How to Make a Wilson Basketball Tacky

Teenager inflating basketball

It's difficult to pull off crowd-wowing moves when you can't get a grip on the basketball. The game is just more fun when you have control. But Wilson basketballs tend to feel slippery twice during their lifespan -- in the beginning and at the very end. Unfortunately, not all basketballs can be saved.

New Leather Wilson

New indoor leather basketballs can feel slippery, almost like plastic. And there's only one way to develop a tacky grip -- game play. The leather breaks in much like a baseball glove, becoming softer and more tactile over time. The NBA even speeds up this break-in process using a machine that mimics pounding against a wood floor. But NBA teams also practice with their new balls until they're game ready, and that's what you're going to have to do. Shoot, dribble and pass the ball as much as you can until the grip develops.

An Old Favorite Ball

Your favorite Wilson's leather wears out over time, degrading to a slick, paper-bag feel. You can try to save the grip using spray adhesive. Or you can use duct tape on the entire ball, removing the tape to leave a sticky residue. But applying a tacky substance to the ball may offend some players, so don't plan on using it in a pickup game. Your best bet is to buy a basketball-specific grip-enhancing cream or spray. By increasing the grip on your own hands, you can use your favorite ball in a game while prolonging its life.