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Best Basketballs For Pickup Games

The best thing about the sport of basketball is it can be played anywhere there’s a hoop and a basketball. Pick up games are played both in gyms and outdoor basketball courts across the world.

Surprisingly, all basketballs are not the same. Basketball are designed for outdoor and indoor courts. It’s important to understand which basketballs will be most efficient on certain courts.

When purchasing a basketball, it’s important to pick the right ball dependent on the surface it’s being used on. In this article we’re going to show you the best basketballs for pickup games.

Types Of Basketballs

Before purchasing a basketball, it’s important to know there are three types of basketballs.

  • Outdoor Basketballs
  • Indoor Basketballs
  • Hybrid Basketballs

Outdoor basketballs are exactly what it sounds like. These balls are designed to be played on top of a hard top or concrete basketball court. The ball is also designed to consistently fall through a chain linked net.

Outdoor basketballs typically have a smoother surface than an indoor basketball. For reference, if you’ve ever won a basketball at a carnival or arcade game, these are more than likely outdoor basketballs that feature a smooth surface.

Indoor basketballs, are specifically made to bounce on the hardwood floor. These balls are often made by Wilson or Spalding for reference. The balls are more rigid and a more define shape than the outdoor basketball.

Hybrid basketballs are a combination of the two. The ball is built to withstand the hard surfaces of concrete, but has the rigid curves and features of an indoor ball.

Hybrid basketballs are great for anyone that’s looking to save money on a basketball. Consistently playing on outdoor and indoor surfaces may deteriorate the basketball. However hybrid basketballs are built to withstand even the toughest surfaces to ensure there’s no drop off in play.

How Long Do Basketballs Last After A Pickup Game?

There are a few variables that depends on how long a basketball will last. The variables are:

  • How well it’s kept and taken care of
  • The weather conditions the ball is used in
  • How often it’s used

To start, taking care of the basketball is important for it’s longevity. Leaving a basketball outside in the rain, or in consistent cold weather will start to deteriorate the outside of the basketball (mostly for outdoor basketballs).

Because cold weather and hot weather effect the air pressure in a basketball, it’s vital to keep the basketball stored in warm, neutral temperature.

Last, and the most obvious, is how often the ball is used. If the outdoor basketball is consistently bounced on hot concrete and small rocks, it will slowly start to crack the outdoor basketball.

Indoor basketballs with frequent use will also start to lose it’s grip and smooth out overtime. Indoor basketballs typically last much longer than outdoor basketballs.

We recommend if you buy an indoor basketball, you’re consistently cleaning and taking care of it. Leaving it in cold atmospheres will cause the ball to lose air pressure, and reinflate when it gets back to normal temperature.

This will leave cracks in the basketball as it’s consistently inflating and deflating, ultimately weakening the bladder of the basketball. Keep the basketball in your house, room or somewhere where the air temperature will remain the same for all hours of the day.

Best Indoor Basketballs For Pickup Games

Wilson Indoor Basketball

wilson basketball

Wilson is one of the top brands in indoor basketballs. The Evolution basketball shown below is one of the top rated basketballs. The evolution features it’s signature “evo” feel has a soft cushion core carcass making the ball soft to the touch.

The Evolution ball is NFHS approved, meaning it can be used in an actual high school game. This ball is great for players to practice in the off-season and in-season.

Purchase The Evolution Basketball Here

Spalding NBA Official Game Ball

spalding basketball

The Spalding official NBA game ball is made form the full grain leather for an authentic feel. Authorized by the NBA, this basketball is great for any player who wants to shoot like their favorite NBA player.

This ball is the perfect competitive indoor pick up play for player who want to feel like a pro.

Purchase The Spalding Official NBA Game Ball Here

Best Outdoor Pickup Basketballs

Spalding Varsity Outdoor Basketball

outdoor basketballs

The Spalding NBA varsity outdoor basketball is our choice for the best outdoor basketball to purchase.

Made from the same company that makes NBA basketballs, Spalding delivers different style/colored outdoor basketballs that are made specifically for outdoor play.

Purchase The Spalding Varsity Outdoor Basketball Here

Best Hybrid Pickup Basketballs

Spalding Indoor/Outdoor Game Ball

spalding indoor/outdoor ball

If you’re consistently playing basketball on both indoor and outdoor courts, it may be in your best interest to purchase a hybrid basketball.

The Spalding NBA replica indoor/outdoor game ball is designed for both indoor and outdoor play. This hybrid basketball is made with a composite cover which can withstand rough conditions outside and the smoothness of an indoor hardwood floor.

Purchase The Spalding Indoor/Outdoor Game Ball


All basketballs are not the same. When shopping for a basketball for a pickup game, get a feel for where you’ll be playing a majority of the time. If you ball both indoor and outdoor, buying a ball for each scenario may be useful.

If you’re looking to save money, simply purchasing a hybrid ball for both styles of pick up games will in your best interest. We do recommend buying a basketball for each surface that you’ll be playing on.

If you live in a state where it’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter, it will be beneficial to have two different basketballs to use between the two climates and courts.

Spending the money to buy two basketballs for pickup games will pay off for the long term, as the basketball’s lifespan will be expanded.

We are against having one ball of all uses, simply for the fact that it will get ruined (if it’s an indoor ball) if it’s consistently played for pickup games outside. Taking care of an indoor ball should be the main priority if you spend money on it.