Tom Hanks would bask in pride at news that Wilson co. have agreed to terms with the NBL to become their official game – ball supplier through to the 2017 season.
The new Wilson Solutions Game Ball is the choice of the NCAA March Madness tournament and will be replacing the – shall we say, aesthetically challenged? – Spalding NBL ball.
True ballers, much like Tom Hanks, aren’t quick to cast away an old friend for a new one, but they are known to have a soft spot for a good Wilson. So let’s weigh the two up against each other and see which is best, shall we?
Not much can be found on the functionality of the Spalding NBL ball; however it is believed to be a custom designed re-imagining of the current NBA official basketball. Yes the design is unique, but surely there are prettier ways to be unique? The white and tan cover ball looks like something you might see in a school gym rather than a professional basketball court. The word ‘eyesore’ comes to mind. To its credit, though, it is made of composite leather, so it doesn’t need to be ‘broken in’ as many basketballs do. It is smooth and lightweight, and is certainly a fine ball made by the best in the business despite its visual shortcomings.
And here we have the new kid on the block – the Wilson Solutions Game Ball. The colour and tinge of the ball are not yet known, but it will likely be an orange or orangey brown. If it is more brown than orange this may be troublesome for TV, especially for games from Vector Arena’s pooh brown court.
The writing on the NCAA version tends to crowd the face of the ball, but it is certainly a more professional looking ball than its Spalding predecessor and it doesn’t give me that conflicted feeling of simultaneous appreciation and disgust that I only get from the Spalding NBL ball and Cadbury Vegemite chocolate.
The Wilson Solution Game Ball also boasts the only moisture absorbing leather covering in the business. This means that the ball will not become slippery, and you won’t need the referee to wipe it up for you. Its Cushion Core Technology is said to offer a “more consistent bounce” and “softer touch” – this translates to less bricks and turnovers.
I, for one, am excited to have a bonding moment with one of these bad boys. I am looking forward to the official unveiling of the ball’s design, and am hopeful this is just one of many changes to come to make the NBL a more attractive, TV friendly, and commercially viable league.