What is the Official Size of an NBA Basketball?

Anyone has played basketball has likely played with different sized basketballs. But there is indeed an official NBA  regulation sized basketball. Additionally, there are women basketballs and international basketballs as well. In this article we will discuss the official size of an NBA basketball as well as other basketball sizes and types that are most popular.

The first you notice as you take the first glance at the basketball choices out there is that there are rubber basketballs, leather basketballs, and composite basketballs. Most of them are very noticeable with monochrome or two-toned colors to choose from. All of them are branded in ways that make them instantly recognizable.

The Technical Aspects of Basketballs

Now here come the questions. You are probably wondering what ball do NBA players use?

  • For professional players, a basketball size is assigned based on their age, gender, and their level of experience. The standard basketball used on most NBA games measures 29.5 inches in circumference, also known as a size #7. This is also the same size that is used by NCAA College and HS basketball leagues for male players. The WNBA uses a slightly smaller ball, measuring 28.5 inches in circumference, also known as #6.
  • International leagues such as FIBA, use a Molten GL7 basketball for men and the Molten GL6 for women. These two basketballs feature different colors schemes and are bigger than the NBA standard by measuring 30.7-inch of a circumference. They are also regarded as a standard issue in many countries outside the USA.
  • Kids in middle school aged as old as 14 are recommended use a size #6, as do women and girls aged 12 and up. For kids whose age goes below that, either male or female, the recommended size is a #5 measuring 27.5 inches in circumference, since this one is of pretty common use in all young basketball leagues.
  • Smaller kids age 4 to 8 really need to take a few sizes down to make the most out their limited strength. The best recommendation for them is a size #4 with measuring 25.5 inches in circumference. The growth factor also plays a substantial role here since the kids in question need to hold the ball on their hands and their hand size can be a determining factor.

It's important to know about other factors that play some incidence in your gameplay as professionals do. Wondering what the official weight of an NBA basketball is is the right way to begin. So far the official information available places a Size 7 weight at 20 or 22 ounces. Size 6 weighs 18 to 20 ounces. Size 5 should not go over 17 ounces. Size four is set at 14 ounces, and the mini Size 3 should never weight more than 10 ounces

Additional Tidbits to Pick the Right Basketball

The pressure of inflation of the ball also plays a big role in your performance. Is good to ask how many PSI is a NBA basketball?

So far the official information states that a NBA basketball should always be inflated to a maximum pressure of 7.5 to 8.5 PSI. The WNBA follows the same rules. The NCAA inflation requirements are handled differently since they are by given weight. Their current parameters place a men's ball at 22 ounces, while the women's ball should weight no more than 20 ounces.

FIBA play rules state the ball should be inflated to a minimum air pressure that allows the ball to be bounced to the playing floor from a height of 180 cm from the bottom of the ball, with a rebound height that should go well over 120 cm and 140 cm, measured from the top of the ball.

The Sizes of Basketballs

All basketballs, regardless of size and materials are available in at least five different sizes: from #3 to #7, so you can choose the right one to build your game. The first thing you notice is that differences between all these balls are a couple of centimeters at best. It really shouldn’t matter at all which one you pick, but it certainly does. That’s why every league of basketball in the USA uses one differently on the playground.

Let's take a moment to put things in perspective. If you are playing for the sake of enjoying the game, there's nothing wrong with using any size of a ball with your pals. If you plan to play basketball more seriously, you will want the ball that is best suited to you. It might not look like it but basketball is a sport that requires precision, and even the smallest margin can make a difference in your game.

As you practice with a ball that is not fitted to you, you start to notice your own maneuverability to handle basketballs as you do more dribbles and passes. Even a free throw or a dunk can be quite tricky to handle if you are playing something that weights more than you can control. It also works the other way: a small ball won’t allow you to use your own strength appropriately and you will miss one too many shots as a result. 

The Best Material to Choose From

It all depends on the conditions of your game. If you are playing indoor basketballs, you need full-grain leather basketballs. If you are playing outside, you need a rubber. The leather feels soft to the touch, and continuous use breaks them and makes it easy to grip. They are the choice for indoor please mainly because they can get easily damaged by outdoor conditions such as heat and contact with concrete. Rubber basketballs can absorb the punishment of rough surfaces such as asphalt without losing their grip. Rubber balls are also the best choice for beginners because they can be controlled easily.

Play the Game the Right Way

You may think this is some sort of ill advice, but don’t let the flashiness get you. While a basketball can make instantly recognizable in the court just based on the design, it won’t do anything useful if you can’t handle it properly. You are probably wondering “what’s the big deal” if we are just discussing basketballs here. The truth is that not every ball out there works for everyone.

Modern basketballs are very diverse, some of them are a re-imagination of past basketball designs. There are genuinely daring options out there that stand out, but the best you can do to handle a basketball good from the moment you start to bounce is to realize what’s the best size that fits you. Oh! Didn't you know that? That's a right friend: basketballs can be found in various size, and all of them can take your game to the next level if you pick the right one.

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