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The 6 Best Wilson Basketballs (2023)

In this post, I round up the six best Wilson basketballs currently on the market.

Here is a quick list of my top picks for every type of court:

Read on for more details of each ball, and some alternative picks.

Let’s get started!

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List of Best Wilson Basketballs

Here is a list of all the best Wilson basketballs in this post. A star (*) indicates my top choice for each category (i.e. indoor only; outdoor only; indoor/outdoor).

Scroll down for detailed descriptions of each.

NameSurfacePriceBuy
Wilson Evolution Game Basketball*Indoor$80 Buy here
Wilson NBA Official Game BallIndoor$200 Buy here
Wilson Killer Crossover*Outdoor$20 Buy here
Wilson Elevate*Outdoor$17 Buy here
Wilson NCAA Legend VTX*Indoor / Outdoor$45 Buy here
Wilson NBA Authentic Indoor/OutdoorIndoor / Outdoor$45 Buy here

Best Wilson Indoor Basketballs

These basketballs are only meant for use on indoor courts. If you use them outdoors, the cover will get ripped / damaged quickly.

Top pick: Wilson Evolution Game Basketball

Hoop Dojo’s favorite indoor ball

Wilson Evolution

  • Super soft feeling
  • Excellent grip
  • NFHS approved
  • Price (at time of publish): $80

What’s so special about Wilson Evolution Basketball?

The Evolution is Wilson’s best selling basketball, and the most popular indoor basketball in the entire United States.

If you have ever played high school basketball, or at any rec center across the country, then you have probably used a Wilson Evolution at some point.

The best part about the Evolution is its ultra soft feeling. It’s so comfortable to just hold in your hands. The softness makes dribbling and shooting seem easier and more enjoyable. That means more buckets for you!

The ball is reasonably priced, and is my favorite indoor basketball. If you want a slight step up, you can check out the Wilson NCAA Evo NXT, which is the official ball of NCAA. The WNBA also uses a similar version. It is quite similar to the Evolution, but costs $20 more.

Pros

  • Super soft feeling
  • Textured channels for better grip
  • Durable composite leather cover
  • Available in multiple sizes (5,6,7)

Cons

  • Not much

For Professionals: Wilson NBA Official Game Ball

What the pros use

Wilson NBA Official

  • Official NBA game basketball
  • 100% Genuine leather
  • Highest quality construction
  • Price (at time of publish): $200

If you don’t care about price, and just want the same basketball that NBA superstars use, then this is the one for you.

The cover is made with 100% genuine leather. It will feel hard and slick at first. You will need time to break it in before it starts to feel soft and grippy like a normal indoor ball.

Most people never use leather basketballs growing up, so it will definitely feel a bit weird at first.

Of course, once broken in, it is probably the best quality basketball on the market (i.e. there’s a reason it’s the official NBA ball).

The only other downside is that it cost $200+.

Pros

  • Official game ball of the NBA
  • 100% genuine leather
  • Best bounce consistency and air retention

Cons

  • Expensive ($200)
  • Requires breaking in

Best Wilson Outdoor Basketballs

These basketballs are specifically designed for outdoor use. The tougher rubber cover material can take a beating on those dirty concrete courts and driveways.

Wilson Killer Crossover or Wilson Elevate

Cheap and durable

Wilson Killer Crossover

  • Tough, durable cover
  • Excellent Grip
  • Cheap price
  • Price (at time of publish): $20

Cheap and durable

Wilson Elevate

  • Tough, durable cover
  • Excellent Grip
  • Super cheap
  • Price (at time of publish): $17

When playing outdoors, you want a ball that can take a beating on those rougher concrete courts and double rims.

Your basketball may get kicked around a bit, bounce off some cars, or thrown into the dirt/grass nearby. If you use a leather or indoor ball, it will be destroyed in no time.

The Wilson Killer Crossover and Wilson Elevate are perfect for rough outdoor only use. They are basically the same except for the panel design and colorways. Both are made with tough rubber “all surface” cover that won’t wear out quickly.

They are also both cheap ($20 and under), so you won’t feel so bad when they get covered in dirt or eventually break down.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Tough and durable
  • Great grip

Cons

  • A bit too bouncy

Best Wilson Indoor/Outdoor Basketballs

These basketballs try to capture the best of both worlds by using a cover material that is tough enough to play with outside, but still soft feeling like a great indoor ball.

Best indoor/outdoor: Wilson NCAA Legend VTX

Best Overall

Wilson NCAA Legend VTX

  • Excellent soft feel
  • Deep, textured seams/channels
  • Durable
  • Price (at time of publish): $45

The Wilson NCAA Legend VTX is the best overall indoor/outdoor basketball on the market.

It has that nice soft feel of an indoor ball, but is still durable enough to use outside. It won’t be quite as durable as a pure rubber basketball, but is fine for shooting hoops at the park every once in awhile.

A couple other Wilson basketballs from the “Legend” series are the Wilson Legend and Wilson Legend OT.

The Legend OT is the same as the VTX, except it uses a cheaper (not as nice feeling) cover material. The Legend is the cheapest of the three as it uses a cheaper cover material; does not have textured seams; and also does not use “cushioned core” internal construction (i.e. not as soft feeling).

Pros

  • Feels like an indoor ball
  • Deep textured channels
  • Durable
  • Available in multiple sizes

Cons

  • Not much

Alternative: Wilson NBA Authentic Indoor Outdoor Basketball

Wilson NBA Authentic

  • Official NBA design
  • Consistent bounce
  • Excellent feel & durability
  • Price (at time of publish): $45

If you’re a hardcore NBA fan, you probably want this indoor/outdoor ball.

It has the exact same design as the official NBA game ball, but uses a composite cover (instead of 100% leather).

The indoor/outdoor version is available in multiple sizes (5, 6, or 7) which is great if you’re buying a present for a kid. The official game ball is only available in size 7.

Pros

  • Official NBA design
  • Excellent, consistent bounce
  • Available in multiple sizes

Cons

  • Not much

Things to Consider – How do I choose a basketball?

Here are five things to consider when choosing a basketball:

  1. Size
  2. Cover material
  3. Feel
  4. Bounce
  5. Air Retention

Size

Here is a useful chart to help you pick the correct basketball size:

Size CircumferenceWeightDescription (age / gender / etc.)
Size 729.5” (75cm)22 oz (0.62 kg)NBA; Official men’s size; Men’s ages 13+
Size 628.5” (72.5cm)18-20 oz (0.51 -
0.57 kg)
WNBA; Official women’s size; Girl age 12+; Boys age 11-13
Size 527.5” (69.9cm)14-16 oz (0.4 – 0.45 kg)Youth (Boys and Girls) aged 9-11
Size 425.5” (64.77cm)14 oz (0.4 kg)Children (Boys and Girls) age 8 and under
Size 3 / mini22.5” (55.9cm)10 oz(0.28 kg)Novelty-sized, “mini” basketball

Check out this post for more on choosing the correct basketball size

Cover Material / Playing Surface

The cover material you choose depends on the playing surface you want to use the ball on.

For indoor courts (i.e. hardwood, etc.), choose an indoor ball made with leather or composite leather cover. A indoor/outdoor ball is also suitable, although will not be quite as nice feeling as purely indoor ball.

For outdoor courts (i.e. concrete, asphalt, etc.), a rubber outdoor ball will be the most durable. Don’t use an indoor ball, as the softer cover material will be torn apart quickly by the surface. An indoor/outdoor ball with composite cover material can also be used, although will not be quite as durable as purely outdoor ball.

Cover material also relates to feel of the ball:

Feel

Try to hold the ball in your hands before buying. Make sure it feels comfortable. If possible, take a few dribbles or practice shots to see how it feels coming off your fingertips.

Everybody has slightly different preferences (e.g. I like a soft feeling basketball like the Wilson Evolution). You will need to decide what type of basketball you prefer.

Bounce

A properly inflated ball (7.5 – 8.5 PSI) should have nice consistent bounce. You don’t want it to be too bouncy, and of course you don’t want it to not bounce at all.

According to the official NBA standards, when an NBA basketball is dropped straight down from a height of 72 inches, it should bounce back up 52 to 56 inches.

Air retention

The worst thing would be to buy a basketball that you need to pump every time you play. It is hard to know how well a ball retains air until after you purchase it and start playing.

Buying from a reputable brand (like Wilson) helps to mitigate this worry.

FAQ

Is Wilson or Spalding a better basketball? Why did NBA switch brands?

There’s a constant debate of which basketball brand is better — Wilson or Spalding. The NBA switched to Wilson in 2021, but that was more due to money reasons.

The only way to decide is to try each brand’s basketballs for yourself.

Check out my post on Spalding vs Wilson for a full comparison.

What type of Wilson does the NBA use?

The NBA uses the Wilson NBA Official Game Ball.

What is better: Wilson or Molten?

Molten is the official ball of FIBA, while Wilson is the official ball of the NBA.

The Molten ball has a much different panel design and cover texture than the Wilson ball.

Both are great basketballs, so the only way to decide which is better is to try them out for yourself.

Check out a comparison of the best indoor basketballs here.

Summary

Which of these Wilson basketballs did you buy?

Or did you choose one that’s not on this list?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Larry Lee

Larry Lee

Larry is a basketball addict, and the founder of Hoop Dojo. He started Hoop Dojo to share his love of the game and help the next generation reach their full potential.