The NBA is still navigating through uncharted waters in an effort to finish out the 2019-20 regular season after it was suspended in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Regardless, this has not prevented them from proceeding with business as usual when it comes to some of the league’s partnerships. Among the most notable is that of their contract with Spalding.
The NBA is now nearing the end of its deal with Spalding as their manufacturer, and they have already found their replacement in Wilson. A multiyear global partnership will make Wilson the official game ball of the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League for the 2021-22 season.
“This partnership with Wilson returns us to our roots as we plan for the future,” NBA president of global partnerships Salvatore LaRocca said. “We were partners for 37 seasons dating back to when Wilson manufactured the first official NBA basketballs in 1946, and we look forward to growing the game of basketball together.”
Wilson basketball general manager Kevin Murphy added: “Our commitment to growing the game of basketball on the global stage is at the heart of Wilson and our new partnership with the NBA.
“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.”
In many ways, the NBA is getting back to its roots from when the league was just starting out. Wilson served as the league’s partner and official game ball before the deal with Spalding in 1983 and will now be back in time to help celebrate the league’s 75th anniversary.
The same material and configuration will still be used for the NBA basketballs, however, there is talk about Wilson taking suggestions from players regarding a design for the new basketball. Meanwhile, the WNBA will continue to use a composite ball.
Many may recall when the NBA attempted to switch from a Spalding leather ball to a synthetic and the decision was swiftly met by criticism from the players and it was ultimately reverted back. Although the plans for a cosmetic change to the ball is much more subtle, they are clearly taking every precaution to ensure there are no setbacks this time around.
Wilson currently is used throughout the prep and collegiate circuits.