Spalding (sports equipment)

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.


When Albert Spalding, one of the earliest star baseball players, founded his sporting goods store in 1876, he would go on to bring several innovations to the young game. He popularized the use of the baseball glove in 1877, and standardized the baseball itself soon afterward. At one point Spalding, who wrote the first official rule book for baseball, said that only Spalding balls could be used in the National League.


Spalding is also a leader in technology. Most of their technological advancements relate to basketballs. They are notable for developing the first basketball. In 2001 they released their Infusion technology, which features a built in micro pump which allows one to add air without a pump or needle. Spalding furthered their Infusion technology in 2003, when Spalding started manufacturing basketballs with Infusion technology so that users could also release air without a needle. The Infusion3 came out in 2005. Infusion3 is a dual action micro pump that works twice as fast as its predecessors. In late 2005 Spalding also came out with the NEVERFLAT technology, which guarantees that the ball will keep the same consistent bounce for at least one year. This eliminates the need for a pump and needle, at least for the first year. Spalding uses Nitroflate molecules to seal in the air and to prevent it from leaking out as it does in traditional basketballs.

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.

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