Why Are Basketballs Orange? (Interesting Facts About Basketballs!)

Last Updated on October 29, 2023 by Alex PT

Basketballs are orange to enhance visibility. The color provides a stark contrast against the court, making it easier for players and spectators to track the ball’s movement. This tradition began in the 1950s for improved visual recognition.

This table consists of modern and old sizes and colors of basketball.

Old69cm in Circumference Dark Brown
Modern76cm in Circumference Orange

What Is Basketball?

A basketball is a round ball with an internal inflatable rubber tube that is wrapped by natural leather, artificial rubber, or perhaps a composite. The circumference of a basketball varies from a single league to the other: nearly all balls in the NBA have got a circumference of 29.5′, while NCAA balls possess a maximum circumference of 30′. Players in some other leagues tend to make use of the standard NBA basketball.

Basketballs typically vary in size of tiny marketing products just a couple of inches (some centimeters) in diameter to extra huge balls almost two feet (sixty centimeters) in diameter used mainly in training activities. For instance, a youth ball may be twenty-seven inches (sixty-nine centimeters) in circumference, while an NCAA known as National Collegiate Athletic Association male’s ball will be a maximum of thirty inches (seventy six centimeters) as well as an NCAA female’s ball will be a maximum of twenty-nine inches (seventy-four cm). The ideal size of a basketball in the NBA, National Basketball Association is 29.5 inches (seventy-five centimeters) in circumference, and also for the WNBA, Female’s National Basketball Association, a maximum circumference of twenty-nine inches (seventy-four cm). Junior leagues and high schools typically use NCAA, WNBA, or NBA-sized balls.

Aside from the baskets and the court, basketball may be the major gear essential to enjoy the game of basketball. During play, the ball should be used for dribbling (bouncing continuously), tossed from the atmosphere to make passes to various other players, or even tossed to make shots toward the basket (shooting). Thus, the ball has to be extremely solid as well as simple and easy to hold on to. The ball is likewise used to do freelancing (sometimes known as tricks), the most typical of that is spinning the ball on the point of one’s index finger, dribbling in complicated patterns, rolling the ball more over one’s shoulder, or perhaps performing aerobatic tricks with the ball while trying out a slam-dunk, most particularly in the situation of a slam-dunk competition.

Why are Basketballs Orange?

Basketballs are primarily orange for several reasons:

  1. Historical Tradition: The choice of orange for basketballs can be traced back to the late 1950s. At that time, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) merged to form the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Spalding Company, which supplied basketballs to the NBA, introduced the orange ball as part of the merger. This change aimed to distinguish the NBA from other basketball leagues and enhance visibility for both players and spectators.
  2. Visibility: Orange is a highly visible color against the typical hardwood court’s light color. This high-contrast ensures that players can easily track the ball’s movement during fast-paced games. It also helps referees and spectators follow the game more effectively.
  3. Television Broadcasting: The introduction of color television in the mid-20th century played a significant role in the selection of orange. An orange basketball was easier to spot and follow on color TV screens, making it more appealing to viewers. This increased the popularity of the sport and contributed to its growth.
  4. Consistency: Using standardized orange basketballs in professional leagues and most levels of play ensures uniformity in the game. Players can practice and compete with the same type of ball, regardless of the venue or league, leading to fairer and more consistent gameplay.

Is Orange The Only Basketball Color?

No, orange is not the only color for basketballs. While orange is the traditional and most widely used color for basketballs, there are variations and instances where different colors are employed. These deviations are typically seen in non-competitive or promotional contexts and are less common in professional play. Here are some examples:

  1. Alternate Colors: Some basketball manufacturers produce basketballs in different colors for recreational or novelty purposes. You can find basketballs in various colors such as red, blue, green, and even multicolored patterns. These are often used for leisure and indoor games but are not typically used in official competitive play.
  2. Youth and Mini Basketball: Smaller-sized basketballs for youth and mini-basketball games might come in different colors to make them more attractive and engaging for kids. These balls are often designed to be more appealing to children and may feature characters or graphics.
  3. Promotional and Commemorative Balls: Special edition basketballs are occasionally produced in unique colors to commemorate events, celebrate championships, or promote causes. These colorful basketballs are typically limited in production and are collector’s items rather than game-use equipment.
  4. Training Aids: In some training contexts, colored basketballs are used to focus on specific skills or drills. For instance, a coach might use a different color to signify a passing or shooting target, aiding players in developing their accuracy and precision.
  5. Outdoor and Street Basketball: Street basketballs, designed for outdoor use, may come in various colors to cater to personal preferences. These balls are built to withstand rougher surfaces and are often available in different colors to suit the taste of streetball players.

Features Of A Basketball 

Almost all basketballs possess an inflatable internal rubber bladder, typically wrapped in fiber levels, then covered with a surface produced possibly from synthetic composite rubber, or maybe leather (traditional). As in many inflatable balls, there’s a little opening that enables the pressure to be enhanced or decreased.

The ball’s counter is usually divided by “ribs” that are recessed beneath the counter of the ball in an assortment of configurations and are usually a contrasting color. An orangish covering with dark ribs along with a possible logo will be the conventional color pattern of basketballs though they’re purchased in colors that are several. Many well-known of these variants, a red/white/blue basketball, were employed for the American Basketball Association, the Harlem Globetrotters, and the “money ball” in the NBA All-Star Weekend’s 3 Point Contest. 

Balls are usually specified for inside (typically made of absorbent composites) or natural leather, or maybe all surface use (generally made from rubber or maybe long-lasting composites, likewise referred to as indoor/outdoor toys). Interior balls are usually more costly than all surface balls due to the price of materials. Additionally, new all-leather interior balls need to be “broken in” very first to attain optimum grip prior to use in competition.

Asphalt’s abrasiveness and the grime & moisture contained in an outdoor environment will often ruin an interior ball in an extremely brief time period. That is why an indoor/outdoor ball is suggested for leisurely players. Outside balls tend to be known as outside rubber basketballs & they’re normally made of rubber to deal with rougher environmental conditions. They have been full of much more airflow to maintain a good air pressure quality in cooler weather.

The ABA’s Basketball Color

The ABA was obviously a proficient basketball league created in 1967 as a primary competitor on the NBA and collapsed in 1978 when the NBA merged with their league by force. It was a total of eleven teams when it was created, and also by the point it merged together with the NBA, just six teams have been productive in the league. Four of the six teams joined the NBA; San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, as well as New York Nets.

The ABA’s basketball color was quite distinct from the standard orange basketball. It’d be three colors – red, cream, along pink – that developed an incredible pinwheel outcome when it had been in motion. Gene Littles, a former ABA player, declared watching those colors twirl was something wonderful. Each time he threw the ball, it mesmerized him and also made his heartbeat slightly faster.

Though the ABA ball had an attractive color, the seams had been more compact, and handling it had been really hard. Innovative balls slipped effortlessly from players’ hands, therefore in many activities, they utilized more mature balls.

The History Of the Basketball

In early December 1891, a school built for mainly Christian workers (now known as Springfield College) located in a town called Springfield, Massachusetts instructed their physical education teacher to establish brand new sports in which the school’s professional athletes could participate in the winter season. The name of the physical education teacher was James Naismith, and he did great work in assembling eighteen of his young male students and also assigned two team leaders for the nine-player teams. Furthermore, Naismith arranged the very first basketball game that was played with two peach baskets tacked together at the end of the gymnasium and a football.


The first purpose-built basketballs were created from natural leather items that were stitched together with a rubber bladder inside. A cloth lining was inserted into the natural leather for comfort as well as uniformity. In 1942, the first molded variant of basketball was created in 1942. For numerous years, natural leather was the substance of preference for basketball coverings; it was in the late 1990s that artificial composite materials was being used and also was rapidly accepted in many leagues. The NBA’s game balls continue to use genuine leather-based (outside of a short test with a microfiber ball in 2006 that wasn’t well-received).

From 1967 through 1976, the American Basketball Association (ABA) utilized a singular red, blue, and white basketball, which continues to become widely accepted and well-known.

As we said earlier, the first type of basketball was dark brownish because of its massive leather construction. The color-changes campaign was not liable until 1957, even if the 20th century has the most common design changes of these basketballs. Spalding, in collaboration with Tony Hinkle, designed the very first orange basketball, which was used in 1958, during the NCAA Championship games. It immediately became the new standard color because everybody loved it. 

Why Is A Basketball Orange In Color?

Dating back to when basketball first started, many audiences complained that they could hardly see the ball clearly. Furthermore, basketball players found it challenging to see the ball, which now resulted in a color change. Presently, most basketballs have black partitions below the ball’s surface known as ribs, and these basketballs are mostly orange in color. Recently, basketballs are now available in a wide variety of different colors. However, these colors are more keen on style than performance.  

Final Words

The color change from dark-brown to orange has improved the level of visibility in basketball, as we all know orange is brighter than the former dark brown color, which improves the gameplay of the basketball players by making it easier for them to see the basketball.  

Also, the spectators’ visibility has been enhanced with the color change. Although other leagues like the ABA use basketballs with different colors such as white, red, and blue. But unfortunately, these bizarre colors didn’t work out. To date, orange color has always been the best and most appropriate color for a basketball. We’ve come to the very end of this article. We hope you found it useful in your quest to know why basketballls are orange in color.




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