Basketball enjoys a huge fan following all over the world. People love to play and watch this sport in the arena as well as outdoors. The game has its roots over a hundred years before. Let us know more about the history of this versatile sport.
The history of basketball
We can thank Dr. James Naismith for basketball's existence. He was a physical instructor at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891. He was looking for a game that was safer than football and help athletes maintaining their fitness during cold winter months. Players used a soccer ball to play the first game of basketball, and they used peach baskets for hoops. They were attached to a wall, and when someone scored a point, the game would have to stop till the janitor brought back the ball with the help of a ladder, of course. Eventually, they removed the bottoms of the peach baskets. William R. Chase became the first player to score a point in the game, which ended with a 1-0.
Naismith allowed nine players in each team and made thirteen rules to keep the players safe and avoid rough play and injury. He didn't allow players to run while holding the ball to prevent tackling and grabbing. Nine rules out of thirteen are still prevalent in modern basketball. Slowly and gradually, the game became popular, and in 1894 the first basketball was made, specially designed for the game. A man named Spalding made the first ball which had laces. Over the years, the ball went through several modifications, and then the basketball came into existence which we know today.
In 1898, six teams participated in the first professional basketball league. American colleges were the reason for basketball's popularity. Slowly, basketball gained popularity in Europe as well, and the first international basketball match was held between Saint Petersburg and an American YMCA Team in 1909. International Basketball Federation, formed in 1932, was instrumental in getting basketball into 1936's Olympics. The US won the first Olympic title for the sport.
The very popular NBA (The National Basketball Association) was formed in 1945, and a decade later, they had a rival in American Basketball Association (ABA). ABA's game was about jumping and playing above the rim, which infused high energy into the game. They even developed a three-point shot. In 1976, the NBA took over ABA and adopted their style to improve the game. Today, the NBA is the most popular professional basketball league. Like this, basketball has emerged to be a very popular sport. It has also made superstars like Michael Jordan and Steph Curry.
The structure of basketball
The basketball structure for both men and women is different. Let us dig deep to know more about the structure of basketball.
Custom basketball in various professional leagues, college leagues have similarities and differences. Custom basketballs used in professional leagues are made of genuine leather, and balls used in college leagues are made of a composite material. Professional league custom basketballs must 29-1/2 inches around and weigh 22 oz. They are also puffed up between 7.5 and 8.5 ounces per square inch. Colleges use composite leather Wilson Solution for their custom basketballs in NCAA tournaments. They must be between 29-1/2 to 30 inches around and weigh between 20 - 22 oz. They should bounce between 49 to 54 inches when dropped from a height of 6 feet.
Generally, custom basketballs used women's professional leagues, and college tournaments have similar dimensions. Their circumference should be between 28-1/2 to 29 inches, and they should weigh between 18 to 20 oz. These balls must bounce between 51 and 56 inches when dropped from 6 feet. They both are made of composite leather materials.
The process of manufacturing basketballs
The manufacturing process of any custom basketball, be it regular league basketballs or custom rubber basketballs, is similar to every manufacturer. Let us understand the complete manufacturing process of basketballs.
Custom basketball's core is called the inner bladder. Manufacturers use black butyl rubber to create them. This rubber gives the ball the ability to bounce and retains the air. Firstly, flat panels are made by melting butyl rubber. They are then attached to the shape of a ball. A one-inch hole is given in the bladder to install the air filler tube. Manufacturers then inflate the bladder, and if it stays the same for the next 24 hours, it passes the initial testing stage.
Shape the carcass
Round bladders are relatively misshaped. Ball's inside, also called the carcass is specially created to achieve uniformity in shape and size. They wrap polyester and nylon threads around the inner bladder. Threads help you achieve the spherical shape of the ball, preventing it from being misshaped. Higher quality threads improve the performance of the custom basketball. Street balls consist of polyester thread, while professional basketballs are formed with nylon thread.
Crafting the covers for the ball
The covers for the custom basketball are made from a variety of materials. High-quality custom rubber basketball or custom basketballs are covered in high-quality leather. The materials used to craft the covers include synthetic rubber, rubber, or composition. The chosen material is cut into six panels to wrap around the ball. If those panels are leather, they are then stitched around the ball. Other materials like synthetic rubber, rubber, and composition panels are glued. After sealing the panels onto the ball, decals, information, and foil markings are applied by hand. The finished balls are about 29.5 inches in circumference and also weigh between 20-21 ounces. Lastly, the balls are inflated and put aside for 24 hours to inspect their air-retention.
Testing and inspection
Final inspection and testing are necessary for custom basketballs and custom rubber basketballs, despite performing multiple tests during manufacturing to check for air retention. In this inspection, we test the bounce, and we make sure that it bounces to a certain height at a specific inflation pressure. When you drop the ball from 72 inches, it should rebound up to 52 to 56 inches. Other minor details like artwork and decals are tested. Extra glue between the panels is removed. After checking the custom basketball totally, it is packed in a polyethylene bag or boxed in packaging to send out to a distributor.
1. What are the main parts of a basketball?
A basketball consists of three main parts:
- Inner Bladder: Made of butyl rubber, it holds air and maintains the ball's pressure.
- Carcass: A layer of synthetic fibers like nylon or polyester provides shape and support.
- Cover: Composed of textured rubber or composite materials, it offers grip and durability.
2. How do they put the air in the bladder?
Basketball bladders have a small valve designed for a pump needle. Manufacturers inflate the bladder to a specific pressure and seal the valve before assembling the other layers.
3. Why are basketballs orange?
The official orange color was adopted in the 1950s for better visibility on television and players during fast-paced games. Previously, browns and tans were common.
4. Are there different types of basketballs used for various levels of play?
Yes, different levels have specific requirements for materials and construction:
- Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor balls have a tougher rubber cover for extra durability, while indoor balls use a softer synthetic cover for better grip.
- Professional/Recreational: Pro balls use premium materials and precise construction for optimal performance, while recreational balls prioritize affordability and durability.
- Youth/Women: Smaller sizes and lighter weights cater to specific needs and skill levels.
5. How sustainable is the production of basketballs?
Environmental concerns are gaining traction. Some manufacturers use recycled materials, explore biodegradable options, and implement sustainable manufacturing practices to minimize their environmental impact.