On Thursday, Wilson Sporting Goods Co. and the NBA unveiled the league's new official game ball. The new ball will be used beginning at the start of the 2021-22 regular season.
The NBA and Wilson have agreed to a multi-year partnership and Wilson will replace Spalding as the league's official ball manufacturer.
"Our feeling was Spalding is a company at the top of that pyramid, but Wilson certainly shares that reputation with them," NBA president of global partnership Sal LaRocca told Yahoo Sports. "Wilson is highly regarded in the basketball world. In the first 74 NBA seasons, Wilson had the first 37 and Spalding had the next 37. So our running joke is these partnerships may change every 37 years."
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The process of coming up with a new ball took over a full year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Nothing like this has even been done. We actually developed and worked with the NBA, the NBA players, the Players Association and the NBA on-court team and developed a game back while everyone was on lockdown," Wilson Team Sports general manager Kevin Murphy added. "Lots of balls were shipped across the globe, especially to players back and forth. We had numerous zoom calls with players and team reps. It was just an amazing collaboration."
In addition, the new Wilson ball was shipped to hundreds of players in order to obtain their feedback. The new ball will feature the same type of leather and eight-panel configuration as the previous Spalding ball that players were accustomed to.