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Why are Basketballs Orange?

Basketball season tops the list of favorite seasons for just about every Hoosier. This time of year in Indiana the sounds of squeaking tennis shoes, buzzing buzzers, and dribbling basketballs fill gymnasiums around the state. So it makes sense that this basketball state played a small part in the reason why basketballs are orange.

Why are basketballs orange? They weren’t always this color. Before the late 1950s, basketballs were generally brown.

Butler University’s head basketball coach, Tony Hinkle, thought this color was not only difficult for players to see, but also for the fans. He decided to create a ball that anyone near a basketball court could easily see. The color he chose? Orange.

In 1957, Hinkle worked with the Spalding Company to develop a new basketball. The orange-colored ball made its debut in the 1958 NCAA Finals in Louisville, Kentucky. Impressed with the easy-to-see color, the NCAA adopted the ball and is now a standard for all basketball organizations.

Now, grab a basketball of any color and head out to practice your drills and skills at the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever Basketball Experience, part of the Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience

Looking for more Never Stop Asking "Why?" questions? Catch up on all of the past "Whys" on the blog!