helpful information about gloves, bats, and cleats
  • Systems
  • Basketballs
  • Shoes

Shopping for a Basketball Goal - What's Important?


  • Backboard Combo
    • Used to replace broken backboards or for mounting to roofs
  • In-ground
    • Permanently cemented into a hole that is dug in the ground
  • Portable
    • Lightweight and adjustable
    • Generally comes as a complete basketball system with a basketball pole

The three main goal designs offer different advantages and disadvantages depending on what the customer is looking for. The three basic goal designs sold at Academy include:

Backboard Combo Portable In-ground
Advantages Advantages Advantages
  • Great for replacing broken backboards or for mounting to roofs
  • Most popular because it can be moved when needed
  • Very popular because they offer stability and are very durable
Disadvantages Disadvantages Disadvantages
  • When mounted to a wall or roof, does not give much room or space for shooting lay-ups
  • Height cannot be adjusted
  • Takes up more space
  • Not as stable as an in-ground system
  • Cannot be easily moved without using a ground sleeve or replacing the j-bolt system

Backboard Materials:

  • Composite
    • Least expensive and more durable than graphite, but does not offer good playability (how well the ball rebounds off the backboard)
    • Generally made from recycled plastic products
  • Polycarbonate
    • Five times stronger than typical acrylic, making it nearly impossible to crack or shatter
  • Acrylic
    • Offers the greatest combination of playability and durability
  • Tempered Glass
    • Gives the player a true rebound
    • Most glass boards are 3/8" to 1/2" thick
    • In the event the backboard shatters, tempered glass will not break into sharp shards

Types of Systems:

Basketballs are designed with a specific panel design to determine how aerodynamic the ball is and how much control a player will feel.
  • Portable
    • Most popular style of basketball system
    • Large plastic base that can be filled with sand or water to offer stability
    • Holds 30 to 40 gallons of water
    • Water is a better choice than sand because water can be easily drained
    • Pouring a small amount of antifreeze in the base will help keep water from freezing during the winter preventing damage to the base
    • If sand comes in contact with water, sand can become a solid brick that hardens in the sun
  • In-ground
    • Permanently cemented into the ground
    • Control is important for long passes and precise shots on goal
    • Larger in-ground systems tend to use a j-bolt anchoring system which allows the system to be removed when needed
    • Academy no longer offers ground sleeves
    • Tend to be more rigid and takes up less space than portables

Height Adjustment:

  • Quick Adjustment Mechanism
    • Allows players to raise or lower the rim height from 7.5 to 10 feet in 6-inch increments using a broom handle
    • Players of any age or skill can enjoy the game at their level
  • Screw Jack
    • Makes rim height adjustments easy
    • With a turn of a handle, the rim height is adjustable from 7 - 10 feet for all skill levels
    • The adjustment handle can also be removed for storage during play and to prevent tampering
  • Telescoping
    • Can adjust the rim height from 7.5 to 10 feet in 6-inch increments without the use of tools
    • Removal of a pin/bolt and nut allows the upper pole to move inside the lower pole
  • ExactaHeight System
    • Works on angled or vertical poles
    • Spring counter balance design allows for easy height adjustment from 7.5ft to 10ft
    • Easy to adjust - no broomstick needed
    • Pin mechanism provides accurate adjustments in 6-in increments and prevents movement during play
  • U-Turn Lift
    • Allows movement of the basketball goal from 7.5-ft to 10-ft
    • A convenient 3-ft offset provides for play under the rim

Rim Styles:

  • Arena Style Breakaway Rim
    • Designed to flex when pressure is applied, helping to relieve stress from the backboard during game play
    • Features institutional style wrap steel support braces and steel rams that maximize durability and rim support
    • A steel box cover encloses all of the breakaway rim components optimizing aesthetics and safety
  • Fixed Rim
    • Attaches the rim directly to a backboard using a piece of metal
    • Good choice for the player who does not plan to hang off the rim or practice dunking
  • Spring Rim
    • Designed to flex when pressure is applied, helping to relieve stress from the backboard during game play
    • Not as heavy-duty as the Arena Style rim

Shopping for a Basketball - What's Important?

Basketballs are typically constructed of the following components:

  • Inner Bladder
    • Usually made of rubber
    • Inflatable
    • Some bladders are designed to hold and maintain air pressure over a long period of time
    • Provides support for the ball cover
    • Gives the ball its bounce
  • Winding
    • Fabric wound around the bladder
  • Carcass
    • Usually made of rubber or foam
    • Forms the channels on the surface of the ball
  • Ball Cover
    • Leather, composite/synthetic leather, or rubber covering
    • Responsible for grip, feel, and durability of the ball

Basketballs covers are typically constructed from three types of materials:

  • Leather
    • Used in indoor balls
    • Not suitable for outdoor play
    • Provide more feel and bounce
    • Extensive "break-in" time before the ball handles properly
  • Composite/Synthetic Leather
    • Play similar to leather
    • No "break-in" process
    • Offered in both indoor and outdoor balls
  • Rubber:
    • Used in outdoor applications
    • Provide a more durable ball

Basketball Channels:

  • Basketballs have channels grooved into the surface of the cover
  • The channels provide added grip and handling of the ball
  • Basketballs with deeper channels provide greater playability and control of the ball

Basketball Grips:

  • The ball cover has a pebbled surface that gives the ball "grip" in the player's hands
  • Indoor balls typically have fewer grips than outdoor balls due to the controlled environment of indoor facilities (clean wooden floors, no exposure to the elements, etc.)
  • Outdoor balls typically have more grips to give the player more control of the ball due to the variety of playing surfaces (and the probability of dust, dirt, and other debris on the court)
  • The amount of grip a ball has is also known as tack
  • Typically, the tackier the ball, the greater the ability a player will have to control and maneuver the ball

There are three types of basketballs available at Academy. Each offers different advantages and disadvantages depending on the player's planned use. The three basketball types sold at Academy include:

Indoor Outdoor Indoor/Outdoor Combo
Advantages Advantages Advantages
  • More responsive than outdoor balls
  • Feel more smooth coming off the hand
  • More bounce than indoor balls
  • Has more grips than indoor balls
  • Tougher and handles more wear and tear than indoor balls
  • Very popular because of the flexibility to use either indoors or outdoors
  • Typically more durable than indoor balls
Disadvantages Disadvantages Disadvantages
  • Typically has fewer grips than outdoor balls
  • Not designed for outdoor play
  • Less feel and touch than indoor balls
  • Not as responsive as indoor balls

There are four sizes of basketballs sold at Academy.

  • Size 3 basketballs
    • Are considered novelty or autograph balls
    • May also be called "Mini" basketballs
The other sizes, 5, 6, and 7, are used to play the game of basketball, and are designed to accommodate the age and/or gender of the player.
  • Size 5 basketballs
    • Have a circumference of 27.5 inches
    • Are for male and female players 8 years old and under
  • Size 6 basketballs
    • Have a circumference of 28.5 inches
    • Are for male players 9 to 12 years old
    • Are also for female players 8 years old and above
  • Size 7 basketballs
    • Have a circumference of 29.5 inches
    • Are for male players 12 years old and above

Shopping for Basketball shoes - What's Important?


  • Basketball players often make short, explosive movements on a hard playing surface
  • Basketball shoes have a thick, stiff midsole and rigid heel counter to provide optimal stability
  • The constant motion, as well as the high impact of jumping, requires adequate cushioning to reduce shock and prevent injury
    • Ankle injuries may be common in the sport of basketball, so a supportive shoe is essential
  • Basketball shoes also have specific outsoles that provide traction for running and cutting, while still allowing pivoting motions
    • The herringbone pattern is the most common tread pattern found on a basketball outsole
All basketball shoes are classified as court shoes.


  • A court shoe is made up of thicker leather than a running shoe
  • The sides of a court shoe might be reinforced to provide extra lateral stability
  • Unlike a running shoe with a high heel, a court shoe has a thinner, more even sole
  • The sole is firmer than that of a running shoe for extra stability
  • Some basketball shoes have high tops, meaning the upper extends up above the ankle, which provides extra support to this vulnerable joint


  • Court shoes are designed to decrease the odds that the foot will roll off the shoe to one side or the other
  • The upper portion of a basketball shoe encompasses the foot and excludes the sole unit. It can be made of either leather or a high-quality synthetic material, and can be combined with mesh to reduce weight.
  • The upper provides support and breathability.
The upper is broken into the following sections:

Features - The distance between the midsole and the topline collar where the ankle bones sit
Eyerow - The part of the shoe where the laces connect to the upper
Toe Box - The volume of the forefoot that contains the toe
Topline Collar - Adds extra comfort around the ankle, in addition to the tongue
Vamp - Part of the toebox area, where the upper bends; this area is flexible, breathable, and often perforated
Tongue - The padding under the laces that protects the top of the foot

  • The basketball shoe insole/sock liner provides cushioning and helps prevent blisters
  • Materials most commonly used in the construction of insoles include the following:
    • Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
    • Polyurethane (PU)
  • Insoles/sock liners are located directly under the foot and can vary in thickness from the heel to toe
  • Basketball/court shoe sock liners may, or may not, be removable

The function of basketball shoe midsole is to provide cushioning by acting as a protective layer between the foot and the ground.

  • The width of the midsole also forms a stable base to aid lateral stability
  • Basketball shoe midsoles aid players in the following ways:
    • Reduces the shock of impact
    • Manufacturers place added cushioning features in the heel and/or forefoot area of the midsole
    • Reduces the severity of pressure spots by distributing forces over a larger area of the foot
  • Midsole materials include:
    • Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
    • Polyurethane (PU)
  • The outsole is the treaded layer of the basketball shoe that makes direct contact with the ground
  • The outsole may comprise a single piece, or may be an assembly of separate pieces of different materials
  • Typically, the heel of the basketball shoe's sole has a rubber plate for added durability and traction