How Long Should A Basketball Last?

If you’re wondering how long your new basketball will last, here is what you should know. A basketball is usually made of rubber, pure leather, or composites. The material of an outdoor basketball differs from an indoor basketball. It is made according to environmental conditions.

How Long Should A Basketball Last

How Long Should A Basketball Last?

How long a good quality basketball lasts depends on several factors. These include quality, average use, maintenance, and design life. A basketball will last for anywhere from 2 months to 5 years, depending on its type, usage, maintenance, and storage. To further understand the factors that determine this, read on below. 

How Long Do Outdoor Basketballs Last?

Outdoor basketballs generally last between 3 and 6 months in time. However, how long a basketball lasts depends on the quality of the material it is made out of, the duration of time it is used every day, and how the user takes care of it. 

What happens when you sit on a basketball

Better quality outdoor basketballs can last for up to a year even. Basketballs made out of tough composite leather material will last a year, even if played for a few hours every day. On the contrary, rubber basketballs will become flabby and lose their grip in a few months.

If taken care of properly, a basketball will last relatively long. Maintenance and care include ensuring the surface is suitable for basketball, thoroughly checking the basketball for any damage before putting it away, maintaining the inside pressure, etc.

Moreover, because an outdoor basketball hits hard concrete surfaces as opposed to an indoor basketball that hits the smooth gym floor, it goes flat much sooner.

How Long Do Indoor Basketballs Last?

Indoor basketballs can last for up to five years, much longer than outdoor basketballs. Indoor basketballs are specially designed for smooth wooden surfaces. They are made up of 100% pure leather. They have a significantly smoother grip, which can be slippery, and it is often challenging to play with new indoor basketballs. 

Once you play 3, or 4 games, their grip improves rather than degrades. Good quality leather indoor basketballs have approximately 35,00 small pebbles on their surface for better feel and grip than the outdoor ball with large pebbles.

These basketballs should always be played on indoor surfaces, as they cannot withstand the harsh outdoor terrain. Their leather material will quickly deteriorate if taken outside or not taken care of properly. Thus, this would decrease their lifespan as well.

How Long Does A Rubber Basketball Last?

A rubber basketball is usually used for outdoor basketball games. It is rougher in feel and grip but gets more useable after a few games. How long a rubber basketball will last depends on how frequently it is used and the duration it is used for.

If the user uses it for 1 to 2 hours daily, the basketball will last for approximately 5 to 6 months, provided that they take proper care of it. If the time duration is two to three hours daily, even a good basketball will last only 4 to 5 months maximum. The more time spent under the sun, the earlier your basketball will rot away in the intense heat and sweat.

If you are an athlete or part of a basketball team, your basketball will be used for at least 3 to 4 hours daily. This means it won’t last more than 3 to 4 months because of the rough and tough use. Moreover, if your usage exceeds the 4-hour mark, you will have to replace your basketball every 3 months or even earlier if you don’t take proper care of it.

How Long Does A Composite Basketball Last?

A composite basketball is basically a synthetic basketball made of composite leather. It feels like leather but is better in quality. Such basketballs can be used for indoor purposes as well as for outdoor sports. 

A synthetic leather basketball would last for almost 8 to 9 months if used daily for an hour or two. Using it daily for two to three hours would reduce its lifespan to 7 to 8 months. This usage means that the user should be taking adequate care of it. You should make sure that it is not deflated, the pressure is maintained, it doesn’t have any holes, etc. 

why is a basketball orange

Furthermore, if the daily usage of a composite basketball is increased to three to four hours, then it would last only about 6 to 7 months. If you are a basketball instructor or a player and use your composite ball for more than four hours, it will last only 6 months or even less. Although it will eventually deteriorate, it won’t be as quick as a rubber basketball. 

How Long Does A Synthetic Leather Basketball Last?

A synthetic leather basketball or composite leather basketball lasts for about a year. They are more durable than rubber basketballs and have better grip and quality. Those designed for outdoor use have more pebbles and provide a firm grip than rubber ones. 

Hence, with proper care and appropriate usage, synthetic leather basketballs will last quite a while before losing their grip and smoothing out. 

How Long Does An NBA Basketball Last?

An NBA game lasts for 2 and a half hours on average. These are high-energy and high-impact games that need the best quality balls. An NBA-caliber basketball can last for up to five years. However, regardless of the quality, a new basketball is not used for more than four games in the NBA. This is to maintain the standard quality of the sport. 

On average, an NBA basketball has a life of around 10,000 bounces. In one game, there are approximately 2650 bounces. So if we do the maths, this means an NBA basketball will only be good enough for three to four games, hence proved as stated above. 

Having said all this, the officials still use a brand-new basketball for each game. This ensures that the players don’t mischievously use their own during the game. The quality control team inspects the ball before the start of each game.

Things That Affect How Long A Basketball Lasts

  • How You Store Your Basketball

Basketballs should always be stored inside the house or gym at room temperature and pressure. You should keep it inflated if you use it regularly and deflated otherwise. However, the ball should be stored at room temperature in both cases. Avoid leaving your basketballs outside under direct sunlight, as this would tremendously affect their lifespan.

  • Cleanliness

Ensure that your basketball is clean at all times. Over time, dust and dirt may accumulate and seep into the pebbles. A dirty ball doesn’t have the best of grips and gets very slippery. So clean your basketball with a towel sometimes to maintain its quality. You can clean the basketball with a towel dipped in lukewarm water and a mild detergent for more rigorous cleaning. But, make sure to dry it as well at once, because if it is a leather ball, it will rot away.

  • Playing Surface

Make sure the surface you dribble your basketball on is always clean and doesn’t have any sharp objects. Don’t use your outdoor basketball on indoor surfaces and vice versa.

  • Choosing The Correct Court

Leather basketballs are made to be played on indoor courts. If you use a leather basketball on an outdoor court, its surface will wear off in no time, and you won’t be able to achieve the desired grip as well. On the other hand, rubber or composite balls should never be used on outdoor surfaces for the same reasons mentioned.


Basketball is a loved sport throughout the world. It is gaining more popularity with time, and more people are now trying to make a whole career out of this sport. The most fundamental part of this sport is the basketball itself. It is mainly made out of three types of material, rubber, leather, or composite, which is a synthetic type. Rubber basketballs are custom-made for outdoor courts, and leather basketballs are designed for indoor courts. Whichever basketball you have, taking proper care of it is essential.

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