Best Indoor Basketball for The Money 2017

Finding the best indoor basketball on sale in 2017 was easier that I expected. 2 companies, 4 basketballs and a couple of test runs. Until last September, it has been over 8 years since I last hold a basketball. But then I moved new neighbors, new habits, and new hobbies. So I decided to dump the gym rower and stick to basketball for my cardio, it’s way more fun, let me tell you.

Here’s some of the things I wanted from the best indoor basketball: leather, affordable in case it got stolen and a good feel, even if it would take a while to break in. I do about 4-5 games a week, so that wouldn’t have been a problem. A solid bounce and good sweat retention and grip were also on the list but a second place to feel.

Best Indoor Basketball Reviews

Spalding NBA Replica

Spalding NBA Indoor/Outdoor Replica Game Ball

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Very nice composite leather coating. Beautiful grooves and engraved writing give it a solid quality feel. It’s soft, with a precise bounce and good grippy. Great feel and bounce is very accurate. However, it catches dirt easy, and it’s not all that nice right out of the packaging. I did get to play with an 8-month-old ball that sees the court almost daily and let me tell you it’s a real delight. But hat break in period is going to be brutal.

I really need to talk about a new Spalding, and a broke in Spalding. While the old one is a fantastic basketball, probably the best indoor basketball on this list. However, the new out of the box one is, just bad. It’s hard, lacks feel, rigid and gathers dirt and grime like crazy making is aggravating after 20 minutes of play on anything that isn’t a squeaky clean court. The truth is it’s more of an investment, I personally love it, but it’s not nice to play with that first year, so it’s all on you if you think it deserves the slippages and frustration that first year.

Pros

  • Very precise bounce
  • Very soft for an indoor/outdoor basketball
  • Great feel after you break it in.

Cons

The nice coating makes me wonder about outdoor use and durability.

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Spalding Zi/O

Spalding NBA Zi/O Excel Basketball

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The second basketball I tried was the Zi/O. Big mistake, it’s hard, rubbery compared to the NBA replica. It sounds cheap and bounces weird sometimes. It does have very little wear and tear in the long run, so you’ll get 10 times the hours of play out of it compared to the NBA.

But, I think my gripes with the feel, texture, and grip are just that, my personal gripes. A friend of mine loved it, and he argues that the deep channels make it excellent for control and dribbling and the harder feel makes it better for shooting. Definitely worth a try especially if you want to get your future nephews a great basketball and wanna get a head start on wearing it out.

All that being taken into account, it’s great value. It’s listing price is half of the NBA. But I did see some offers for an NBA at the same price at this one at which point I find it hard to recommend it.

Pros

  • Can take a lot of abuse
  • Durable
  • Cheap
  • Deep groves

Cons

  • You can get an NBA for the same money
  • Some balls have a weird bounce and may surprise you.

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Spalding tf-1000 Classic

Spalding TF-1000 Classic Indoor Basketball

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This is the Classic, there’s a regular old TF-1000 which is an excellent basketball and a Legacy version of the new TF-1000. The Classic has wider channels and a different hue while the Legacy has deeper grooves. I played with the Classic and made some dribbles with the Legacy. But only ever heard about the old TF 1000 so I won’t be talking about it, despite never hearing a bad word about it. The classic felt very familiar, I don’t really know why. It was like an old friend. It felt very comfortable, very predictable. I also loved the high sweat absorption rate and the stickiness out of the box it actually gets grippy-er as the game progresses and it got wetter.

Don’t get me wrong, it is rubbery, but it never felt cheap or all that durable. All in all, it’s a great feeling basketball for the first year. If you plan on playing only occasionally and never outside, I can’t recommend it more, this is most definitely the best indoor basketball for players that maybe play a couple of games a month. Anything more, and you’ll probably be in the market for a new one this time next year.

Pros

  • Wide channels
  • Good grip
  • Excellent sweat management

Cons

  • Gets dirty need to clean it.
  • Comfort at the cost of durability

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Wilson Evolution

Wilson Evolution Indoor Game Basketball

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Another excellent basketball that was great out of the box is the Wilson Evo. It’s soft, has a lot of cushion. And it only gets better after a month of playing with it. Now I know some players don’t like the softness. I like it, but I’m just reporting on it. If you know how this feels and you don’t like it, then settle for the harder options. The channels are deep and wide like with most Wilsons but also rubbery, which improves grip a lot and is a great feature. The grip overall is excellent.

It’s a great fit for small hands and very accessible because of this. The bounce is great and allows for some very precise dribbling. It’s true, familiar and accurate, those deep channels and the composite leather pebbling really add a lot of control. I really like it. It feels a bit light, and it’s maybe too soft in some situations. It’s not as tight as you want it to be in some more tense situations, but if you can get over that, this basketball will only get better with time, and it’s already more than decent out of the box.

This is a high school best seller, so if your school uses Evo’s, this is probably the best indoor basketball for you to learn and train that muscle memory because the feel is really specific and you’ll progress faster if you don’t play and train with different basketballs.

Pros

  • It’s very popular if you play pick up.
  • It’s the best basketball for those with smaller hands that want a solid grip.
  • It’s a best seller in high schools so you probably already played with it and are used to it, this was the basketball I learned how to play with.

Cons

  • It feels light
  • Wonder about durability, but as you saw, this is a give and take with feel. You can’t have both.

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Wilson NCAA

Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball

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The Wilson NCAA is stickier than the Evo. Very nice Aquagrip channels.  A soft cushioned core, pebbled composite leather and low-density rubber make it feel really unique. You should really play a game with one if you get the chance and spot it, on the court. It’s very nice, it’s should be called the Wilson TF-1000.

It’s even better right out of the box than the Evo and that means it’s going to be a fantastic basketball after a dozen games. I really don’t see why the Evo is so much more popular than this. Maybe they know something I don’t, but I prefer this to the Evo, in the short term.

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Top Recommendation

The Wilson Evo. You saw this coming, right? I put a lot of weight to durability and usability in the long term. As a reviewer you need to be aware of the novelty glow that everything has. And when that glow goes away, all you’re left with is the primary product. And the best basic indoor basketball for any reasonable player that plans to get it heavy with dirt, sweat, and grime over years of playing is the Evo. The others are either too utilitarian and rugged or too soft. The Evo is so well rounded that all the other basketballs get inevitably compared to it. Every one of these other excellent basketballs will have you say, this isn’t as “X” as the Evo.

It’s the ultimate balance between grip and durability. Also, it’s very common, and everyone will want to play with it when going for a pickup game. It’s also cheap and great value for what you get. A good solid performer out of the box and with enough durability to get an excellent aged basketball further down the line. It’s the optimal compromise between a sticky ball and a workhorse. The basketball dribbles true and gives you time to find that extra second to find the open man. The transition and muscle memory is already there, so you play better with it out of the box too.

The lightness while not very comfortable for some does give you more courage to try longer range shots, and there’s no sacrifice regarding responsiveness and control. Props to Wilson for managing to find such a great compromise across the line: regarding bounce, grip, feel and durability while keeping the price down and giving us a very capable value option to play with within our schools.