Sep 04 2012

Review: Spalding NBA Zi/O Basketball

The quest to find a (cheaper) replacement for our team’s Wilson Solution basketball continued with the Spalding NBA Zi/O. A friend of mine who is a commercial air pilot bought it for me from Paragon Sports in New York and brought it with him when he flew back. It cost $27.99. If you find it in Europe, I could imagine the price range to be around 40-50 €.


Spalding Zi/O basketball has deep channels, like the Neverflat and it is really easy to get a fast rotation when you shoot it. It also feels significantly smaller and lighter than the Neverflat. Measurements reveal that it actually is. Zi/O’s circumference is 29.5″ (75 cm) while Neverflat’s is 29.7″ (75.50 cm). The difference seems to be negligible but it really feels smaller in hand. Zi/O’s weight is 1.27 lbs (578 g) and Neverflat weighs 1.32 lbs (598 g). That’s 20 gram difference, so perception is correct: it is in fact smaller and lighter.

Although the ball feels relatively soft even when inflated to the proper bounce, it does not “feel right”. This is a good practice ball but the sensation of it being smaller gives the impression of women/junior ball. Additionally the surface wore out really fast even when we played with it indoors only. You can see the wear and tear if you click the pictures to enlarge them. To sum it up: Spalding NBA Zi/O is a good and cheap practice ball but when selecting a game ball, you’ll be better off with Wilson Solution or Spalding TF-1000.

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