Spalding Zi/O Basketball Review

Hoops Fiend Rating: Spalding Zi/O Basketball

Bounce: 2/5

Grip: 3/5

Feel: 3/5

Durability: 3.5/5

Value: 2.5/5

Overall: 2.8/5


Main Features

  • The Spalding Zi/O Basketball is an official sized basketball that is designed for indoor/outdoor use
  • Features full ball pebbling that is typical of more premium indoor/outdoor basketballs
  • Has a foam backed design for improved feel and grip
  • The Spalding Zi/O has a traditional channel design that is neither too deep or wide


As Spalding has shown in the past, it is very capable of making some great basketball related products.  This has been specifically apparent with the Spalding Beast Portable Basketball System as well as the Spalding Replica Game Ball.  It is not a coincidence that Spalding has been the official basketball brand for the NBA for over three decades and counting.  Unfortunately, we do not feel that the Spalding Zi/O Basketball represents the quality that we have become accustomed to seeing from Spalding.  On first impression this ball does not appear to be lacking, and to be honest the grip of this ball is quite average.  As we were able to spend more time with this basketball, we realized the Zi/O leaves much to be desired.

Our first and biggest issue with this basketball is the consistency of its bounce.  The Spalding Zi/O Basketball is one of the least consistent performing basketballs we tested in terms of the bounce.  Some of the bounces from this ball are not “true” and come off the court in a weird fashion.  While the basketball we tested appeared to be symmetrical, there are several reviews on Amazon that indicate the Zi/O has a tendency to not be perfectly round.  This could be why our performed the way we would like, but to be honest we are not sure as it looks correctly portioned.  Overall, ball handling with this basketball becomes more of a challenge because of this lack of consistency.

The Spalding Zi/O Basketball is also a below average value.  It is typically priced in the high twenty dollar range, although we’ve seen it priced as high as $40 on Amazon.  While the high twenty dollar price point is not expensive there are  many different superior performing basketballs to choose from.  The Spalding Replica Game Ball and Under Armour 495 come to mind as basketballs that have similar qualities to the Spalding Zi/O but are far better basketballs.

Durability for this basketball appears to be average and should last anywhere from two to four years depending on how frequently it is used and what surface it is played on.  We feel that the durability and feel are probably the best two aspects of this basketball.


  • Spalding has a reputation of making quality basketball hoops and basketballs
  • Grip on this basketball is average and should suffice for most basketball players
  • If you are a basketball traditionalist and like traditional channel designs it will suite your preferences
  • The Spalding Zi/O has decent durability and should last for several years of use


  • The bounce on this basketball is one of the least consistent tested and can make ball handling a challenge
  • This basketball is not a great value as there are other basketballs in the same price range that we rate higher than the Spalding Zi/O
  • When dribbling this ball the sound produced sounds cheap compared to others tested

As we stated in the Spalding Replica Game Ball review, we are not sure why Spalding bothers making the Spalding Zi/O when they have a much better product with the replica game ball.  If you like the look and characteristics of the Spalding Zi/O we would recommend you take a closer look at the Under Armour 495 as it shares many similar features but performs better.  Realizing that there are many different basketballs to chose from we feel that many players would be better suited looking to buy a different basketball to use for their home.