Wilson is set to take over as the NBA‘s official game ball provider for the 2021-22 season, and the brand has just revealed its first official ball design. Much like the Spalding ball used in the NBA this season, this new Wilson game ball features a familiar eight-panel construction and the same leather as its predecessor — ensuring a seamless transition for players across the league.
Though the size and material composition are the exact same as the aforementioned Spalding ball, there seem to be a few differences as well. The ball’s grooves appear to be slightly deeper for enhanced grip, and the Wilson logo on one of the panels is rimmed in silver, where Spalding opted for a monochromatic black logo. The “Official Game Ball” marking, NBA logo and signature of commissioner Adam Silver remain unchanged.
Wilson was the NBA’s first game ball manufacturer, providing the league with game balls from its inception in 1946 all the way to 1983. From 1983 to 2020, Spalding took the contract over and produced the league’s leather balls — even creating an ill-fated synthetic ball in 2006 that was the subject of backlash from several players before switching back to leather — but Wilson will resume production ahead of the league’s 75th season and in the following years.
The brand has also signed Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets to its “Advisory Staff” roster, a committee that playtests and provides feedback on Wilson athletic products. Wilson also plans on releasing branded NBA apparel in the coming months. “Joining Wilson’s Advisory Staff was such a natural fit for me,” said Trae Young. “I’ve been using their basketballs since I was a kid – from hooping in my driveway to playing throughout college. It’s exciting to see Wilson return to the NBA, and for me to have a voice in how they show up both on and off the court.”
If you’re looking to get your hands on a game ball, they’ll be available on the Wilson webstore starting July 29, a month after debuting at the NBA Draft combine in June.
For more hoops news, check out HYPEBEAST’s list of the biggest All-NBA team snubs.