Before you step on the court, it is important to know the difference between the different types of basketballs. Basketballs are made with leather, synthetic leather, or rubber. The inside of a basketball is composed of the carcass and a bladder.
A bladder is a balloon-like structure that holds air. Whether it's an elementary school game or a professional game, the ball is typically the size of the diameter of the hoop. Minor and professional leagues maintain their own regulation sizes and weights.
Leather basketballs are made with 100% leather. Unlike the other materials used when leather balls are new, they need to be broken in.
This is the cheaper option for a leather ball. It is made out of synthetic leather giving the ball the same feeling as a leather ball, but at a cheaper cost. The benefit of Synthetic balls is they do not need to be broken in.
Rubber balls are used when playing basketball on a concrete surface. Rubber balls are the cheapest to produce and are typically used by beginners.
The size and weight of basketballs vary depending on the type of game that is being played. Professional leagues like the NBA have regulated sizes for the balls used during their games. Amateur leagues normally have rules for the size of the ball being used. There are different sizes of balls for junior players as well as balls for outside, indoor, or combination play.
The ball used in the NBA (National Basketball Association) is a leather Spalding ball that is a size 7. The ball's circumference is 29.5 inches, is inflated between 7.5 and 8.5 PSI, and weighs 22 ounces.
The ball for the Women's National Basketball Association is also made by Spalding. The ball is a size 6 with a circumference of 29 inches and weighs 18 to 20 ounces.
The International Basketball Federation or Fédération Internationale de Basketball uses the Molten GL6 for the women's leagues and the Molten GL7 for the men's leagues. The balls have 12 leather panels each with alternating colors. The GL6 has a circumference of 29 inches while the GL7 has a circumference of 30.7 inches.
The National College Athletic Association uses the same basketball in women and men's leagues, which is the Wilson Solution. The ball is made of leather and is used in every tournament. Women use a size 6, while men use a size 7.