For almost four decades, Spalding has partnered with the NBA to manufacture all of its game balls. That partnership will end at the end of the 2020-21 NBA season.
Wilson, which manufactured the very first NBA game balls back in 1946, will become the new provider of the official NBA game ball. Wilson will also make the official game ball for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the NBA G League, the NBA2K League, and Basketball Africa League (BAL).
The Wilson basketball will be used first by the NBA as part of the league’s 75th anniversary season in 2021-22. The new ball will debut in the other leagues at different times. The WNBA will use the new ball in its 2022 season. The NBA G League, the NBA2K League, and the BAL will all put the new ball in action with the start of their 2021-22 seasons.
The leather for the game balls will still come from the same source. The ball itself will not change. It will still be the same eight-panel construction that has always been used. The configuration and all the performance specifications will remain the same.
The league and NBA players will also have a say in the manufacturing of the new ball. It will be a joint effort with Wilson to develop and approve the new game ball before its debut in 2021-22.
The Spalding ball will continue to be used the remainder of this season and for the 2020-21 season. The current season is still suspended due to the coronavirus crisis. Teams around the league have just begun to open their practice facilities for individual workouts.
The Los Angeles Clippers became the 16th team re-open their practice venue when they did so on Monday, May 18. That follows the Clippers’ rivals, the Lakers, who re-opened on Saturday. Both the Lakers and Clippers were able to get back to work despite the city of Los Angeles remaining on lockdown until July.
There is still no definitive answer on when the NBA season would resume, if at all. League commissioner Adam Silver hopes to make that decision by mid-June.