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The National Basketball Association and Wilson Sporting Goods Co. announced a multiyear global partnership today that will make Wilson the official game ball of the NBA, Women's National Basketball Association, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League.
The partnership will tip off at different times by league. The NBA Wilson game ball will first be used during the league's 75th anniversary season in 2021-22. The other debuts will be during the 2022 WNBA season, 2021-22 NBA G League season, 2021 NBA 2K League season and the inaugural BAL season.
"This partnership with Wilson returns us to our roots as we plan for the future," said Salvatore LaRocca, NBA President, Global Partnerships. "We were partners for 37 seasons dating back to when Wilson manufactured the first official NBA basketballs in 1946, and we look forward to growing the game of basketball together."
Wilson will manufacture the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League game balls using the same materials, eight-panel configuration and performance specifications as current game balls and will also source the same leather currently used in the NBA. The NBA and its players will work jointly with Wilson to develop and approve the new game ball.
Chicago, USA-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., a subsidiary of Amer Sports Corporation, is the world's leading manufacturer of high performance sports equipment, apparel, and accessories.
Wilson is the provider of the Global Game Basketball of FIBA 3×3, the official Game Basketball of the National Basketball League of Australia, the official Game Basketball of the National Collegiate Athletic Association®, and the official Game Basketball of the Basketball Champions League in Europe.
The Company brings more than a century of innovation in basketball to every level of play. It uses player insights to develop products that push equipment innovation into new territories and empower athletes at every level to perform at their best.
The current official game ball is apparently made by Spalding.
The company traces its roots to the "Schwarzschild & Sulzberger" meatpacking company (later changed to "Sulzberger & Son's") based in New York, that operated meat packing slaughterhouses.
Sulzberger & Son's founded the "Ashland Manufacturing Company" in 1913 to use animal by-products from its slaughterhouses. It started out in 1914, making tennis racket strings, violin strings, and surgical sutures, but soon expanded into baseball shoes and tennis racquets.
In 1915, Thomas E. Wilson, former president of meatpacker Morris & Company, was appointed president by the controlling banks and renamed the company "Thomas E. Wilson Company."
The company acquired the Hetzinger Knitting Mills to produce athletic uniforms and a caddie bag company which produced golf balls but soon expanded into footballs and basketballs.
In 1918, Wilson left to concentrate on the beef-packing business, changing the Sulzberger company to Wilson & Co. (which would ultimately become Iowa Beef Packers and then be taken over by Tyson Foods). The packing company continued to have control in the company until 1967 when it was sold to Ling-Temco-Vought.
Under new president Lawrence Blaine Icely, it acquired the "Chicago Sporting Goods Company" and struck a deal to supply the Chicago Cubs. It also hired Arch Turner, a leather designer who would design the leather football.
In 1922, it introduced the Ray Schalk catcher's mitt which later became the standard. It worked with Knute Rockne to introduce the double-lined leather football and first valve football and the first waist-line football pants with pads.
In 1925, it was renamed "Wilson-Western Sporting Goods" following a distribution agreement with "Western Sporting Goods."
After Rockne's death, the company focused on golf, introducing the R-90, a sand wedge golf club inspired by Gene Sarazen's victory in the 1932 British Open.
In 1931, it renamed itself Wilson Sporting Goods Company. During World War II it introduced the Wilson Duke football, featuring high-quality leather, ends that were hand-sewn, lock-stitch seams, and triple lining, which was adopted as the official ball of the National Football League.
Horween Leather Company has supplied Wilson with pebbled cowhide since 1941 for use in the manufacture of footballs and basketballs. Wilson is Horween Leather Company's largest customer.
Wilson American football signed by the Green Bay Packers in 1975. Wilson became official supplier of the NFL in 1941
In 1941, Wilson became official provider of game balls for the National Football League (American football), a partnership that continues to this day.
In 1964, it acquired Wonder Products Company, which made toys and custom-molded items. It transformed the custom-mold section to make protective equipment in football and baseball, such as face masks for football helmets and leg guards for baseball catchers.
In 1967, the company was acquired by Ling-Temco-Vought. Only three years later, PepsiCo became new Wilson's owner. In those days, the company manufactured and commercialized the official balls of the National Basketball Association and National Football League, and provided most of the uniforms of teams in Major League Baseball and the United States Summer Olympics teams.
In 1985, Wilson was acquired by Westray Capital Corporation through subsidiary WSGC Holdings. In 1989, WSGC merged with Bogey Acquisitions Company, which is affiliated with the Finnish group Amer Sports.
Bored by the quarantine? Map out Wilson's ownership history.
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