NBA does not give up on leather
The multiyear partnership was announced by both the NBA and Wilson, which have already worked together for 37 seasons since Wilson manufactured the first official NBA basketballs in 1946.
Wilson is back to being the only brand manufacturing leather game balls for the NBA, WNBA, and NBA G League.
The choice of sticking with leather as the only material for the upcoming seasons can be explained by an instance back in 2006. In June, the NBA announced the first change to the ball in over 35 years and introduced a new synthetic basketball. Spalding's new ball was made of microfiber material, and league commissioner David Stern claimed it was "the best in the world." Long-story-short: starting on the first day of 2007, the league would be going back to the old eight-panel leather ball. It was an obscure three-month experiment that was a spectacular failure.
The partnership will tip-off at different times by league, with the NBA Wilson game ball being the first to be used during the league’s 75th anniversary season in 2021-22. The other debuts will be during the 2022 WNBA season, 2021-22 NBA G League season, 2021 NBA 2K League season, and the inaugural BAL season.
“Our passion for this game and the league runs incredibly deep, as does our history with it. And as we start this new chapter in the game, our focus and energy will be on supporting the league and the players, coaches, and fans with the most advanced, high-performance game basketballs possible,” said Kevin Murphy, general manager at Wilson Basketball.
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