Month: July 2013

Kids Playing Basketball Worldwide

Basketball Popularity Is Rapidly Growing

Basketball Growth Across The WorldWhat is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “basketball?”

Now what about the “Dream Team?”

Whether the Olympics, The European League, or the NBA, basketball worldwide has become recognized as an economic and social force in the lives of average people. There is more than one reason for this growth in popularity, an expansion that has the sport in fierce competition with the internationally accepted game of soccer in many parts of the world.

Just Check the Numbers

What are we really talking about when we say “growth” of popularity? If numbers do not lie, then the sport of basketball is growing at a phenomenal pace. When including a country such as China, which contains more than one-third of the word’s population, and one-third of their population has embraced the game of basketball, then “growth” may be an understatement.

Once upon a time, there were two American basketball leagues, the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA). During this time, basketball lagged far behind football and baseball as America’s choice of sport to watch, either on television or in person. There were discussions and attempts during the 1970’s to merge the two leagues, and finally, in 1976, the teams from the ABA were merged with the NBA.

This merger brought together the best basketball players in the world under one roof. If television is a popularity measurement, the viewing of the finals championship in 1976 posted a 12.3 Nielsen rating, which translates into an estimated 12.3 percent of American households were tuned in to watching the game or roughly 26 million people.

Across the Sea

The next major step towards popularity took on an international flavor. Enter the 1992 Olympics and the Dream Team. The players from the United States were more than an assembly of the world’s greatest players. They were international ambassadors of a sport that, for the first time in Olympic history, allowed professional players to participate in the games. The part basketball-competitor- mostly-celebrity players were sought after by many opposing teams for pictures and autographs, despite teams losing by an average of 44 points in these Olympic games.

But more than celebrity status spurred the popularity of the game. More than a few team owners and scouts noticed the emergence of some very talented European players, among them, Arvydas Sabonis of Lithuania, Dražen Petrović of Croatia, and Detlef Schrempf of Germany.

Kids Playing Basketball Worldwide

What are the factors that have caused this spurt of popularity? One is economics, as the equipment required to play the game is both cheap and therefore appeals to social and economic groups of all types.

Another is the expanded inclusion of women into the hardcourt arena. While the numbers for the women’s NBA TV ratings pale in comparison to the men’s, when young women see another avenue in which they can participate and showcase their athletic skills, there will be more to follow. Very recently, Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise gave serious consideration to drafting college sensation Britney Grimes as the NBA’s first woman player to be drafted.

A third factor is the faster paced game speed of basketball, which has been assisted by the faster, quicker, and more athletic players who currently play the game.

The technology factor is enormous in the 21st century, as social media connections such as Facebook and Twitter popularize the game with the younger generation.

So what are the places where the most recent growth of popularity of basketball exist in the world?

China

With a population of roughly 1.8 billion people, the signing of Yao Ming to the Houston Rockets marked a turning point in Chinese basketball popularity. Now, more than 300 million Chinese watch or participate in basketball yearly. This growth is expected to increase as more Chinese players are signed by the NBA and NBA players travel to China to play in Chinese professional leagues. There are plans to build a basketball court in every rural village in China to accommodate its growing popularity.

Canada

Canada is mentioned here to offset the idea that popularity is strictly measured by large numbers. Since the inception of the Toronto Raptors NBA franchise in 1995, basketball has become one of the top three team sports in Canada. This growth in popularity has its grass roots in children ages 5-14, posting an increase of 37 percent between 1998-2005, and is the fastest growing and most popular sport amongst visible minorities. This statistic reflects the important inclusion of all races globally.

Europe

The European Leagues have been well established for several decades now, and it was natural that the major shift in popularity would occur in the Eastern part of the world. Yes, basketball popularity is growing, and the expansion of the NBA by creating teams in Western Europe has been planned for years. When it happens, it will be another stepping stone for international popularity and participation.

Under Armor 495 Basketball Review

Nike Elite Championship Basketball
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Pros:

  • Looks Great
  • Affordable
  • Excellant Performance

Cons:

  • Occasional Durability Issues

Average Price:

$25-$35

Introduction

When it comes to a high quality basketball at a competitive price, the Under Armor 495 Basketball stacks up to the competition. You are looking at a quality manufactured basketball that provides exclusive GripSkin composite material, which provides an excellent grip and feel to the ball. Under Armor has been a leading manufacturer of American sports clothing and accessories since 1996, so you know quality is always at a high level when purchasing an Under Armor product.

About the Ball

29.5″ in diameter, NBA professional size, can be used indoors and outdoors, outlaid with GripSkin composite, which provides improved shooting, griping, and spinning control, 100% nylon windings, which helps provide maximum durability, 100% butyl bladder, which helps provide excellent air retention

The Appearance

The color of the ball is orange with black rubber lines wrapping around the ball to provide additional support and grip. The overall look of the ball when first taken out of the package is very shiny, and on the surface of the Ball, it displays a large Under Armour logo, along with a large imprint of the 495 model number. Both the logo and the 495 imprint are gold colored. Overall, there are no complaints regarding the look of the Basketball.

The Material

The Trademarked GripSkin composite that Under Armor utilizes with many of their products, including their footballs, provides excellent grip and control of the basketball. This includes enhanced abilities for players to shoot and have spin control as well. Most reviewers of the 495 Basketball feel that the GripSkin composite provides excellent grip and handling control. There has even been high praise given by those that have small hands, claiming they are capable of easily gripping the ball with one hand. While there has been some complaints regarding the basketball obtaining damage on the outside surface when being used outside (please read indoor /outdoor usage below), many users have claimed the ball still has a strong grip, even after being used outdoors for a long period of time.

Indoor / Outdoor Usage

One of the features claimed by Under Armour is the ball can be used both indoors and outdoors. Probably one of the biggest criticisms about the 495 basketball, although very few in number, is that it falls short in enduring the normal wear and tear when being used outside. Some have complained that the ball has shown significant damage on the outside surface, even after only using it for a few weeks, or even less. Others have complained that the balls surface can easily attract outdoor dust and dirt, making it extremely difficult to grip and control the basketball despite the fact that it is patent with the GripSkin surface.

Size, Weight, Balance, and Bounce

Overall, the ball's weight balance has been considered of high quality standards, meeting the strict standards set by the NBA. The ball has received high appraisals for having an overall good bounce. Additionally the butyl bladder has been recognized as providing excellent air retention for the basketball as well.

Under-Armour-495-Basketball

Price vs. Quality

The Under Armor 495 Basketball generally will cost around $30 in a retail store. The overall rating of the basketball is that it is well worth the price. Very few reviewers of the basketball have stated that the ball was not worth the price, but have stated it is well worth the price and are very content with their purchase. The only complaints regarding it not being worth the price was due to the complaint that the basketball was easily damaged on the outside surface when used outside.

Overall Rating of the ball

If you search for the overall rating of the Under Armor 495 Basketball online, you will find that its rating always stays between 4.5 or higher. Some rating websites have reviewers with a perfect 5.0 overall star rating. With the consumer market being the ultimate tester of products, the Armor 495 Basketball has ultimately been proven as being overall a very high quality product.

Armour 495 vs. Spalding

When it comes to basketballs, the ultimate competitor to the Under Armor 495 Basketball is Spalding, as it holds the reputation as being the highest quality basketball in the market. This is especially due to it being the official ball used in the National Basketball association. Spalding however, does provide lower quality basketballs that are at the same price range as the Armour 495.
The Spalding NBA Zi/O Official Size Indoor/Outdoor Basketball probably comes closest to being the same price range and quality when comparing against the Armour 495. It is also retails roughly around $30. The Spalding NBA basketball utilizes Zi/O composite leather, which imitates the look and feel of genuine leather.
Overall the Spalding ZI/O has about the same rating online as the Armour 495, but many owners of the Armour 495 say they would rather have their Armour over the Spalding comparative. One extra feature that the Armour 495 has over the Spalding comparative is more individuals prefer the gripping and control the Armour has when it comes to its GripSkin composite. However, some have also criticized that the Armour is nowhere near the same quality as the Spalding NBA Zi/O basketball.
So which one should you consider? Really the two are neck to neck, and either one could be considered. Whichever one you consider, you will probably still receive superior quality and performance for the price.

Conclusion

Overall, the Under Armor 495 Basketball rated with a 4.5 star rating or higher on other review websites, the Armour 495 Basketball is an excellent basketball to consider for costing around $30. The only negative criticism seen regarding the ball's quality is the fact that it receives surface damage by some that use it outdoors. However, there are similar complaints about the Spalding NBA ZI/O comparative basketball, so it appears some normal wear and tear damage will occur when being used outside. Ultimately, if you're looking for a basketball that you are able to use either indoors or outdoors, and are budgeting around $30 for your purchase, The Armour 495 might just be the best consideration for your next basketball.

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Wilson Derrick Rose Basketball

Wilson Derrick Rose Basketball Review

Nike Elite Championship Basketball
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Pros:

  • Unique Look
  • Affordable
  • Good Grip

Cons:

  • Durability is Sometimes a Problem

Average Price:

$25-$30

The Basics

The Wilson Derrick Rose Wave Composite Basketball has a two-tone color and the D. Rose logo. For this Derrick Rose Signature Series ball, Derrick Rose himself helped design the ball and its look. For $28.99 on Amazon or $29.99 from Wilson, the Wilson Derrick Rose Basketball is endorsed by Derrick Rose himself. This ball is the official 29.5″ size and made for indoor and outdoor use. The cover is made from high-pebble dual-toned composite leather and includes deep composite channels with the Wave Triple Threat Technology's 24 additional T3 grooves that give the ball more surface area. The greater surface area of this ball provides for a better grip.

A Great Ball For All Ages

This ball can be used for all levels of play, from children big enough to play with an official size ball to families shooting hoops by the garage to college basketball teams that want to win. Although listed as an Indoor and Outdoor ball, this basketball is much better for playing indoors than outdoors. When used outdoors, it generally does not last very long, but many people think it is a great ball for indoor play. In addition, there are other pros and cons of this ball that are not obvious from the product description. The pros include indoor use, solid grip, affordability, and great feel. The cons include outdoor use, rigidity, and weight. However, there is some variability among users as to the features and characteristics of this ball that they like or not, so whether this ball will appeal to you does depend on what you like in a basketball. For example, some people prefer lighter balls and some people prefer heavier balls. Even though this ball is heavier than many official size basketballs, some people may prefer that quality, whereas other people may not. The most important aspect of this ball is the grip, as that is the quality that it was specifically designed for, and most users report that the grip is excellent. Overall, this ball is reported to have a good feel, and the only problem is that it may not hold up outdoors.

Wilson Derrick Rose Basketball

Some Pros

– Indoor use.
As mentioned above, this ball is better for indoor use than for outdoor use. Indoors, the ball is very durable and can last through years of moderate use. Even with heavy use, the ball lasts for a long time if it is only used indoors.

– Easy to grip.
A new Wilson Derrick Rose Basketball has a solid grip that makes it easy to dribble and shoot. This great grip is made possible by the deep channels and extra grooves in the design that provide more space for your fingers to hold on to.

– Affordable.
At $28.99 on Amazon or $29.99 from Wilson, the price is modest, especially for a ball endorsed by a professional basketball player.

– Great feel.
This basketball feels good to hold and dribble. It is also designed to shoot well, and some users find that it naturally rolls off of the shooting hand, making it easy to shoot with.

A Few Cons

– Outdoor use.
Although this ball is durable on an indoor court, on an outdoor court it has very poor durability. The most common complaint is that this ball tends to fall apart rather quickly when used outside. When used outdoors, the grip starts deteriorate after a month or so, and after this amount of time the ball also sometimes starts to come apart at the seams. If you are considering getting this ball, make sure to only use it indoors if you want to be able to use the same ball for a long period of time.

– Rigidity.
This leather ball is harder than most synthetic balls, so it handles differently than other balls. Some people don't like this quality, as it makes it harder to dribble and handle the ball in general.

– Weight.
This ball is heavier than other balls, so it can be an adjustment to get used to ball handling and shooting. Some people, however, like the weight of this ball, as it is definitely not too light.

This Wilson Derrick Rose Basketball Review is based on real experiences from real users of this basketball. Although this Wilson ball has both pros and cons, overall most users are happy with it.

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Nike Elite Championship Basketball

Nike Elite Championship Basketball Review

Nike Elite Championship Basketball
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Pros:

  • Soft Feel
  • High School & College Approved
  • Excellant Grip

Cons:

  • Large Logo

Average Price:

$50-$70

Not all basketballs are created equally. Numerous design differences in basketballs make some better than others for different preferences among players. The Nike Elite Championship Basketball routinely receives high praise from those who participate in indoor basketball leagues and games. It’s obvious from the time you look at the ball that it is made with the best materials in mind for the game of basketball. Coaches often buy these balls for practices so that their players get to experience the balls that are used in real game action. The authentic feel of the balls goes a long way toward improving the skills of the players who use the balls.

A Fair Price

The Nike Elite Championship Basketball retails for more than 70 U.S. dollars in most places, but you can get it on some sites for less than 60. The ball has the classic basketball look with the orange and black coloring. The leather that the ball is crafted with is composite leather, which is designed to prevent sweat from accumulating on the ball’s surface. The players can easily keep their hands on the grips of the ball without worrying about the ball slipping away. Some people do criticize the design of the lettering on the ball. The logos sometimes slip since they are made out of slightly different materials than the ball itself.

Popularity is no problem for the Nike Elite Championship Basketball. Younger players seem to love it because it looks so official. It doesn’t hurt that it has the Nike name and logo on it. The ball is definitely part of a bandwagon appeal due to marketing, but at least the ball itself is a quality product for indoor basketball play. This is one of the biggest drawbacks of the ball. It costs quite a bit for a ball that is only suitable for use indoors. If you try to use this ball outside, it will get ripped to shreds fairly quickly.

Inside Use Only

As long as you keep the ball inside the gym, it will last for quite some time. This is the type of ball that will keep the same perfectly round shape you expect every time you pick up a basketball. Other balls lose their shape the first time they lose air, but the Nike Elite Championship Basketball is built to last. Your ball will serve you well through this season and all of your practices and off season training sessions.

The design of the ball also allows for a preferred shooter’s tough. Basketball players love to use this ball because it fits in the hands nicely when going up for a jump shot. The smooth, pebbly surface of the ball makes it easy to use your finds to find a nice shooting grip. Once you shoot with a ball like this, you will always try to find another one just like it. You will quickly find out why this particular ball is the one owned and used by more than 250 colleges in the United States every year.

Nike Elite Championship Basketball

 

A Consistent Bounce

Dribbling is also a breeze with this ball. It always seems to inflate to the correct amount to give superior bouncing ability. As a coach and a parent, you want to make sure the players learn proper dribbling techniques from a young age. This is especially important if they are a guard. A properly-inflated ball with the right amount of bounce will go a long way toward developing your young player’s dribbling skills. They would usually have to bounce the ball harder if it doesn’t have enough air, and they would have to bounce it with less force than normal if it has too much air.

Organizations that host tournaments like to use these balls because they can take a beating and they last a long time. There’s no hassle or stress when dealing with basketballs of this quality. Special tournaments and competitions such as three point shots, dunk contests, and three-on-three tournaments at indoor gyms require quality basketballs to keep their play going well. Large tournaments and competitions full of people don’t have time to spare to get new basketballs. Many program coordinators praise the Nike ball for its versatility and readiness at all times. It’s the ultimate ball for convenience.

Somewhat Of An Airhead

One of the other major drawbacks of this basketball is that sometimes it does not hold air for very long. Many owners complain that they have to pump air into the ball frequently if they would like to continue using it instead of getting a new one. This may be an isolated incident, and it should be noted that deflation can happen with any ball no matter the reputation it has. That is why official league games have several balls on hand to use at any given time. Emergencies and unfortunate situations do happen. You should expect a quality product when you buy this ball, but there are no guarantees with anything in life.

In Conclusion…

If you’re looking for a durable, authentic ball to use inside the gym, considering the Nike Elite Championship Basketball is a great idea. The ball has its flaws, but they are easily overlooked after you get used to the ball. The reality is that some people have their preferences on grips and constructions of basketballs no matter how good another type may be. There’s no single basketball that can please every player, but this offering from Nike comes close. This ball is worth a try for players of all ages and skill levels.

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