The National Basketball Association today announced that Wilson Sporting Goods Co. will provide the official game ball of the NBA as well as the Women’s National Basketball Association, NBA G-League, and the new Basketball Africa League.
The new deal begins with the NBA’s 75th anniversary season in 2021-22 and will also be rolled out to the WNBA and G-League in their 2022 seasons. This ends the league’s in-game ball partnership with Spalding which had been in place since 1983.
“This partnership with Wilson returns us to our roots as we plan for the future,” said Salvatore LaRocca, NBA President, Global Partnerships. “We were partners for 37 seasons dating back to when Wilson manufactured the first official NBA basketballs in 1946, and we look forward to growing the game of basketball together.”
As for the actual ball, it will still be manufactured using all the same materials, the same eight-panel configuration, and performance specifications as the current basketball. The league says it will have its players work jointly with Wilson to approve the new game ball… I imagine in an attempt to avoid similar issues like those that sprang up with Spalding’s new synthetic ball came out about 15 years ago.
“Our commitment to growing the game of basketball on the global stage is at the heart of Wilson and our new partnership with the NBA,” said Kevin Murphy, General Manager, Wilson Basketball. “Our passion for this game and the league runs incredibly deep, as does our history with it. And as we start this new chapter in the game, our focus and energy will be on supporting the league and the players, coaches and fans with the most advanced, high-performance game basketballs possible.”