The sporting goods company Wilson will produce the NBA's official game balls starting in the 2021-22 season, the league announced Wednesday in a statement.
Spalding has been the league's official game ball partner since 1983, but according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, the two sides mutually agreed to part ways.
Wilson, which produced the NBA's official game ball for 37 years prior to the league's move to Spalding, will also produce the game ball for the WNBA, G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League.
“This partnership with Wilson returns us to our roots as we plan for the future,” said Salvatore LaRocca, NBA president, global partnerships said in an official release. “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.”
The same leather and product specifications will be used in the league's new basketball, but the NBA will also reportedly form a player advisory board to offer potential suggestions.
While Wilson is the official game ball of the NCAA tournament, colleges across the NCAA play with a wide variety of basketball brands. The NCAA rulebook notes that a game ball "shall be spherical. Spherical shall be defined as a round body whose surface at all points is equidistant from the center except at the approved black rubber ribs (channels and/or seams)."
In college, the ball must also have a circumference of 29.5 to 30 inches and must weigh between 20 and 22 ounces. Any ball that meets those standards is legal, even if the seams and stitching vary.