Why Did The NBA Stop Using Spalding Ball

Why Did The NBA Stop Using Spalding Ball?

NBA has been partners with Spalding balls for decades so you can understand the shock and confusion that rumbled through the people when the end of this partnership was announced.

As of May 2020, NBA called off its partnership with Spalding as their official ball make. But why did the NBA stop using Spalding ball?

We have covered the history of this partnership, what caused it to end, and some recent updates following this event. We have also covered comments made by both parties concerning this issue.

History of Spalding Balls

Founded in 1876 by Albert Spalding, this company is headquartered in Kentucky and they focus mostly on basketball and ball production, but they manufacture other sporting equipment like hoops, ball pumps rings, rims, and nets.

By 1990, Spalding had begun to sell punching bags and dumbbells, and then they expanded their organization to manufacture a variety of sporting items.

Between the 1930s and 1940s, Spalding started producing quality pucks for the National Hockey League, and they also introduced a new high-bounce ball called Spaldeen.

For the 1976 baseball season, Spalding manufactured a base all for the major league using the Spalding trademark on National League Balls and the Reach brand on the American League ball.

The massage series came to life in 1981 as Spalding had partnered with a Japanese brand known as Toyo rubber company to make racing wheels and by 2003, Spalding was already a member of the Russell corporation. The first Spalding basketball was developed in 1894 but the gas already started supplying to NBA in 1983.

An Overview of NBA

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a basketball league consisting of 30 teams, 29 of which are in the United States and one in Canada. It was founded in 1946 and was initially known as the Basketball Association of America(BAA) before it was changed to NBA in 1949.

NBA started to get popular when Magic Johnson Joined the Lakers and Larry Bird joined the Boston Celtics to face off in the 1979 NCCA basketball championship game.

It interested more people in 1984 when Michael Jordan joined the Chicago Bulls and in the 1992 Olympic Basketball Dream Team that featured various basketball stars.

Why did NBA Stop Using The Spalding Ball?

Spalding has a reputation for working with baseball, basketball, football, soccer, and volleyball so it was no surprise when they became the official ball supplier for NBA 1983.

What came as a surprise was the announcement made in May 2020. The partnership contract between these two companies was scheduled to expire after the 2020-2021 game season and renewal could be made, but NBA opted out of the deal with Spalding.

After 37 years of partnership, Spalding will still be known for its special and rare NBA basketball made completely of composite leather.

The NBA president of global partnership Sal LaRocca revealed in a recent interview that their partnership with these companies may change every 37 years as it has previously followed that sequence.

“Wilson is highly regarded in the basketball world. In the first 74 NBA seasons, Wilson had the first 37 and Spalding the next 37. So, our running joke is these partnerships may change every 37 years”

Spalding vice president and general manager Matt Murphy also gave his say in a brief interview with complex viewing the end of the partnership as an inability to agree on terms, he said;

“As an NBA partner, it has been our privilege to have Spalding played by the greatest athletes in the world. Over several months in late 2019 and early 2020, Spalding and the NBA worked earnestly on a new, go-forward partnership. However, we simply could not agree on terms, and it was mutually agreed that the 2020-2021 season would be our last”

When asked how this change will affect the future of Spalding, Matt replied saying,

“We will continue to invest in innovations that reinforce our leadership in the category, and we will continue to promote our brand as an authentic voice within basketball culture” According to the complex.

Both Spalding and Wilson are well-known brands in various leagues and globally, but this change may be huge for Spalding as it also affects other basketball leagues like G-League, Basketball Africa League, and WNBA.

Spalding may continue to thrive as they are recognized for manufacturing other sporting pieces of equipment in various fields, but for the time being, they will go further in their partnership with FIBA. Euroleague, the NCCA, and other associations related to high school basketball.

Is Spalding Better Than Wilson?

The basketball used by NBA players is rarely seen around and has only been felt by very few non-players. By merely looking at the ball, you can tell it’s different from any other basketball because it is brown, the basketball is made of horween leather which is derived from a horse.

This material gives the ball a smooth feel on your hand but it also makes it smooth and gives it an exceptional grip.

Wilson basketballs are manufactured with EVO-microfiber composite leather which is synthetic leather, It is also known for providing a good grip even with sweaty palms.

Wilson balls can be compared with Spalding balls as they are ranked in the performance category, but the former is more affordable. When using both balls, if you want to get a consistent bounce, then you should apply a pressure of 8 PSI.


The news of the end of a partnership between Spalding and the NBA shocked a lot of people, but with this article, we can understand why this compromise was made.

Spalding which was established in 1876 started its partnership with NBA which lasted for 37 years before a new one was formed between NBA and Wilson.

We have explained what the representatives of each organization had to say about the end of this partnership as well as detailed comparison between Spalding and Wilson. If you wish to know about both parties, you can read their brief history provided above.

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We trust this article helped you learn more about why NBA stopped using Spalding ball. You may also want to check out: How To Install a Basketball Hoop on A Garage Wall or House?

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