Spalding is a sporting goods company started in Chicago by Albert Spalding in 1876. Spalding manufactures goods for many sports, including baseball, soccer, softball, volleyball, football, golf, and most well known, basketball. The well-known "Spaldeen" high-bounce rubber ball, was sold to city children from 1949, a re-use of defective tennis ball cores. Spalding is the leader in basketball, and their basketballs sell much better than their other goods. Their premium ball is the official ball of the NBA, which has contributed to their immense success. Spalding also provides the official ball of the Arena Football League. Spalding became a division of Russell Corporation in 2003.
The company innovated the practice of professional athletes names or images on products when Pancho Gonzales was signed to an exclusive endorsement contract.
Spalding with the NBA co-declared that they would release a new NBA Official Game Ball, with interlocking segments and made with a synthetic material instead of leather. Many NBA players complained that the new composite ball became extremely slick after use. This was due to the technology used in creating that ball. When moisture hit the composite ball, it would distribute evenly over a larger area. Players also complained that the new ball wouldn't bounce as high and bounced awkwardly off the rim and backboard. Players also complained that the new ball cut their fingers. On January 1, 2007, Spalding came back with the old ball.
Spalding plans to make new balls and release them in the 2007-2008 NBA season.