Wilson Sporting Goods Co., manufacturer of the official basketball of the National Basketball Association (NBA), has created the 3D Airless Prototype Basketball, introduced during the first round of the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest by Houston Rockets’ player KJ Martin.
The ‘first-of-its-kind’ 3D printed ball is playable and, according to the company, nearly fits the performance specifications of a regulation basketball, including its weight, size and rebound. The ball does not need to be inflated as it is comprised of a black, see-through lattice with eight panel-like ‘lobes’.
“We are so proud to unveil Wilson’s 3D Airless Prototype basketball as a physical manifestation of our continued commitment to sport innovation,” said Kevin Murphy, general Manager, Team Sports at Wilson. “This is just one example of how your team approaches the game and why we are the number one basketball company in the world today.”
While the 3D Airless Prototype Basketball represents a 'shared drive for innovation' between Wilson and the NBA, there will be no changes to the Wilson NBA official game ball.
“This is my first time participating in the NBA All-Star festivities, and to do so with Wilson, in such a memorable way on a big stage here in Utah is really special,” said Martin. “The game continues to evolve with each generation of players, and to have a brand partner continue to push the envelope through innovation is so important to the future of basketball.”
The Wilson Labs team created the design for the 3D Airless Prototype Basketball at the brand’s innovation centre in Chicago. General Lattice provided computational design services, DyeMansion provided colour and finishing solutions, and EOS provided additive manufacturing from its technical centre, powered by AT&T’s high-speed fibre network.