OEM Wilson Sporting Goods introduced a 3D printed Airless Prototype Basketball during the first round of the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest by Houston Rockets’ player, KJ Martin.

This is my first time participating in the NBA All-Star festivities, and to do so with Wilson, in such a memorable way on a big stage here in Utah is really special,” said Martin. “The game continues to evolve with each generation of players, and to have a brand partner continue to push the envelope through innovation is so important to the future of basketball.

The 3D printed ball which is likely the first of its kind in the sports industry, would be playable, and fit the performance specifications of a regulation basketball, including its weight, size and rebound (bounce). The ball does not need to be inflated because it is comprised of a black, see-through lattice with eight panel-like “lobes.”

This is not the first experience of Wilson with Additive Manufacturing. The manufacturer of high-performance sports equipment had previously collaborated with Azul 3D for the fabrication of 3D printed paddles.

Unlike the paddles that had required the use of Azul 3D’s proprietary high area rapid printing (HARPTM), this prototype basketball has been designed by the Wilson Labs team, at the brand’s Innovation Center in Chicago. General Lattice provided computational design services, DyeMansion provided color and finishing solutions, and EOS provided additive manufacturing from its technical center, which is powered by AT&T‘s high-speed fiber network.

We are so proud to unveil Wilson’s 3D Airless Prototype basketball as a physical manifestation of our continued commitment to sport innovation,” said Kevin Murphy, General Manager, Team Sports at Wilson. “This is just one example of how our team approaches the game and why we are the number one basketball company in the world today.”

And just like that, Basketball becomes the 16th sport discipline to leverage AM. Discover the others here.

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