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Q & A: Making Basketballs

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
I’m interested in learning how basketballs are made. Can you point me in some direction? starting from scratch, what materials do i need, and how can i put them together to make a basketball?
- Jason (age 12)
Beck Middle School, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, United States o
A:
Jason -

Traditionally, basketballs were made using a rubber bladder (like a very sturdy rubber balloon) sealed inside of a sewn leather case. Later, a cloth lining was added between the rubber and the leather to add strength. Today, basketballs are made of flexible plastic shaped by a mechanical mold. The ball is pressurized by pumping air through a small hole on its side.

It would be quite an undertaking to make a basketball yourself, but you could probably do it the old fashioned way if you really wanted to. You'd need to get some leather and sew the pieces together around a very sturdy inflated plastic ball or balloon. Sewing leather can be kind of tricky, but you can do it with a bit of practice and a tool called an awl.

For more information on basketballs and the history of the sport, click .

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

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