I remember when I was a kid, no one really cared about other brands for basketball apart from Spalding. Sure, as kids, we would all play with cheap rubber basketballs, no brands, no bounce, and no consistency.
As you get older, Spalding is still synonymous with the NBA, mostly because it was the official basketball supplier for many years. But then, Wilson kicked into play and grabbed much of the Spalding fan base.
More and more people turn to Wilson these days, especially since the brand upped its quality standards a few years ago. And then, many of these players end up sticking to Wilson.
I have tried pretty much every basketball from Wilson, and I can agree that the grip, control, overall quality, and consistency are quite impressive.
Not sure about the best Wilson basketball out there? Let me make it clear to you.
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Wilson Evolution Game
Best for Grip and Control
Wilson NCAA Evo NXT Game
Best for Performance
Wilson NBA Authentic Series
Best for the Unique Feel
Wilson NCAA Indoor/Outdoor
Best for Consistent Rebound
Wilson NBA DRV Series Outdoor
Best for a Balanced Experience
The truth is Wilson does not have too many basketballs to choose from. There are a bunch of official balls, as well as smaller, lighter, or differently colored balls for occasional players. If you want the real thing, here are the reviews of the top 5 five Wilson basketballs in my opinion.
Available in a few sizes, this is the official basketball in most high schools across the USA and comes with NFHS approval. It has the unique feel of a cushion core carcass. Not only does it feel soft and comfy on your hands, but it also ensures a great grip, whether it comes to controlling or shooting.
Boosting an incredible Evo microfiber composite cover, the grip makes the ball feel like it sticks to your hands. It is less likely to slide out of your hand, regardless of how aggressive the game is. The ball is designed for indoor uses only, so you risk damaging it and losing grip if you use it on concrete or asphalt.
The official size 7 with a 29.5-inch circumference is the best-selling variant of this ball. Make sure you keep it inflated at about 8PSI for consistency and a good bounce. Rebounding is also flawless once you get used to the ball.
- Incredible grip
- Excellent feel
- Smooth and soft
- Official in most high schools
- Good rebounding features
- Dust kills the grip, so clean it after each use
This is the official NCAA game basketball. Indeed, it costs more than other Wilson basketballs, two or three times more. However, it is totally worth it, and it will provide a flawless experience. The ball is designed for indoor use only. Take it outside, and you will ruin it in no time.
Size 7 is the official one, but you can find smaller options for kids too. It is perfectly balanced and comes with an incredibly soft core. The spin is flawless, and believe it or not, you do not even need to put too much effort into it.
The basketball comes with pebbled channels rather than smooth ones. This way, the texture is consistent throughout the whole surface. It has a micro touch cover, which is basically an additional layer of grip, not to mention the moisture management capabilities.
- NCAA official basketball
- Incredibly soft core
- Micro touch cover
- Moisture management system
- Consistent grip, even throughout the channels
- It feels much bigger than a standard size 7 basketball, even if it is not
This is one of the best-selling basketballs from Wilson. It comes in a few different options, more sizes, and in indoor, outdoor, or indoor/outdoor variations. The indoor/outdoor option is my recommendation, especially if you have no clue where you will play, or you plan to take it everywhere.
In terms of design, the ball gives you an official sense. It features the official NBA brand signs, as well as the classic Wilson logo. Now, no one really cares about the design, but the performance comes first. You have NBA seams, a new channel construction design that can match most people’s preferences.
The ball feels great when it touches the hand. It feels like real leather, despite the composite material. It bounces, in the same way, every single time, offering consistency and control. Moreover, it is durable and can retain air for ages.
- Excellent feel
- Good grip and control
- Durable materials
- Good air retention
- Available in more variants
- Gets a bit slippery when wet
Wilson NCAA might be the best Wilson basketball if you want value for money and an authentic experience. It comes in a few different variants but opt for the composite size 7 option for the best experience. It has a soft touch cover based on composite and an extraordinary grip.
Moving on, Wilson has innovated a little with its channel construction, and the NCAA unit follows the same trend. It has a deep channel design that ensures good control even if the ball gets a bit dusty. Obviously, I recommend rinsing it after playing outside, as dust can alter the grip.
Like other Wilson basketballs, this one comes with a top-notch carcass construction. In my opinion, this is the best choice if you want consistency in the rebound. Plus, it is also durable and can stand the test of time. Keep it at 8PSI and you will not regret it.
- Available in more styles, sizes, and colors
- Impressive grip
- Deep channel build
- Excellent rebound
- Durable design
- Needs a bit of cleaning after outdoor sessions to retain the grip
You can find this Wilson basketball in multiple sizes, as well as a few interesting colors. Most people stick to the official burnt orange style, though. It is easy to see, and it looks great. Talking about the design, the ball features NBA graphics, as well as Wilson’s iconic logo.
Moving on to performance, get ready to be surprised. The performance cover is built specifically for outdoor uses. The ball offers a great bounce and will last for ages, even on rough and harsh surfaces like asphalt. In fact, it was designed for outdoor use.
It has a deep channel design, something new for Wilson basketballs. This way, even if dust gets inside the channels, you can still retain the grip and control. As if all these were not enough, you have good air retention. Once inflated at 8PSI, forget about checking it before every game.
- More styles and colors
- Good grip even when dusty
- Great outdoor durability
- Consistent bounce and rebound
- Great air retention
- The pump included in the package could be better
Is Wilson the Best Basketball Brand?
You may not be the most knowledgeable person when it comes to basketballs – there is no need to know everything about basketball equipment. So, how about we let the experts make suggestions then? The NBA switched from Spalding to Wilson in 2020. This should be a pretty good indication.
Spalding has held the official position for 37 years. What most people have no clue about is the fact that Wilson also held this position for 37 years before Spalding took over, probably just a coincidence. The move is blamed on regular changes in the competitive NBA industry.
Now, Wilson makes some of the best sports equipment in the world and not just basketball. The company has been in this industry for more than 100 years, so you can obviously count on great quality standards and superior specifications.
I know, to most people, Spalding feels like the classic option. But at the same time, people felt the same four decades ago, when Spalding became official, and Wilson was ditched after nearly four decades of official supplying. It is just how it feels.
It is worth noting that Wilson has also been the official basketball supplier for the NCAA since 2002.
These days, more and more people swear by Wilson’s basketballs. They can adapt to any playing style, and most of them do not require breaking in. In terms of quality, it looks like Wilson has surpassed Spalding recently.
Indeed, there are quality products coming from more brands, too, from Spalding to Nike, but these days, Wilson seems to be the main trend in business.
Choosing the Best Wilson Basketball – Our Buying Guide
What do you need to pay attention to when trying to find top Wilson basketball?
I will make it pretty simple. Unless you get this ball for someone younger than 15 or so, stick to the official NBA size, which is 7. It measures 29.5 inches in circumference, and it provides an excellent experience overall.
There are three major options here. You have leather, which is meant for indoor uses and will need breaking in. Then, you have cheaper composite leather, which works well both indoors and outdoors. It feels like leather, but it is more durable. Rubber is the cheapest material. Performance is quite poor.
Most people stick to the classic burnt orange because it looks like official games. If you play in dark places without too much light, you can also go for some brighter colors. Keep in mind that performance is more important than the actual color, though.
You will find Wilson basketballs that cost two or three times more than others. It is perfectly normal, as some basketballs are official, used in official competitions, or enhanced with extras for better performance. Avoid going over your budget and hunt value for money instead.
Control and Grip
You cannot really tell how much control and grip a ball will give you just by looking at it online. There are two things you can do, though. First, go through all the specs. You want good pebbling, even in the channels. You need a solid material, so the grip is consistent.
Look for moisture-wicking capabilities too, especially if your hands sweat a lot.
Second, what you can do is play with others. Lots of people have Wilson basketballs these days. When you go to a court, choose to play with others’ basketballs rather than yours. You can basically test-drive different Wilson balls to see how they work.
Best Wilson Basketball – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What material should I look for when buying a basketball?
Leather is considered the best and most expensive material. It is costly and can only be used indoors. Rubber balls are cheap and durable, but they will not provide good performance. Wilson tends to focus on composite leather materials, which replicate leather but also offer durability.
Are deeper channels better in basketball?
The deeper the channels are, the more grip you will have. If they are not deep enough, they may end up with dust, meaning you will lose grip. The ball becomes slippery as well. Deep channels will also give you better accuracy when shooting. Luckily, many Wilson balls come with this design.
How do I make my basketball less slippery?
A bit of maintenance is highly recommended for basketball. To get the grip back, simply get a clean rag and clean the ball with warm water. A few drops of dish soap will also help but rinse well after. Dust aims to reduce the grip by making basketballs more slippery, hence the necessity of a little care.
Choosing the best Wilson basketball depends on a few different factors. Each ball has its own specifications, a bunch of similarities, and, of course, a few particularities.
Wilson NCAA Evo NXT Game is one of the best options on the market and the official ball in many competitions. It costs more, indeed, but I think it offers good value for money. If budget is an issue, Wilson NBA DRV Series Outdoor offers a well-balanced experience as well.