Why Is A Basketball Orange?

Basketball did not always have the vibrant colors that have been synonymous with the game that is now played in hundreds of nations across the world. Indeed, the first ball created for the sport was brown and hand-sewn together from four panels of rough leather.

Since then, there have been countless modifications in the look, ranging from the various colors accessible for personal use to the huge array of color schemes used by other nations’ leagues.

Why Is A Basketball Orange

Why Is A Basketball Orange?

Tony Hinke, head basketball coach of Butler University thought the brown color basketball was difficult to see, so to enhance the visibility of the ball, this decision was taken. Orange is more visible than dark brown, allowing players to better see the basketball and improve their game. 

Because of the shade shift, the audience’s visibility rose as well. Along with color variations, the basketball’s design, substance, and pumping capabilities have improved over time to give every basketball player, from beginner to professional, a quality ball to help them improve their skills.

Are College Basketballs More Orange?

Basketballs aren’t all made in the same shade. Some are brighter than the rest. Recently, the EVO NXT, which is the new NCAA championship ball for the 2021-2022 season in June, was revealed. This ball is brighter, and it has a neon-like glow to it which is what led fans to speculate that the college basketballs are more orange than usual.

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Fans who suspected that brighter orange basketballs were being introduced were accurate. The Wilson Evo NXT game ball hasn’t been used in previous tournaments. It has only recently been featured in the 2021-2022 NCAA season.

Wilson Team Sports general manager Kevin Murphy said in a news release in June 2021 that this ball was of the “highest caliber” of basketballs. According to Wilson, the Evo NXT adds an extra layer of grip and moisture control, as well as a softer feel. The new basketball has better weight distribution, making long-range shooting simpler.

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Wilson collaborated with the NCAA and many of its member schools to develop a ball with the best grip and easy long-range shooting capability. This is why the hue was intended for the hue to be brighter than normal in order to have “greater on-court vision and detection.”

Who Invented The Orange Basketball?

Tony Hinkle, head basketball coach at Butler University invented the orange basketball. He was the first one to realize that brown basketball could be hard to spot while playing, as it could bend with the surroundings. Then working with a Spalding Company, he produced a new orange basketball that did not fade with its surroundings.

The first time a match was played with this orange basketball was in 1959 in the NCAA Finals in Louisville, Kentucky. The NCAA got so impressed with the design that it was set as a standard for all basketball organizations. After that, Spalding also became the first company worldwide to develop basketballs officially for competitions. 

When Did Basketballs Turn Orange?

Color modifications were not apparent until 1957, despite the fact that design alterations were so prevalent in the twentieth-century of the orange basketball. Tony Hinkle and Spalding collaborated to create the first orange basketball, which made its debut in the NCAA championship game in 1958. 

Because the hue appealed to everyone, it became the new norm. The first basketball was made of strong leather that was painstakingly sewn together. The basketball was brown because the leather was dark brown, and it would stay that way for the next 63 years. Tony Hinkle and the Spalding Company designed the famous orange ball, which is still used as the official colour today.

How Does The Bright Orange Color Help?

The bright orange color of basketballs that we see nowadays wasn’t always the case. Basketballs used to have a much more dull brown color. But after reconsiderations, their color was switched to bright orange. The main purpose of this bright orange color is to improve visibility. For a fast-paced game like basketball, it can be challenging to keep up, and a dull ball will definitely not help. 

With brighter balls, players can easily keep track of the ball and strategize their moves accordingly. This bright color, however, not only is great for players, but also for the spectators. As a spectator, it can be frustrating to lose track of the ball in the middle of an intense game. Dull brown balls would have been much harder to keep track of, especially for those sitting further back in the courts. 

In comparison, a bright orange ball would easily stand out and spectators sitting near or far can easily keep track of it while enjoying the game. In a fast-paced game like basketball, visibilty is key. Hence, the switch to the bright orange color helps both players and spectators keep an eye on the ball. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What color orange are basketballs?

The majority of basketballs are burnt orange in appearance. Rust, Chinese Black, Chinese Orange, and Mandarin are the four shades of the Spalding Basketball Color Scheme pallet. According to NCAA rules, the basketball must be Pantone Matching System Orange 151, Red-Orange 173, or Brown 1535, as well as leather.

Why is the NBA ball brown?

Due to its hefty leather structure, the original basketball was dark-brown in color. Color changes were not visible until 1957, despite the fact that design changes were so prevalent in the twentieth century. 

Did they change the color of the basketball?

Tony Hinkle in collaboration with Spalding company developed an orange ball for enhanced visibility. Since 1983, this company has produced basketballs for NBA’s official games. Basketballs come in a variety of colors as well, although the colors are more geared toward aesthetics than usefulness.


Basketball has been a very popular sport around the world for ages and it was not always like this, in fact, the original color of basketball was of brown shade before the late 1950s. Although the color of the basketball may appear insignificant, it has a purpose: it improves visibility. As a result, the next time you go shopping for a basketball, look for orange choices, they could help you improve your game.

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