While NBA G-League alum Mac McClung put on quite a show at this past weekend’s AT&T Slam Dunk Contest, it’s disheartening to think that arguably the biggest star of the event was a unique basketball. And although this seems to be the case with each passing day, to reiterate, this was no ordinary ball. Wilson’s remarkably innovative 3D-printed prototype was first seen used by contest participant KJ Martin, and time will only tell where it appears next.
Although he didn’t make it past the first round, the Rockets forward helped showcase the functional capabilities a ball like this has to offer, with the primary draw being that it will never need to be inflated. Moreover, the same designers behind the league’s traditional game ball created Wilson’s new prototype, implementing a sponge-like surface coated with small hexagonal holes, promoting airflow to pass through it while retaining its distinct eight-panel construction.
Seeing as Wilson Labs couldn’t conjure up this much game-changing material on their own, the sporting goods manufacturer worked alongside General Lattice, a computational engineering company, to fully realize this bewildering new concept. As far as seeing this ball arise in other on-court scenarios, Wilson claims there’s still lots of work to do but says it represents “possibilities for other sports and future Wilson products, revolutionary sustainability, and so much more.” Regardless of when it arrives, one thing is for sure: grade-school P.E. students will surely appreciate never having to pump up a ball again.
Get a better look at the innovation behind this porous sphere on Wilson’s website.