When it comes to playing basketball, the experience of hooping relies on many different factors. The ultimate enjoyment you have playing is dependent on the court your playing on, the rim you’re shooting, the shoes you have on, whether or not there’s a net on the rim, the players you’re playing with and the basketball you’re literally bouncing and shooting.
In this article, we’re going to tackle that last foundational factor – the basketball itself. And in this review, we’re going to compare the two most-popular basketball brands Spalding and WILSON. While both companies produce high-quality basketballs; there are both differences and similarities.
Spalding vs. Wilson
Even though both Spalding and Wilson basketballs both boast having the highest-quality basketballs that meet stringent performance standards; they both are mass-produced basketballs with dozens of options on the market.
Spalding crafted the company’s first basketball after James Naismith asked A.G. Spalding to come up with the first basketball sometime in 1894. Wilson started making basketballs half a century later, but when they did, the NBA adopted their balls in 1946.
Both brands have been an official basketball provider for the NBA. Wilson was the NBA’s first official basketball supplier. The league played with WILSON basketballs for 37 years from 1946 until 1983. In 1983, Spalding became the official ball of the NBA. Spalding was synonymous with NBA basketballs for thirty-seven years until Wilson jumped back in to become the official game ball again starting in the 2020-21 season.
Sportsbetting enthusiasts are often curious about these fine details, since basketballs can impact performances and game outcomes. Sites like Promoguy recently published a review for FanDuel sportsbook, which has been gathering a lot of traction across the US markets.
The Best-Reviewed Basketballs: Wilson or Spalding?
At first we wanted to write out a typical 3000-word review comparing the two brands’ materials, construction, subjective performance, and price. But because both Wilson and Spalding offer so many different types of basketballs we thought to ourselves: there’s got to be an easier way.
We think we came up with an simpler way that would give us directional information as to whether Spalding or Wilson basketballs were better. Love or hate Amazon, the ecommerce website has everything. Not only do they have everything, Amazon allows their users to submit a review on any item you can purchase on the site.
If we were to use Amazon reviews for basketballs, we could add up the ratings for the most-reviewed Spalding and Wilson basketballs, do some math and come up with an overall score based on thousands upon thousands of of user reviews for both Wilson and Spalding basketballs. On the surface this could tell us which basketball brand was better.
|Spalding Street Phantom Outdoor Basketball 29.5" (Black)||4.7||9961||48.99|
|Spalding Street Outdoor Basketball||4.5||4477||19.99|
|Spalding Rookie Gear Youth Indoor-Outdoor Basketball (Multicolor)||4.6||2701||29.99|
|Spalding Zi/O TF Indoor-Outdoor Basketball||4.7||1937||29.99|
|Spalding React TF-250 Indoor-Outdoor Basketball||4.6||1898||49.99|
|Spalding Street Phantom Outdoor Basketball 29.5"||4.6||1885||20.99|
|Spalding Street Outdoor Basketball||4.8||1387||16.99|
|Spalding Unisex Adult 71047Z_7 Basketball Size 7 Orange||4.4||881||25.99|
|Spalding Varsity Multi Color Outdoor Basketball (Blue/Green)||4.8||803||17.99|
|Spalding React TF-250 Indoor-Outdoor Basketball 29.5"||4.5||795||49.99|
|Spalding Zi/O TF Excel Indoor-Outdoor Basketball||4.7||525||29.99|
|Spalding Rookie Gear Youth Indoor-Outdoor Basketball||4.7||503||24.99|
|WILSON NCAA Outdoor Basketball||4.7||15707||16.95|
|WILSON Evolution Game Basketball||4.8||12097||79.95|
|WILSON NCAA "FINAL FOUR" Indoor/Outdoor||4.6||9218||19.97|
|WILSON NCAA Replica Game Basketball||4.7||7516||34.95|
|WILSON NBA DRV Series Outdoor Basketballs||4.6||4726||27.97|
|Wilson Clutch Basketball||4.6||1882||31.99|
|WILSON NBA Authentic Series Basketballs||4.6||1809||44.95|
|WILSON MVP Mini||4.5||1717||24.63|
|WILSON NCAA MVP Rubber Basketball||4.6||1653||14.95|
|WILSON NBA Forge Series Outdoor Basketballs||4.6||1144||29.95|
|WILSON FIBA 3X3||4.6||1012||34.99|
Breaking Down The Data
Overall Score: You can see that between Spalding and WILSON, there are over 85,000 Amazon reviews across 23 different basketballs. The Wilson basketballs had an average rating of 4.678 across over 58,000 reviews while Spalding had an overall rating of 4.637 approaching 28,000 reviews. It doesn’t seem like a huge difference, but considering the scale of all the reviews, the 0.041 that Wilson has over Spalding shows that generally speaking, Wilson is slightly better than Spalding in terms of material and performance.
Number of Reviews: Not only that, WILSON basketballs have more than double the amount of Amazon reviews that Spalding has (58,481 vs. 27,753) meaning that there’s much more certainty in the 4.678 rating the eleven WILSON basketballs have received.
Average Price: The price of a basketball really depends on the basketball’s material (leather/composite/rubber), the type of basketball (indoor/outdoor/mini), and where you’re buying it. As we mentioned, we reviewed 23 basketballs and their material, type, color and other physical attributes were all over the place, so the average price isn’t a 1:1 comparison. That said, the pricing was taken from Amazon and based on the data we pulled Spalding basketballs were 25% cheaper than WILSON balls. Spalding’s average price was $24.26 vs. $32.63 per WILSON basketball.
Best-Reviewed Basketball: When we looked at which basketball was the best reviewed, we didn’t just look at the rating, but we also considered that with the number of reviews it received (the more the better). In this category the WILSON Evolution Game Basketball with an overall raring of 4.8 and 12,097 reviews. This tracks with our recent analysis of the best indoor basketballs — the Evolution also came out on top as our highest recommendation for an indoor basketball.
As far as the balance of most reviews and best rating, the WILSON Evolution beat out the WILSON NCAA Outdoor Basketball. The WILSON NCAA Outdoor ball was the most-reviewed basketball with nearly 16,000 reviews on this list and a 4.7 overall rating. This ball also made our list of the best outdoor basketballs you could buy on the market.
Our Recommendation: Get a WILSON
The data speaks for itself. Though Spalding may be the bigger, more popular brand name, in our analysis WILSON basketballs consistently received more reviews (potentially meaning more people ended up buying their basketballs). And it wasn’t close. Of the eleven most-reviewed WILSON basketballs we used in our analysis, they garnered more than double the amount of reviews than the twelve most-reviewed Spalding basketballs on Amazon.
Not only that, collectively WILSON basketballs had a higher composite rating than Spalding basketballs with a score of 4.67 vs. 4.63. Combined the two most-reviewed WILSON basketballs had more reviews (12,804) than all twelve Spalding basketballs (27,753) on our list. To us, this speaks to the quality of those two WILSON basketballs in the material and how WILSON designs their basketballs.
When it comes down to choosing a basketball to buy and you’re considering basketballs from both WILSON and Spalding, all things equal you would likely have a better experience with a WILSON basketball over the comparable Spalding.
Don’t just choose any WILSON either, go with the ones that have been proven. If you’re using the hooping mostly indoors, you can’t go wrong with the WILSON Evolution basketball and if for going to use the basketball mostly outdoor, then more than 15,000 players have rated the WILSON NCAA Outdoor a 4.7 our of 5.