Wilson has been in the game for over a century. They started in 1914 as a meatpacking business before they began producing sports equipment. Their first products were baseball shoes and tennis racquet strings. Since then, they have grown to be a significant player in the industry.
Their latest innovation is the Wilson Wave Phenom basketball with plenty of new features to enhance gameplay. If you’re hunting for a new ball for outdoor games, check out this Wilson Wave Phenom basketball review.
Review: Wilson Wave Phenom Basketball
Designed for outdoor play, the Wilson Wave Phenom has several unique features you won't find in other basketballs. Wilson created this ball with asphalt courts in mind, where things can get wet and gritty.
The ball's rubber channels look like characteristic black basketball channels. On closer inspection, Wilson tweaked them a bit to make the ball easier to grip. The channels are wide enough to fit the width of a finger. They're also pebbled, which gives them a rougher texture.
Between those channels, you'll find what Wilson calls its Wave Triple Threat Technology. Each section of the ball has three additional "waves" on its surface. They run parallel to the channels and enhance grip even more.
Below is a shortlist of the features that add value to this basketball.
The pebbled channels are much easier to hang onto than the smooth channels found on other balls. That's a plus for players with smaller hands and an advantage when the ball gets wet. It's the same pebbled exterior that covers the rest of the ball but slightly recessed.
Extra groves, or waves, in the Wilson Wave Phenom basketball aid quite a bit with grip, no matter which way you hold it. They do alter bounce slightly but not enough to cause any real issues.
This ball holds air well. It can stay inflated for months without the need to top up or re-inflate. That's a lot harder with an outdoor ball, considering hazards like hot asphalt, rocks, and bad weather.
The rubber cover is durable, handling even rough asphalt courts with ease. It's got the extra bounce that players expect from an outdoor ball. It holds up, even if accidentally left outside between games.
Premium core design keeps the ball from getting warped or stretched, no matter how hard you dribble down the court. The wave design likely helps out in this department, too, providing extra rigidity.
Here are a few more things to consider when thinking about picking up a Wilson Wave Phenom.
The waves provide an extra grip that's almost too good. After using a Wilson Wave, it can be hard to switch back to a smoother ball. It might be a good idea for new players to practice the basics with a standard basketball before moving on to the Wave series.
Since this ball is designed for outdoor play, it doesn't carry over as well into an indoor court. A basketball explicitly designed for indoor games is a better option. That said, the Wilson Wave Phenom can still function as an indoor ball, except for a little extra bounce.
Overall, the waves don't affect gameplay as much as expected. The only issue is that sometimes the rebound comes off a little wonky. If you're super competitive and like your bounce "just so”, you may prefer to forgo the wavy construction.
Basketball Buying Guide
If you're serious about your game, you'll want to be especially picky when it comes to buying a basketball. Even if you're a casual player, you'll find that picking the right ball for you will enhance your enjoyment of the sport.
Basketballs come in different sizes. Where that matters most is getting a grip on the ball. The three most common sizes are size 5, size 6, and size 7. Size 5 is the smallest and the best size for kids under 9 years old. Women's leagues often use size 6 balls. Men's leagues mostly use size 7 balls.
Material is essential because it affects grip and durability. Balls made from leather are easier to grip but have to stay indoors. If you want to play outdoors, go for a rubber ball. Most professional teams go with synthetics that are suitable indoors and out.
A few types of training balls are available. Playing with a weighted ball will help you build arm strength. Balls can have markers showing the best hand placement for beginners. There are even tech balls that sync with your phone to provide feedback on your game.
Ultimately, the best ball for you is one you enjoy playing with. This Wilson Wave Phenom basketball review should give you a solid place to start. Wilson's got a lot of options when it comes to basketball designs. The Wilson Wave Phenom is a unique ball that both experienced and beginner players can appreciate.