Watching the giant humans of the top of the basketball world playing in the NBA can easily warp your perception of size. Have you ever seen Shaq standing next to the Rock? So it may be hard to understand exactly what size the ball they are using is.
NBA basketball sizes? There is only one sized ball used for official NBA events. This is the Wilson NBA Official Game Basketball. This is a genuine leather, size 7 basketball, measuring 29.5” (75cm) in circumference with a standard weight of 22oz (0.62kg). These are the regulation measurements for size 7 basketballs which is the standard ball size for men’s professional basketball associations, such as the NBA, FIBA, NCAA College, US high school, and almost all men’s leagues around the world.
Of course though men’s 5v5 basketball isn’t the only basketball game in town. Different sized balls are used for Women’s basketball, youth basketball and what about versions like 3v3 which featured in the Tokyo Olympics?
What size game ball does the Women’s NBA (WNBA) use?
The official ball of the WNBA is also produced by Wilson. Known as the Wilson WNBA Official Game Basketball is a Size 6 basketball measuring 28.5” (72.4cm) with a weight of 20oz (0.56kg). The Size 6 ball is not only the standard for the WNBA but all female basketball leagues around the world. The slightly smaller size is ideal for players with smaller hand spans. So they are also used in youth leagues for players typically aged between 12 and 15. At this point males would switch to the size 7 while females continue using the size 6 as adults.
Unlike the men’s NBA game ball the WNBA ball isn’t made from genuine leather, but from a technologically advanced composite, known as Micro-Touch Composite Leather. With distinct alternating red and white panels the official WNBA game ball made by Wilson is packed with technology, according to the Wilson website:
“Fire & White unite with the Wilson WNBA Official Game Ball. Made with Evo NXT technology this ball features Extended Range Tech, enhanced grip, soft feel, a moisture wicking surface and laid-in-channels you can feel the difference with the first touch. The micro-touch Fire & White cover creates a double-layered grip delivering an authentic level feel.”
The technology is explained below:
- MICRO-TOUCH COVER: Micro pebbling paired with standard pebbled channels wicks moisture and sweat from surface for superior grip and control.
- EXTENDED RANGE TECH: Optimally balanced, super soft core generates more spin with less effort extending a shooters range and provides a softer touch at the rim
- PEBBLED CHANNELS: Composite pebbled channels create a consistent surface texture displacing moisture and enhance grip for unparalleled control
As you can see from this, basketball technology has come a long way since the inception of the sport in 1891. We tracked the history of the game ball’s evolution here.
What size basketball is used in FIFA competitions?
Similar to the NBA and WNBA in men’s competitions a size 7 basketball is standard in FIBA, for the women a size 6 is used. These do not differ in specification size and weight. Although they are not produced by Wilson.
Ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup a new official game ball was announced. This was to be made by Molten, FIBA’s long standing partner. The official game ball was jointly designed by FIBA and Molten based on the highly regarded BG5000, which has been used in FIBA international games since August 2019.
The FIBA Molten ball, like the NBA Wilson Men’s ball is made from genuine leather, not composite and will therefore need breaking in.
Molten BG5000 FIBA Official Game Ball
“Control your game with the Molten BG5000 FIBA Official Game Ball featuring foam layers
under the leather surface to provide extra grip and space for your fingertips during play
The Molten BG5000 FIBA Official Game Ball in Size 7 takes advantage of all-natural
leather properties, with expanded surface leather providing enhanced grip and durability
The Molten logo is branded on for authenticity. This 12-panel FIBA approved design is
backed up by foam layers – the High-foamed structure and EVA foam backing provide
some give to your fingertips and more surface area to control the ball”
What size basketballs should kids use?
As your budding young NBA and WNBA superstars develop, it’s important they work with the right equipment. You’ll almost certainly know about the height a hoop should be set at, but ball size is important also. Bad habits can set in early, such as a hitch in the shot from launching a ball that was too big and too heavy as they grow. Children will naturally develop the strength to propel a basketball the required distance to pass and shoot accurately, if they first learn the proper technique on the right sized equipment, including the ball!
SIZE 3 Basketballs
With a circumference of 22.5” and a weight of 10oz, mini basketballs are best for ages 4 and under.
SIZE 4 Basketballs
With a circumference of 25.5” and a weight of only 14oz, size 6 basketballs are ideal for children 6 and under years of age. This would typically be the age children start exploring basketball as a team sport.
SIZE 5 Basketballs
Perfect up until 8 years old, size 5 basketballs are the ideal ball for children in their first organized games. With a circumference measuring 27.5” and a standard weight of 15oz, this is the most popular basketball size for youth leagues.
SIZE 6 Basketballs
Size 6 basketballs measure 28.5” and have a standard weight of 20 oz. Size 6 balls are the official ball size for most women’s professional basketball associations, including the WNBA and International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3×3, in addition to women’s college and high school basketball leagues, and in youth leagues for players typically aged between 12 and 15. At this point males would switch to the size 7 while females continue using the size 6 as adults.
SIZE 7 Basketballs
Size 7 basketballs measure 29.5” in circumference and have a standard weight of 22oz. Size 7 basketballs are the global standard for all adult male basketball competitions. Male players should be using a size 7 basketball for all activities from the age of 15+.