One of the reasons basketball is so popular in the US (other than Space Jam and the endless supply of charismatic personalities in the NBA) is that it’s so simple to play. You don’t need a ton of equipment—just some sneakers, a playground or gymnasium hoop, and a ball. That’s it.
Of course, you do want to make sure you bring a rock that won’t lead to bricks—so whether you play indoors or outdoors, there are balls guaranteed to up your game. Here are some of the best for any environment.
A respected name in all courts, everywhere, Spalding delivers the goods. This NBA-standard 29.5 inch rock is actually designed for both indoor and outdoor use, but to be honest, it’s definitely more of an indoor ball. If you play indoors regularly, the ball will maintain its grip and bounce much longer, giving you a lot more game time for your money. But all around, the Spalding is a solid ball that you can’t go wrong with.
An intermediate-sized ball (28.5 inches) is perfect for younger kids or girls who bristle at the fact that a lot of gendered basketballs overdose on the color pink. Bust out this classic ball and marvel at the grip and bounce, which performs beautifully on indoor courts. The feel is slightly soft, which allows you to get a real grip on the ball and makes the handling smooth and natural. This model is also durable and holds its air well, so it’s always up for a game.
Not as recognized as a name in the basketball business, Firepulse still delivers a solid indoor/outdoor ball that’s built to withstand hard playground runs. The ball is a study in contrasts: The cushioned sponge core gives it a surprising cushy that enhances grip and control, while the moisture-wicking rubber composite feels tough and durable. Standard NBA size (29.5 inches), the Firepulse even comes with a carry bag and a handheld pump with needles.
Who said your basketball can’t come with a little style? After all, the NBA is seeing a watershed moment in off-the-court fashion. This UA offering isn’t just a solid choice for rugged outdoor courts—it just looks cool, too. The striking black ball has Golden State Warrior-approved blue and yellow highlights, along with no. 30’s signature initials. UA’s patented “Gripskin” design makes dribbling and crossovers a breeze, and the ball features a Butyl air bladder that maintains ideal inflation levels for that impromptu pickup game.