How Much Does an NBA Basketball Weigh?

Written by: Basketball Universe

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How Much Does an NBA Basketball Weigh?

Welcome to our exploration of one of the most essential pieces of equipment in the game we all love – the NBA basketball! 💙🏀 One of the most common questions about this iconic ball is “how much does it weigh?” While it might look the same as other basketballs you see at your local gym, playground, or school, the official NBA basketball has specific characteristics that set it apart. In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the world of NBA basketballs, unraveling their weight, size, and other fascinating facts. So to all the hoops fanatics, aspiring ballers, and trivia enthusiasts out there, let’s dribble our way into the ultimate guide to unlocking the secrets of the NBA basketball!

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How Much Does an NBA Basketball Weigh?

An official NBA basketball weighs approximately 22 ounces (1.4 pounds or 625 grams) when fully inflated, ensuring optimal use by professional athletes during heated gameplay. This weight is consistent across all NBA-regulated basketballs, providing a standardized experience for players on the court.

The Anatomy of an NBA Basketball

Before we delve deeper into the subject of our title, let’s first explore the important aspects that make up an NBA basketball. Understanding its construction and materials will help us appreciate its weight and how these factors contribute to its performance on the court.

Materials: Durability Meets Grip

The story of the NBA basketball begins with its material. Most official NBA basketballs are made of a high-quality, full-grain leather cover. Leather provides fantastic grip, as well as a soft and consistent touch that makes it easier for professional players to handle the ball. Over time, the leather cover tends to break in, providing even better grip and softer touch. As a result of this quality, NBA basketballs are often regarded as the best in the industry for performance and durability.

Construction: Air Retention and Bounce

The construction of the NBA basketball is crucial for retaining air and ensuring a proper bounce. The ball is made up of multiple layers, consisting of a rubber butyl bladder, carcass, and a leather cover. The innermost layer—the butyl bladder—stores the air and is designed to provide consistent pressure and minimal air retention loss. The carcass consists of multiple layers of nylon, polyester, and other materials to offer structure, strength, and flexibility. Finally, the top leather cover serves as the finishing touch, ensuring great grip and feel for every bounce and shot.

Size Matters: NBA Basketball Dimensions

The weight of an NBA basketball goes hand-in-hand with its size. The league follows the standard set by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) when it comes to dimensions. NBA basketballs are called size 7 balls, designed for players aged 12 and older who have a passion for basketball. Let’s break down these dimensions:

Circumference: How Round Is It?

An NBA basketball has a circumference of approximately 29.5 inches (75 cm). This size ensures that players can comfortably handle, palm, dribble, and shoot the ball. The NBA has maintained this size for many years, as it provides a consistent playing experience for both fans and players alike.

Diameter: The Length of a Line

The diameter of an NBA basketball can be calculated using the circumference. The formula to do so is: diameter = circumference/Ď€. Using the official NBA basketball circumference of 29.5 inches, we get a diameter of about 9.39 inches (23.85 cm). This diameter is essential to keep in mind, especially when designing hoops and rims. A regulation NBA hoop has an inside diameter of 18 inches (45.72 cm), allowing for ample space for the ball to pass through.

Inflation and Pressure: Finding the Sweet Spot

As we turn our attention to the topic of weight, it’s important to note that an NBA basketball’s weight is largely affected by its air pressure. The correct inflation pressure for an NBA basketball directly impacts the ball’s performance on the court, allowing it to bounce consistently and function smoothly during gameplay.

How Much Air Should a Basketball Contain?

An NBA basketball should be inflated to a pressure of 7.5 to 8.5 PSI (pounds per square inch) or 51.7 to 58.6 kPa (kilopascal). It is essential to stay within this range for optimal performance. Overinflating or underinflating the ball can cause it to bounce irregularly, making it more difficult to control, dribble, or shoot accurately. Furthermore, improper inflation can increase the risk of damaging the ball or shortening its lifespan.

The Bounce Test: Staying True to Regulation

A quick way to determine if an NBA basketball is inflated correctly is through the bounce test. Drop the ball from a height of 6 feet (1.8 meters) and observe how high it bounces back. A properly inflated ball should bounce back to a height between 4 feet 6 inches (1.37 meters) and 4 feet 10 inches (1.47 meters). If the bounce falls within this range, you’re likely in the sweet spot, and the ball is ready for gameplay!

Significance of the NBA Basketball’s Weight

Now that we know an NBA basketball weighs around 22 ounces, it’s time to explore what this means for basketball players and enthusiasts who want to improve their game.

Consistency for Professionals and Amateurs Alike

The standardized weight of 22 ounces for an NBA basketball is designed to provide a consistent playing experience for both professionals and amateurs. This consistent weight ensures that when athletes move from different levels of the game, they do not need to adjust their playing style significantly due to varying basketball weights. From high school courts to the NBA, players can expect a similar handling experience, regardless of the arena.

Perfecting Your Shots: The Role of Weight

The 22-ounce basketball weight is carefully crafted to enhance players’ shooting abilities. The ball’s weight not only provides sufficient force for accurate trajectories but also ensures players can control the ball better during shots. Whether you’re practicing free throws or attempting a slam dunk, understanding and adapting to the basketball’s weight is essential to consistently sinking your shots.

Developing Strong Ball Handling Skills

Mastering the art of dribbling is essential in basketball, and the 22-ounce weight plays a significant role in refining these skills. Practicing with the same weight as the NBA basketball can help you develop a stronger command over the ball while dribbling, passing, or performing tricky moves. Players who develop their ball-handling skills using a similar weight can quickly adapt and excel on the court.

Maintaining Your NBA Basketball: Tips for Longevity

Now that we have a fundamental understanding of NBA basketball dimensions and weight, let’s learn some essential tips for preserving the ball and ensuring it stays in top condition for longer durations.

Proper Inflation is Key

As mentioned earlier, maintaining the recommended air pressure of 7.5 to 8.5 PSI is crucial for preserving your NBA basketball. Frequently check the pressure and make adjustments as needed, using a reliable air pump and pressure gauge. Proper inflation optimizes the ball’s performance and prolongs its lifespan.

Keep it Clean

Regularly cleaning your NBA basketball is essential to maintain optimal grip, performance, and longevity. Use a damp cloth with mild soap and water to gently wipe away dirt and grime. Avoid using chemicals or abrasive materials, as they can damage the leather surface, diminishing grip and shortening the ball’s life.

Store it Correctly

When not in use, store your NBA basketball in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Improper storage conditions can cause the ball’s materials to break down or decay, leading to air leakage or compromised performance. A little care can go a long way in maintaining the quality of your vital basketball equipment.


There you have it–an in-depth exploration into the world of NBA basketballs and how their weight factors into the game. Though an NBA basketball’s weight of 22 ounces may seem like a simple trait, it plays a significant role in the performance, handling, and overall pleasure of the game. From materials and construction to proper maintenance, becoming familiar with all these aspects will allow you to appreciate and excel in the game of basketball.

Selecting the Right Basketball for You

With a clear understanding of NBA basketball specifications, a natural question arises: what basketball is right for you? Whether you’re practicing your skills, enjoying a pickup game with friends or competing in a league, selecting the right basketball is crucial for maximizing your enjoyment and performance on the court. Let’s explore different factors to consider when shopping for the perfect basketball.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Basketballs

One vital aspect to consider when choosing a basketball is where you plan to play. Indoor and outdoor courts require different ball materials to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

Indoor basketballs are typically made of full-grain leather or composite leather. These materials provide excellent grip and softness but are more susceptible to wear and tear on outdoor surfaces. Using a leather ball outdoors can significantly reduce its lifespan.

Outdoor basketballs are made of durable rubber, designed to withstand harsher playing conditions and rough surfaces like asphalt or concrete. While these balls may not offer the same grip or softness as leather balls, they provide a cost-effective option and enhanced durability for outdoor play.

Choosing the Right Size

As mentioned earlier, NBA basketballs are size 7, but it’s essential to choose a basketball that corresponds with the age and hand size of the players. Smaller-sized basketballs are available for children or smaller hands, making it easier for them to learn and master the game. Below is a general guideline for selecting the appropriate basketball size:

  • Size 7: Circumference: 29.5 inches (75 cm) – For men and boys aged 12 and up.
  • Size 6: Circumference: 28.5 inches (72 cm) – For women and girls aged 12 and up, and boys aged 9-11.
  • Size 5: Circumference: 27.5 inches (69.9 cm) – For both boys and girls aged 8-9.
  • Size 4: Circumference: 25.5 inches (64.8 cm) – For children aged 5-7.
  • Size 3: Circumference: 22 inches (56 cm) – For toddlers and preschoolers aged 4-5.

Price and Brand Considerations

Basketball prices can range from a few dollars for a simple rubber ball to over a hundred dollars for an official NBA game ball. Consider your budget and the intended use of the ball when making your decision. Basic rubber balls are perfect for informal games or outdoor play, while pricier leather or composite leather balls may be more suited for competitive indoor play or training sessions.

It’s also worth considering the brand and reputation of the basketball manufacturer. Some popular basketball brands include Spalding, Wilson, Molten, and Baden. These brands are known for their quality products and are trusted by basketball players worldwide. Researching and reading reviews can help you find the best basketball that suits your needs and preferences.

Understanding Basketball Inflation Techniques

Ensuring that your basketball is properly inflated is vital for optimal performance and longevity. In this section, we will explore some techniques and tips to accurately inflate your basketball.

Using a Pump and Pressure Gauge

Invest in a hand pump and a reliable pressure gauge to accurately inflate your basketball. Hand pumps are portable and widely available, making them an essential part of your basketball kit. A pressure gauge helps you determine the current pressure of your basketball and ensure it stays within the recommended 7.5 to 8.5 PSI.

Prevent Leakage and Damage

Before inflating your basketball, moisten the inflation needle with water or glycerin to provide lubrication. Insert the needle gently into the air valve to avoid damaging the interior components of the ball. Make sure not to force the needle in or pull it out at an angle, as doing so can lead to leaks and other complications.

Check for Proper Inflation

As you inflate your basketball, keep your pressure gauge at hand to frequently check the pressure. Understanding how your pump works and the number of pumps needed to reach the optimal pressure is essential. When finished, conduct the bounce test mentioned earlier to ensure your ball is inflated within the required bounce range.

Armed with this additional knowledge of selecting the right basketball and understanding inflation techniques, you can confidently choose the ideal ball for your needs and ensure that it performs optimally during gameplay. Knowledge

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers that you might have concerning NBA basketballs, their weight, and other related topics. Expand your knowledge by exploring these questions!

1. What is the official brand of NBA basketballs?

Spalding served as the official basketball supplier for the NBA for many years, producing the iconic leather game balls. However, starting with the 2021-2022 season, Wilson has taken over as the official basketball supplier for the NBA.

2. How much does a WNBA basketball weigh?

A WNBA basketball, which is classified as a size 6 ball, weighs around 20 ounces (1.25 pounds or approximately 567 grams), slightly less than an NBA basketball.

3. Can I use an NBA basketball for indoor and outdoor play?

An NBA basketball made of leather is best suited for indoor play due to its delicate surface that can wear quickly on outdoor surfaces. For outdoor play, consider using a rubber or composite leather basketball, which offers improved durability on rough surfaces like asphalt or concrete.

4. What is the difference between NBA game balls and replica balls?

NBA game balls are made of full-grain leather, designed to meet the highest standards of performance and quality for professional games. Replica basketballs, on the other hand, often use composite leather or rubber materials, making them more affordable for casual players or collectors.

5. Can the weight of an NBA basketball change during a game?

While the weight of an NBA basketball might vary minimally during a game due to absorption of moisture through sweat, dust, and dirt, it usually remains fairly consistent.

6. How often do NBA teams replace their game balls?

NBA teams typically replace game balls at their discretion, taking into account factors like wear, damage, or loss of grip. New balls may be used in practices before being introduced to games, ensuring they are broken in and meet the players’ preferences.

7. Can I make my basketball heavier for training purposes?

There are specially designed weighted basketballs for training purposes, which can help you strengthen your muscles, improve ball control, and enhance shooting techniques. Using a weighted basketball for training might offer better results than attempting to make a regular basketball heavier.

8. How can I improve my dribbling with a heavier basketball?

Practicing with a slightly heavier basketball or a weighted training ball can strengthen your muscles and improve wrist and arm control, ultimately enhancing your dribbling performance when using a standard 22-ounce NBA basketball.

9. What are the key features to look for when buying a basketball?

When purchasing a basketball, consider factors such as playing surface (indoor or outdoor), the material (leather, composite leather, or rubber), the size (based on age or hand size), brand reputation, and price range.

10. How often should I check my basketball’s air pressure?

It’s a good idea to check your basketball’s air pressure at least once a month or before any significant game or practice session. Proper inflation ensures optimal performance and longevity for your ball.

11. Can I repair a damaged NBA basketball?

Depending on the extent and location of the damage, it may be possible to repair a damaged basketball using patches or special ball repair kits. However, damage to the air bladder may be more difficult to repair and might require replacing the ball.

12. How do I properly clean the leather surface of an NBA basketball?

To clean the leather surface of an NBA basketball, use a damp cloth with mild soap and water to gently wipe away dirt and grime. Avoid using chemicals or abrasive materials, which can damage the leather surface and affect the ball’s grip.

13. What air pump is recommended for inflating basketballs?

Hand pumps and portable electric pumps are popular choices for inflating basketballs. Ensure your chosen pump is compatible with your ball’s air valve and has a reliable gauge to accurately measure the air pressure.

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