Basketball Sizes Chart for Youth & Adults

Need a youth basketball? You may be confused by all the different basketball sizes as you browse the store shelves. 

Before you purchase a ball, you definitely need to consider which size is appropriate for your player. When players use a ball that's too heavy or too large for their hands they're likely to develop bad habits in order to compensate. 

Basketballs come in a variety of sizes, weights, and materials. Check out the chart below for the recommended and official basketball sizes for men, women, and youth players.

Recommended basketball sizes

Size 7 Official regulation size

29.5-30" circumference, weighs 20-22

NBA, NCAA men, HS boys, Boys 12+ yrs

Buy size 7 basketballs at Amazon

Size 6Intermediate size

28.5-29" circumference, weighs 18-20 oz

WNBA, NCAA women, HS girls, Youth 8-12 yrs

Buy size 6 basketballs at Amazon

Size 5 - Standard Youth size

27-27.5" circumference, weighs 17 oz

Youth 9-11 yrs

Buy size 5 basketballs at Amazon

Size 4 - Youth size

25.5" circumference, weighs 14 oz

Youth 5-8 yrs

Buy size 4 basketballs at Amazon

Size 3 - Mini size

22" circumference, weighs 10 oz

Youth 4-8 yrs

Buy size 3 basketballs at Amazon

Next to size, another important thing to consider about basketballs is where the ball is likely to get the most use.

Will it be used exclusively on an indoor court? An outdoor court? Or both?

The answer to these questions determine what type of material needs to be used to construct the ball. The following links will provide information to help you choose the right ball for you:

Learn about basketballs: Leather vs. Composite vs. Rubber

Spalding basketballs

Basketball equipment: Balls, hoops, nets, training aids & more!

Basketball sizes have changed over the years

We were starting the 1984-85 basketball season. I'll never forget it.

The NCAA ruled that the size of basketball used in collegiate men's and women's competition would change.

I was halfway through my college career and, up until that time, I had played with a standard-size basketball that I thought had been around forever...

vintage basketballs

Did you know that the very first basketballs were really soccer balls?

That's right.

Basketballs didn't come on the scene until a couple years after the game was invented when a bicycle manufacturing company started making them.

The first balls were pretty crude. They were made of four panels of cowhide stitched together with an opening in the side to insert a rubber bladder. The bladder was inflated, the opening was laced up with rawhide strips, and there you have it...

The first official basketball!

This new ball measured 30-32" in circumference which was quite a bit larger than the soccer balls players had been using. And larger than the official size basketball we use today.

In the early years, it was a challenge to produce a perfectly round ball, and as a result, the sizes and shapes were slightly different with each one. Few basketballs actually lasted through an entire game without becoming completely lopsided and deformed.

Imagine trying to dribble and shoot!

When the laces would hit the rim the balls would bounce in crazy directions. And there was no guarantee if you dribbled the ball that it would actually return to your hand.

Today, we use "molded" basketballs instead of laced up ones that are much more uniform in shape and dependable in performance.

Learn more fun facts about basketball history.

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