How to Make a Basketball: History, Material, Design, and Process

1st January 2020

Basketball, an American sport that is played between two teams with five players on each side. To score points players have to shoot the basketball into the opponent’s basket, attached to a backboard 10 feet high. There are two baskets in a basketball court, one on each side. Whichever team succeeds in scoring more points eventually wins the game. The ball always has to be dribbled in order to move around the court. The basic reason for the invention of this sport was to play something with least physical contact between players, lots of running, passing and shooting. Basketball is considered a game of teamwork and stamina.


On December 1, 1891, basketball was invented by an American physical education teacher, James Naismith, in Springfield, Massachusetts. The sport was first played by using peach baskets to score points. The peach baskets are the reason the sport got its name, basketball. After playing this exciting sport his students from International Training School of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) spread all they knew about it to their friends and family members which is how the sport gained popularity. After getting permission from Naismith the rules he made were published in the school newspaper on January 15, 1892.

After that, the sport started receiving popularity from all around the world. Leagues, associations, and tournaments were introduced over the years making it an internationally recognized sport. Being part of the Olympics since 1936 this American sport created legends that brought gold to the USA many times. The National Basketball Association (NBA) which currently manages the basketball league in the USA was founded in 1946. Since then basketball has become one of the most watched sports in the USA. The one of a kind basketball is very commonly seen on every other child’s Christmas presents list.


The outer layer of the ball is made from rubber, synthetic rubber, composition or leather. A bladder and carcass are used inside of the ball which holds the air. The carcass is made of threads of nylon or polyester and the bladder is made from butyl rubber. Foil, zinc and copper plates can be used to label the ball or imprint logos on to it.

Manufacturing Process

How to Make a Basketball

Forming the Bladder

To start with making a basketball the first thing that has to be made is the bladder. Made from black butyl rubber, it retains the air and makes the ball bounce. The rubber is melted into strips which are attached in the shape of a ball. A hole is punched into the bladder for the installation of an air filler tube. Due to the odd shape of the bladder, it is heated in a machine which makes it more flexible and stronger. After that, the bladder is tested by inflating air into it. If the bladder remains inflated it is clear for further process.

Shaping the Ball

In order to bring the perfect ball shape nylon or polyester threads have to be used. The threads are wrapped around the bladder to make it spherical in shape. High quality and professional balls are shaped with nylon threads, while street balls are shaped with polyester threads.

The Cover of the Ball

The cover of the basketball can be made from many different things. However, the best quality basketballs are made of leather. Whichever material is used it is cut into 6 equal panels that will be wrapped around the ball. Any marking on the panels is done before being wrapped around the ball. If the material used is leather then the cover will be stitched. If any other material is used then it will be glued on to the ball. Decals can be put on the ball by hand. After finishing the ball should be about 29.5 inches in circumference and should weigh about 20 to 21 ounces. The balls will get inflated again to be tested and set aside for around 24 hours. It will only be approved if it continues to hold air.

Finishing the Basketball

After clearing the air test the ball is tested one last time to ensure that it has the perfect bounce and appearance.  After accurately checking the basketball one last time it is deflated and packed. The packed basketballs are then forwarded to distributors. Basketball is a very fun sport to play with friends. It is a test of speed, technique, ball handling, stamina and team work. If you think you can handle all these skills then get your customized basketball and start shooting some hoops.


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