Like most sports, the game of hoops requires adequate space for the court, a pole or frame with a heavy base, a rim with a net, and most importantly, the ball. The standard size used by the NBA is anywhere between 9.43″ and 9.51″ in diameter and should weigh about 22 ounces. Meanwhile, Wilson presents the Airless Gen1 — an innovative take on a basketball.

Since the game was invented by James Naismith in 1891, the equipment used underwent several modifications and innovations throughout its history. The basketball itself is basically an inflatable rubber bladder covered with layers of fabric and finally wrapped in a variety of surface materials.

Those commonly used are synthetic composite, leather, or rubber. As for Wilson’s cutting-edge approach, we have a 3D-printed regulation-size basketball which does not need inflation. The official page describes the Airless Gen1 material as an elastomeric polymer developed in-house by the sporting goods brand.

What’s cool is the hexagonal perforations visible up close. These precision-formed holes form a lattice structure throughout and enhance the overall look of the basketball. The prototype was first unveiled in 2023, but the Airless Gen1 is now commercially available, albeit in highly limited numbers.

There are three colorways offered: Jet Black, Natural, and Brown. To ensure that every example becomes highly collectible, Wilson serialized this exclusive production as indicated by the etched numbers on the basketball. Moreover, each Airless Gen1 includes a case, stand, and a three-letter customizable tag.

“The basketball nearly fits the performance specifications of a regulation basketball, including its weight, size and rebound (bounce). The form of the ball features 8 panel-like lobes and a familiar seam structure, with hexagonal holes across the surface allowing air to pass through freely,” describes Wilson. The Airless Gen1 is now on sale.

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Images courtesy of Wilson