What to Look For
When shopping for a good basketball, you want to look at the brand. Trusted sporting goods brands include Wilson, Nike, and Spalding. Spalding provides the basketballs used by the NBA. If you're playing indoors, select leather balls, which have the best quality. For outdoors, select fake leather or rubber. Fake leather balls are adequate for indoor and outdoor play if you switch between the two. Before buying the ball, hold it in your hands or feel the skin. The grip should be slightly raised from the skin's surface, so that the ball can be gripped well while shooting, passing and dribbling. Make sure to get the appropriate size; kids' basketballs and women's basketballs are smaller and marked 225.
Don't simply go by the cheapest price. Spending a little more on a basketball will ensure that the ball maintains air pressure and can withstand vigorous play for many years. Rubber balls by brands other than Wilson, Spalding or Nike may lose air very quickly after play, not provide the best bounce, have grip that is easily worn down, or not go by the standard size guidelines for men's, women's and kids basketballs.
Where to Buy
Basketballs can be bought at all sporting goods chain stores, such as Big 5, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Sports Authority. If you are on a budget, check superstores like Walmart, Target or Kmart, which have sporting goods sections. Sporting goods stores will have a wider selection of indoor, outdoor and professional basketballs. If you cannot find a professional basketball at Target, Walmart or Kmart, you may be able to have it shipped to the store for free and pick it up.
Walmart and Target offer different types of Spalding basketballs from upwards of $17. Prices will be slightly higher at sporting good stores like Big 5, Dick's Sporting Goods and Sports Authority.