Football vs. Basketball Size: What’s the Difference

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Basketball and football are two of the most popular sports in the world. And it’s interesting to see the similarities between the two sports. 

Both sports require physical skill and endurance, as players must be able to run for extended periods. In addition, both need tactics and strategy, as players must make split-second decisions to succeed. 

Both sports also involve a lot of teamwork, which is essential for winning a game.

So, it’s not surprising to learn that the balls used for basketball and football also have a shared history.

History of Basketball BallHistory of Basketball Ball

The first purpose-built basketballs were made of a rubber bladder and covered with leather. This design was introduced by manufacturer A.G Spalding in 1894 and is still used today to make authentic basketballs.

However, the original ball used in the first-ever basketball game overseen by James Naismith wasn’t precisely the exact ball we use today. Instead, it was a football ball.

Football has almost three decades of a head start as it was invented in 1863, while basketball wasn’t invented until 1891. And it was the ball that could be dribbled and bounced that Naismith chose to use for the first basketball game.

Today, dedicated basketballs are made from synthetic materials designed to provide players with an improved grip and better accuracy. Although football balls are now made from different materials, they still tend to use a traditional stitched design, ensuring that the ball is durable and easier to control.

History of Football BallHistory of Football Ball

The original football balls were far more straightforward than the modern versions. They were traditionally made from stitched-up pig bladders and covered in leather. And because of the irregular shape, it was challenging to predict where the ball would go as it rolled and bounced off the ground.

Only in 1855, when Charles Goodyear invented the vulcanized ball, the football ball began to take on a more spherical shape. This was thanks to Goodyear’s process of applying heat and pressure to rubber to create a more durable material. Since then, football balls have been further improved with the introduction of synthetic materials, which provide better control and accuracy when kicking the ball.

Today, football balls are made of synthetic materials like polyurethane or vinyl leather, while basketballs use rubber or composite leather. The design of the ball has also evolved over time, with modern football balls featuring hexagonal panels that create a more aerodynamic shape as it moves through the air.

What Sport is More Dangerous: Football or Basketball?Football Ball and Basketball Comparison

History isn’t the only thing shared between football and basketball; it also shares some of the concepts of the game. Both sports have a shared set of skills, from shooting goals to dribbling.


The modern football ball often features hexagonal panels, which create an aerodynamic shape, while basketballs are made with synthetic materials like rubber or composite leather. The two sports also share a common history, as the basketballs we use today were derived from football balls used in the early days of basketball.

The two world sports share the concept of scoring by putting the ball inside a target. This can be seen in basketball with the hoop and football with the goal, both games are based around getting the ball inside a target.


The main difference between a football ball and a basketball is its size and shape. Footballs are smaller than basketballs as they need to be easier to control with the feet and be more aerodynamic when kicked.

In addition, footballs are typically made of a stitched material designed to provide players with better control and increased durability. On the other hand, basketballs are larger and made from rubber or synthetic leather materials to provide improved grip for dribbling and shooting.

While modern football and basketball balls look incredibly different, it is interesting to note that they still share some commonalities, such as design concepts and materials used.

Basketball Sizes and Football Ball Sizes

While football and basketball share some concepts, they differ significantly in terms of ball dimensions.

Basketball sizes:

  • Size 7 – 29.5 cm for men and boys 15 years old and up
  • Size 6 – 28.5 cm for boys 12 – 14 years old and for women and girls 12 years old and up
  • Size 5 27.5 cm for boys and girls 9 – 11 years old
  • Size 4 – 25.5 cm for boys and girls 5 – 8 years old

Football ball sizes

  • Size 5 – 27.5 cm for 12 years old and up
  • Size 4 – 25.5 cm for 12 years and younger

Basketball Weight vs. Football Weight

Because of the size difference, there is a weight difference as well.

Basketball weights

  • Size 7 – 580–620g
  • Size 6 – 510–550g
  • Size 5 – 465–495g
  • Size 4 – 400g

Football ball weights

  • Size 5 – 410–450g
  • Size 4 – 340-350g

Features of Basketball vs. Football BallFeatures of Basketball vs. Football Ball

Basketball balls are meant to be more grippy than football balls. This is because when playing basketball, you need to be able to dribble and shoot the ball easily. As such, they are typically made of rubber or synthetic material, providing a better grip than the stitched leather of a football ball.

Additionally, basketballs feature deep channels along the surface, which also help provide players with more control over the ball.

On the other hand, football balls are designed to be kicked, and as such, they typically feature a stitched leather material which provides more accuracy when kicking the ball. The leather is also designed to provide increased durability and better control over the ball.

The surface of a football ball is also designed to travel well in the air for long distances, thanks to its spherically shaped design and the shapes that line its surface.

Wrapping Things Up: Football vs. Basketball Size: What’s the Difference?

To summarize, football and basketball are two world sports that share some similar traits. However, the two sports differ in terms of ball size, weight, and features.

Football balls are smaller, lighter, and made from stitched leather material, while basketballs feature deep channels along their surface and are typically made from rubber or synthetic material for improved grip.

Football balls are also designed to travel well in the air for long distances, while basketballs provide better control on the court. 

Ultimately, both sports provide their own unique challenges and require a different skill set from players depending on what sport they are playing.

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.


Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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