Spalding TF-1000 Basketball Review

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If you have talked to someone who has played basketball for a long time and ask him about his favorite indoor basketball, the Spalding TF-1000 comes up more often than not. Times and minds change, and at some point in their history, Spalding decided to stop manufacturing the TF-1000.

While that paved the way for other brands to dominate the market, Spalding eventually brought back the TF-1000 and renamed it Spalding TF-1000 Classic. Spalding also manufactured a similar product called Spalding TF-1000 Legacy, which is identical to the Classic in many ways but has deeper channels for better ball control.

Regardless, aren’t we just glad that the TF-1000 is back? There are reasons why this product is approved by the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Association) and is adopted by the high school sports governing bodies in the states of California, Idaho, and others. Let’s take a closer look at the Spalding TF-1000 and see why it warrants your consideration.

Spalding TF-1000 Classic ZK Indoor Game Basketball, Brown, Size 7, 29.5"
  • Official size and weight: Size 7, 29.5 inch
  • Spalding ZK microfiber composite cover
  • Wide channel design
  • Nylon windings for excellent structural integrity
  • Rotationally-balanced butyl bladder for ultimate air retention

What are the Features of Spalding TF-1000 Basketball

What are the Features of Spalding TF-1000 Basketball?

The ZK Microfiber

The ZK Microfiber is a Spalding exclusive, so you won’t find that technology anywhere else. However, that could be a double-edged sword. The composite leather is durable, but it feels more like rubber than leather the first time you use it. It requires a break-in period before you can feel the perfect grip for dribbling and shooting.

That is not necessarily a bad thing since you want your basketball to last long and to feel better each time you use it, not the other way around. In that regard, the Spalding TF-1000’s exclusive ZK Microfiber technology delivers in a big way.

Channel Design

There is a reason why other basketballs come with a wide channel design. If you feel the Spalding TF-1000, this is an inherent feature that readily jumps out at you. It has noticeably wide channels to serve a couple of purposes. One, it allows you to handle the ball easier. This is helpful when you’re playing in a court with less than ideal visibility conditions, such as poor lighting. Second, the wide channels dispel sweat and moisture quickly. This makes the ball more comfortable to handle, and it won’t give you constant slippage problems.What are the Features of Spalding TF-1000 Basketball


This is where the Spalding TF 1000 Classic indoor basketball is in a league of its own. If you’re asking why Spalding redesigned the original SpaldingTF 1000 basketball, this is the very reason. They did it with improved durability in mind. This is all made possible with the nylon windings, fortifying the ball’s structure and making it extra firm and durable. Aside from durability, the 100% nylon windings also contribute to the consistency of the bounce and the grip.


A ball’s design is literally the last characteristic that you should pay attention to, but it’s still a factor. In our opinion, it has too much of a vintage look, and a touch of modern makeup couldn’t have hurt. Adding the word “classic” made it all worse. Even so, this is just a minor detail that you can overlook since it doesn’t take away anything from the ball’s performance.

Why Choose Spalding TF-1000 BasketballWhy Choose Spalding TF-1000 Basketball?

The original Spalding TF 1000 basketball was one of the best composite leather basketballs ever made, and that’s not an exaggeration. Well, the Spalding TF 1000 Classic indoor basketball is nothing like the original (except for the cushion under the cover, which feels exactly the same), but it does have excellent selling points.

The first selling point of the Spalding TF 1000 is its durability. This is important because if you can use the ball longer, the more time and money will be saved in the long run. Whether you are a serious basketball player or a recreational one, you won’t like the hassle of changing balls every now and then just because it has already worn out after a couple of months.

With its long-term reliability, the Spalding TF-1000 can be used occasionally as an outdoor basketball. Now, that’s not recommended, and it will eventually eat up into its life span, but if you don’t have a choice, this ball can hold its own even in an outdoor setting.

Choose Spalding TF-1000 BasketballAnother evidence of the Spalding TF-1000’s durability is that you will hardly see marks such as punctures or scratches on its cover. Some may not like that type of firmness for the cover, but that’s just a testament that this ball is built to last.

The second selling point of the Spalding TF-1000 basketball is the wide channel design. It is well-made, absorbent, and reduces instances of slipping even in less-than-favorable playing conditions. In our opinion, these two factors are the most significant determinants of why you should choose the Spalding TF-1000 basketball.

Is TF-1000 Basketball Worth the MoneyIs TF-1000 Basketball Worth the Money?

The TF-1000 classic basketball belongs to the middle end of the spectrum when it comes to pricing. It’s not a cheap low-end rubber basketball, nor is it a top of the line genuine leather basketball such as what the NBA uses.

Still, it’s worth a little fortune, and not everyone has the budget for it. But if ever you decide to get one, is it worth the money? Absolutely! The combination of durability and the fact that the ball’s exclusive ZK Microfiber technology allows it to perform better with age, then this is worth the investment. Some have reportedly used the ball for three years, and it felt like it’s brand new!

Things to Consider When Deciding To Get Spalding TF-1000 BasketballThings to Consider When Deciding To Get Spalding TF-1000 Basketball

Like any other product, the Spalding TF-1000 basketball is by no means a foolproof commodity. If you buy this thinking that it is like the original Spalding TF 1000 basketball, you will be disappointed. That’s not to say, though, that the Spalding TF-1000 basketball is not worth a purchase. It is, if you are specifically looking for things that match what this ball offers.

So what are some things to consider when deciding to get the Spalding TF-1000 basketball? If you want the ball to last years, to absorb sweat and moisture, and to guarantee tight grips every time you use it, then this ball is made for you. 

Now, here’s the deal: The Spalding TF 1000 basketball won’t feel like it’s playable right out of the box. It may feel a little too firm initially, that you will wonder if it is really made of rubber, instead of composite leather. Don’t fret. It comes with the territory. As we said, it’s nothing like the original TF-1000, which many swear has the best out-of-the-box feel compared to other basketballs, but its moisture-absorbing properties and durability is second to none.

You may have noted the two existing variants of the TF-1000 basketball– the Spalding TF 1000 “Classic” vs. Legacy.” Actually, it doesn’t have much of a difference outside of the price and the deeper channels. The deeper channels of the TF-1000 Legacy allow you to get a better grip of the basketball, but when it’s all said and done, it merely boils down to personal preference.

Spalding NBA Official Game Ball
  • Pro minded: For over 3 decades, Spalding has joined forces with the NBA to create the gold standard basketball
  • Horween leather: The full-grain leather construction turns butter-soft once broken in
  • Natural grip: Wide channels that provide a great grip that feels second nature
  • NBA Player’s choice: Official game ball of the NBA
  • Official size: Size 7, 29.5”

Wrapping Things Up: Spalding TF-1000 Basketball Review

Spalding is not a big player when it comes to composite leathers because they seem to fix their attention on cheap rubber basketballs and the top-of-the-line genuine leather balls used in the NBA. That said, if you were looking for the exact things the Spalding TF-1000 offers, it’s safe to say that Spalding got it right in their redesigned composite leather models.

The Spalding TF-1000 is made to last with the ZK Microfiber technology. It also has nylon windings that support the overall structure of the ball. According to several purchasers, there are hardly any scratches and punctures with the cover at all! One player who prefers using the TF-1000 over any brands said it was three years since he made the purchase, and the ball still feels brand new.

On the other hand, the strengths of the Spalding TF-1000 can also be a cause for complaint. Its hard cover may be too firm for your liking, which means you have to be patient and break the ball in before it feels what it’s supposed to feel. 

For some, it starts out feeling like a rubber basketball rather than one made of composite leather. Many who have loved the original TF 1000 basketball points these things out as major flaws for the redesigned basketball since the first installment has that game-ready feel straight out of the box. With these things considered, we still feel the Spalding TF-1000 basketball is a great purchase even if it is nothing like the original.

As for the redesigned TF-1000 basketball, it comes in two variants: The Spalding TF-1000 “Classic” and the Spalding TF-1000 “Legacy.” Now, in our opinion, the deeper channel design of the “Legacy” should not be worth that much, and it’s not like the “Classic” doesn’t have deep enough channels, to begin with. The choice will ultimately be up to you since some people like a basketball with a wider and deeper channel design, while some like it as it is. 

In conclusion, we do think the Spalding TF-1000 basketball is not as bad as some of the old heads made it up to be. It’s not going to cure your nostalgia for the original, but it is made to last and gives that superb grip with each use like no other basketball can.

Did you find this post helpful? Then you may also like our post on the best Spalding basketballs here.

More helpful basketball reviews here:

> The Best Indoor Basketballs

> The Best Outdoor Basketballs

Want to know how much does a basketball weigh? Check out our answers here.

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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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