What is Wilson’s new Airless basketball

Wilson's new Airless basketball, officially called the Airless Gen1, is a revolutionary product that has the potential to change the way the game is played.

How does it work

The Wilson Airless basketball achieves its unique bounce through a sophisticated 3D-printed lattice structure, meticulously designed to optimize performance. This intricate framework, combined with the exceptional characteristics of the specialized elastomeric polymer utilized in its construction, not only ensures consistent and reliable bounce but also enhances durability and grip on the court. This innovative design approach represents a fusion of cutting-edge materials science and precision engineering, setting a new standard for basketball technology and elevating the player experience to unprecedented levels of excellence.

Pros & Cons

  • Never goes flat: No more need to worry about your ball going flat! The Airless Gen1 is always ready to play, regardless of the conditions.
  • Durable: The 3D-printed construction is very durable and can withstand even the most aggressive play.
  • Consistent performance: The Airless Gen1 is designed to provide consistent performance, regardless of the altitude or temperature.
  • Environmentally friendly: The Airless Gen1 is made from recyclable materials, making it a more environmentally friendly option than traditional basketballs.
  • Price: The Airless Gen1 is currently very expensive, costing around $2,500.
  • Availability: Only a limited number of Airless Gen1 balls are currently available for purchase.
  • Performance: Some players have reported that the Airless Gen1 does not feel exactly like a traditional basketball.
  • It's an Indoor ball: The design of the ball makes it ideal for indoor play. The design of the ball will allow debris (pebbles) to enter the ball, which would affect performance.
"Rather than being inflated, the Airless Gen1 Basketball relies on a 3D-printed polymer lattice structure to replicate the bounce, flight, and feel of a traditional basketball. The form of the ball features 8 panel-like lobes and a familiar seam structure. Hexagonal holes across the surface allow air to pass through freely."

The holes will be a problem

The holes in the Wilson Airless basketball do present a potential issue for outdoor play. Here are some of the concerns:

  • Debris accumulation: As you mentioned, dirt, sand, pebbles, and other small objects can easily get stuck in the holes, especially when playing on outdoor courts. This can affect the ball's weight, balance, and overall feel, and it can also be difficult and time-consuming to remove the debris completely.
  • Performance impact: Depending on the size and amount of debris trapped in the holes, it could interfere with the ball's bounce and flight characteristics. Even small amounts of grit could potentially alter the consistency and predictability of its movement.
  • Maintenance challenges: While the Airless avoids the need for inflation, cleaning and maintaining it after outdoor use could be more demanding due to the need to remove debris from the holes. This could potentially require specialized tools or processes.
  • Durability concerns: While the 3D-printed structure is generally considered durable, repeated exposure to outdoor elements (sun, rain, harsh temperatures) could potentially affect the integrity of the material around the holes over time.
  • However, it's worth noting that Wilson has taken some steps to address these concerns:

  • Hole size: The holes are small enough to prevent fingers from entering but large enough to allow air and water to pass through freely.
  • Sealing: The ball is reportedly treated with a water-resistant sealant to minimize debris accumulation.
  • Cleaning instructions: Wilson provides specific cleaning instructions for the Airless ball, recommending compressed air and soft brushes for removing debris.

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