is also made of composite leather instead of rubber, which means a slightly different texture with the same high performance in your hand and on the court. A redesign on the valve means that all that pressure protection doesn’t mean sacrificing anything in terms of appearance, performance, or durability.
One drawback for this particular basketball, though, is that it only comes in sizes 6 and 7, meaning that this may not be the best choice for a family basketball if you have little kids who want to play.
Spalding NBA Street Basketball – Pink/Purple
This basketball makes the list because it’s a great way to add some inclusivity to your basketball game. Unfortunately the pink and purple color only comes in size 6, but, the other design features and functionality make up for that limitation.
Like the original color Spalding NBA Street Basketball, this one has a durable rubber cover, ships ready-to-use, and is designed to hold up to the playground, street, and patio use. The design is the same in everything but size, which means you get the same quality in a different color.
And that color is why this ball makes the list. This is a great option for all the dads out there who want to make sure their daughters know that they are welcome to come and join in on a game of basketball. Color may not seem like a big deal, but it really can make a difference between a teenage girl not feeling welcome and knowing that she can play and is wanted.
The pink and purple color is also a great way for women’s teams to show some pride, especially in a mixed-gender league, or even for men to show some support and pride for the women in their lives. This is just a great basketball overall for adding some inclusivity into the game.
Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball
The Wilson line of basketballs offers a similarly high-quality product to what Spalding produces, but with just those slight adjustments to texture and performance that can make a big difference in individual player performance.
One of the big things this composite leather ball offers that can make it a great choice is that it is somewhat moisture absorbent. That means you can take this indoor/outdoor ball out in more weather conditions. You can play after a rainstorm without waiting for the cement to totally dry.
It’s also a good option for players whose hands get a little sweaty since the moisture absorption means you won’t lose any grip or maneuverability on the ball as the game progresses.
Unfortunately, this is another basketball that only comes in Intermediate (size 6) and Professional (size 7) offerings with no youth size.
Another reason you might choose to go with this basketball is the texture. Designed to be just a little bit softer this is a great basketball for shooting. That little bit of extra cushion can also provide a confidence boost to the player when they feel everything line up just right.
Spalding NBA Street Phantom
The Spalding Street Phantom is another basketball with just a hint of softness for enhanced grip and maneuverability. This is a painted rubber ball, but don’t worry about the paint wearing off. Like all of Spalding’s indoor/outdoor balls, it is designed with durability at the core of its function, so it’ll look just the same the day it arrives as the day you retire it for a new one.
The street phantom comes in a variety of paint designs, but one thing you can expect from all of them is a matte black base.
Although this particular ball only comes in size 7, it’s still a great choice for families with older kids for one major reason. A cool looking ball can help entice kids away from the video games and out onto the court.
Don’t let the sleek design fool you, however, none of the grip, maneuverability, or overall function of the basketball were sacrificed to give it the sleek look. This is still the high-quality performance-enhancing ball Spalding built a reputation on.
Wilson NCAA Illuminator Glow in the Dark Basketball
This basketball is an amazing option for those looking for something slightly different out of their games. The rubber cover on this ball offers all the same performance you’re looking for in a good basketball, plus, it glows in the dark.
Yes, it glows in the dark. This makes it a perfect ball for anyone looking to be able to come home and play a game with their buddies in the evening. It also extends the time of year you can reasonably play a game after work since it allows you to play into the twilight and outright darkness that arrive so much earlier in the spring and autumn.
Making it possible to play longer during the day and longer through the year means more practice, more games, and more time to expand your basketball skill set.
Plus, a midnight glow in the dark tournament is a fun way to add something different to your regular games and practice with your team, your friends, and your family. Variety is the spice of life.
Mikasa BX 1000 Premium Rubber Basketball
Because basketballs have such a wide range of features that, while slight in terms of physical difference, can make big differences in player performance, it’s important to consider a wide range not only of basketballs but of brands when making a decision in which ball is right for you.
The Mikasa BX 1000 is another high-performance basketball with a durable rubber cover that makes it perfect for outdoor use.
The cover has a deep-pebble design for maximum grip, which translates to total control over where that ball is going, on the court, and in the air.
Mikasa also offers a slightly different size selection than the other brands on this list, from the official standard to a smaller size 4 for younger players.
However, whereas Spalding guarantees that their basketballs will arrive court-ready, Mikasa balls are more likely to require inflation when they arrive, so you should have a ball inflator on hand if you decide to go with this option. That shouldn’t stop you though since it’s a good idea to have a ball inflator anyway so your ready the first time your basketball loses pressure
Wilson NCAA MVP Rubber Basketball
This basketball is another great offering from Wilson and comes in a wider size variety than most, going all the way down to an Elementary ball, and with three choices between the Elementary size, and a full size 7 Official ball. That makes this a great family choice because you can get the same build and style of ball for your littlest kids as you get when they’re young adults headed to college.
Like many balls on this list, the Wilson NCAA MVP basketball has a rubber cover that makes it a durable option for outdoor play without sacrificing performance. That means you can take this ball to an indoor tournament even if you mostly practice outside.
This ball also comes with some additional pressure protection, meaning you won’t have to inflate the ball as often, and reducing the wear and tear.
Plus, with a wide range of pressure options (from 7-9psi), you can determine the perfect pressure for you without wearing out the ball faster by going outside it’s designed pressure, either too high or too low.
Under Armor 495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball
Being the last ball on this list doesn’t say anything about the overall quality of the Under Amor 495. This is still a premium, high-performance ball. Featuring a composite leather cover and a butyl air bladder this basketball is just as durable as its competitors and offers slight design differences that separate it from the pack.
This basketball, in particular, was designed to retain its shape through temperature change and high use both, making it a good option for anyone living in an area with wide temperature fluctuations throughout the year or who plans to put several hours of practice into the ball each day.
However, like the Mikasa ball, the Under Armor 495 may need to be inflated when it first arrives before you go out and play so you need to have a ball inflation pump on hand.
Overall this is another well-rounded basketball from its durability, to the Under Armor grip design, to its air and court performance.