The Spalding Replica NBA Game Ball is an indoor/outdoor composite leather basketball that is almost indistinguishable from the genuine leather official game ball used during NBA games. In this basketball review we’ll be looking at all aspects of this basketball and deciding whether or not it’s worth your money given the competition from the likes of the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Ball and Molten GM7X.
- Official NBA size and weight: Size 7, 29.5"
- Performance composite cover
- Shipped inflated and game-ready
- Designed for indoor and outdoor play
- Recommended inflation is 8 PSI
While I don’t normally discuss the design of the ball, one of the things I liked about the Spalding Replica NBA Game Ball is how discreet it is about being a replica. Unlike the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Ball which labels itself a ‘Replica Game Ball’ in big lettering, the Spalding Replica doesn’t make it so obvious, and the only indication that it’s a replica is in tiny lettering surrounding the ball’s valve.
Now I’m not saying you can go around pretending to have the official game ball (it’s not genuine leather so it would be pretty obvious anyway), but it’s nice that they have made minimal changes to the design with this replica.
Grip and Softness
The Spalding Replica NBA Game Ball is one of the grippiest indoor/outdoor basketballs I have used. It feels a little slippery out of the box, but after a few hours on the court it is easy to palm and almost as soft as an indoor-only basketball.
Compared to the cheaper Wilson NCAA Replica Game Ball, this basketball from Spalding provides more grip, although not by a very significant margin.
Bounce is a crucial factor when purchasing basketballs. The bounce shouldn’t be too flat or too bouncy, and it should also be consistent, meaning it bounces exactly the way you’d expect it to.
The Spalding Replica NBA Game Ball has a very good bounce which is also very consistent. The amount of bounce feels just right when pumped up to around 7.5psi. Some other basketballs get the right amount of bounce at around 8+psi, but I prefer the optimal pressure being lower as otherwise the ball can feel a little hard.
Because of its very standard pebbling and 8-panel design, the bounce also feels very consistent.
The NBA Replica Game Ball definitely feels more like an indoor ball than an outdoor one. And that softness comes at a price – durability. Although I didn’t get the chance to comprehensively test it against other indoor/outdoor basketballs, I did feel that this ball was deteriorating slightly faster than other indoor/outdoor basketballs I’ve used outdoors.
Furthermore, the butyl bladder of the basketball seemed to be of dubious quality. I did find myself picking up the ball after a few days of rest only to find the basketball had lost some air. It could also have been a leaky valve issue, but the rate of deflation seemed a little slow for it to be a leaky valve.
Overall I liked playing with the NBA Replica Game Ball. I liked the fact it looked just like the Official Game Ball, had more grip than your average indoor/outdoor ball and a very consistent bounce.
However, the grippiness comes at the cost of durability. The ball doesn’t seem quite as durable as the NCAA Replica Game Ball, so if your primary intention is for outdoor play, I’d go with that ball instead. But, if you’re going to be using it a lot indoors, with the luxury of being able to play it outdoors from time to time, the Spalding NBA Replica Game Ball is a superior pick.
The Spalding NBA Replica Game Ball is one of our favorite outdoor basketballs.