Spalding is an American sporting goods company founded by Albert Spalding in Chicago, Illinois in 1876. It is now headquartered in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The company specializes in the production of balls for many sports, but is best known for its basketballs. Spalding also makes a range of other products for baseball, soccer, softball, volleyball, and American football.
Spalding is mostly known for its basketballs, although the company also manufactures balls and accessories for other sports such as American football, baseball, soccer and volleyball. Besides, softball equipment (balls, bats and gloves) is offered through company's subsidiary Dudley.
Spalding developed its first basketball in 1894 and is currently a leading producer. Since 1983, it has been the Official ball supplier to the National Basketball Association (NBA). The company also provides the official ball of the Arena Football League, an indoor American football league. The company was also one of the first to use high-profile athletes to endorse its products when tennis player Pancho Gonzales was signed to an exclusive endorsement contract in 1951.
In 2006, Spalding and the NBA announced that they would create a new NBA Official Game Ball, with interlocking segments and made with a synthetic material instead of leather. However, many NBA players complained that the new composite ball became extremely slick after use, wouldn't bounce as high and bounced awkwardly off the rim and backboard and cut their fingers. As a result, the NBA reverted to the old leather balls effective January 1, 2007.