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Lifetime 71281 In Ground Basketball Hoop Review

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Lifetime 71281 In-Ground Basketball Hoop

Best Basketball Hoops Rating

Lifetime 71281 In Ground Basketball Hoop:  7.5/10

Main Features

  • 52″ shatter proof backboard made of polycarbonate material that will protect it from breaking
  • Limited 5 year warranty provided by the manufacturer allows you to buy with confidence
  • Power lift height adjustment system adjusts the height of the basketball hoop from 7.5 feet to 10 feet with single arm mechanism
  • Spring loaded breakaway rim allows for give during shots and light dunking

Lifetime Brand

We’ve done more reviews of Lifetime basketball hoops than any other brand of basketball manufacturer, and for good reason.  Lifetime is one of the most popular basketball manufacturers around today.

Lifetime makes many models, from cheap portable systems to high-end in-ground basketball units that can handle rim rocking slams.  Every Lifetime hoop is built in the USA and comes with a five year warranty providing their customers with great service and support.

Lifetime 71281: Full Review


The backboard on the Lifetime 71281 In-Ground Basketball Hoop is 52 inches measured diagonally.  This is a medium sized backboard for a recreational in-ground basketball hoop and will meet the needs of most families.  It is steel framed, which enhances the stability and durability of the backboard.

Low cost home hoops like the Lifetime 71281 have a backboard that is made of a polycarbonate material.  This makes the backboard durable and unlikely to break or shatter.  However,  polycarbonate backboards are not very responsive and do not perform particularly well during use.

Height Adjustment

The Lifetime 71281 In-Ground Basketball Hoop features the Power Lift Height Adjustment mechanism, which makes adjusting the height of this basketball system a breeze.  To adjust the height from the 7.5-10 feet range you simply grip the Power Lift system and lift up to adjust the height down or pull down to lift the height of the hoop higher.  The leverage created by the Power Lift System makes it easy so you don’t need to be He-man to get the job done.


Many recreational Lifetime basketball hoops such as the 71281 have an exposed spring breakaway rim setup.  This does allow for some light dunking, but we do not recommend hanging on the rim as you could cause damage to the system over time.

Exposed spring breakaway rims have springs that may rust over time due to being exposed to the elements.

Support Pole

Most low-end in-ground basketball hoops have a three-piece support pole and the Lifetime 71281 is no exception.  It has a three-piece rounded support pole with powder coating to help protect it from rusting.

Three-piece support poles are good for recreational use but will allow for more vibration than more expensive two and one piece support pole designs.

What We Like About The Lifetime 71281 In-Ground Basketball Hoop

  • Power Lift Height Adjustment System makes adjusting the hoop’s height easy for all ages
  • At under $300, this basketball hoop is a great value for the features included
  • Backboard is a relatively good size at 52 inches and has a steel frame to add stability
  • Made in the USA and comes with a five year warranty
  • In-ground basketball hoops offer greater stability and durability than portable units

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • The exposed spring on the breakaway rim is susceptible to rust and is not designed to handle serious dunking
  • Polycarbonate backboard does not perform well and is not particularly responsive
  • Three-piece support pole allows for extra vibrations during shots

The value basketball hoop market is dominated by Lifetime.  Lifetime makes a great product for a low price that simply is hard to beat.  The Lifetime 7182 In-Ground Basketball Hoop is an example of this with its Power Lift Height Adjustment feature and breakaway rim.

If you are truly serious about the game of basketball and don’t just want something to shoot a few baskets on then we suggest you spend a few more bucks on a better basketball hoop.  The Lifetime 71281 is best suited for families who are just looking for a fun activity to do together.

Competitors to the Lifetime 71281 that are worth looking into include the Lifetime 71525 and Spalding 60 Inch In-Ground Basketball Hoop.


Sportcraft 2-Player Arcade Basketball Game Review

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Last year I reviewed the Shaq Cyber Hoop Shot on  This arcade basketball game from Sportcraft featured an Iphone App that allowed players to compete with one another across the globe.  This year I’m taking a closer look at the newer 2-Player Sportcraft Arcade Basketball Hoop Game.

In this review I will breakdown the assembly process, features, and game-modes that come with this basketball arcade system.

If you want to see more about the 2-Player Sportcraft Arcade Basketball Game check out the video review below:


The 2-Player Sportcraft Basketball Arcade System is the easiest full-size basketball arcade system to assemble that I’ve reviewed.  You don’t need any tools or screws to put this system together.  In fact, the 2-Player Sportcraft Basketball Arcade System uses pins that click together so that each piece is easily attached.  You can see these pins in the picture below.

The Sportcraft 2-Player arcade basketball hoop uses pins to make assembly a breeze

Sportcraft claims that it only takes 10 minutes to put this system together.  That may be true for someone who is familiar with the system, but for me it took around 20-25 minutes.  Either way, compared to the Shaq Cyber Hoop Shot, which took me 2 hours, this was lightening fast.

The biggest issue I had with assembly was making sure that I didn’t assemble parts backwards, which happened on a couple occasions.  Thankfully, because of the easy to use pins fixing my errors was painless and didn’t cost me much time.

Features of the Sportcraft 2-Player Basketball Arcade System

Rim, backboard, and scoreboard of the Sportcraft 2-Player Arcade Basketball Hoop

The size of this arcade basketball system is noteworthy.  The dimensions are 80″X 46″X 81.5″. For this basketball arcade system to fit in your room you’ll need a ceiling that is at least seven feet tall.  Otherwise you risk the top of the system hitting your ceiling.

With the Sportcraft 2-Player Arcade Basketball System comes two steel rims that are basic, but get the job done.  Last year’s Shaq Cyber Hoop Shot rims had poor welding that let to the rims breaking over time.  Hopefully, Sportcraft has fixed this issue.  Time will tell, and I’ll keep you updated on how the rims hold up after more use.

Between the two rims is a digital scoreboard that keeps track of your score and the time left.  There are a set of buttons that hook to the frame of the hoop that allow you to turn on the basketball system, select the game mode, time, and how many players.

Baskets are counted using plastic levers that are triggered when the ball goes through the hoop.  These are pretty accurate, but may not count a basket if two balls go through the hoop one right after the other.  Overall, it certainly works for the purpose of recreation.

The backboard is a simply plywood materials and nothing special.  But it does a fine job to bounce the basketballs off the backboard and into the hoop with velocity.

The scoreboard is well lit so that you can see your scores and the time left.

This arcade basketball system comes with 4 mini basketballs

Game Modes

The Sportcraft 2-Player Arcade Basketball System comes with eight different game modes included.  To be honest I have not played all of them because I have not had time, but I will explain each of them in detail.

  1. Beat the Clock– Standard arcade basketball game where you try to score as many points as possible in a specific timeframe.  Buckets are worth 3 points in the last 10 seconds.
  2. Beat the Clock,  3 Point Version– Same as Beat the Clock, but each bucket is worth 3 points throughout.
  3. Battle Back– This game requires 2 players.  Basically each time you make a basket, your opponent loses points.  So if you score you get 2 points and you opponents gets -2.  First player to 10 points wins.
  4. HORSE– The same game that millions grew up playing in their driveways.
  5. Check Point– Players have to score a certain number of points in a specific time to continue playing.  There are 4 levels with ascending point targets (24, 52, 68, and 86).
  6. Around the World– Allows you to shoot from 5 different areas and will stop the clock once 10 points are made.  The players who makes the 5 shots in the shortest amount of time wins.
  7. Left and Right– Alternate between the home and visit baskets and score as many points as possible in a specific time.
  8. One to One– Each player will play a round individually and the player with the highest point total wins.


This arcade basketball system is very affordable and priced in the $105 range.  Compared to other similar arcade basketball systems, such as the Lifetime Double Shot, this price is a steal.  Because of this if you are on a tighter budget then be sure to consider the Sportcraft 2-Player Arcade Basketball System.


What I Like About The Sportcraft 2-Player Basketball Arcade System

  1. The easiest arcade basketball system to assemble that I’ve ever reviewed
  2. At around $105 it is very affordable compared to similar basketball arcade systems
  3. Allows you to play certain game modes with up to 4 players
  4. Comes with 8 different game modes

What Could Be Better

  1. I wish this arcade basketball hoop was compatible with the Cyber Hoop Shot App which makes playing a lot more fun and interactive
  2. Sometimes the scoreboard does not work properly (malfunctions)

Lifetime 73650 Backboard and Rim Combo Kit Review

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Best Basketball Hoops Rating

Lifetime 73650 Backboard and Rim Combo Rating:   6.2/10

Main Features

  • Compatible with most Lifetime basketball systems as a functional hoop replacement
  • Can be mounted to a pole or wall using the universal mounting kit
  • One of the most affordable basketball hoop options on the market
  • Comes with a five year limited warranty included
  • 44 Inch shatterproof backboard is great for recreational games and families

Back in the day most recreational basketball hoops were mounted to the garage.  Nowadays it is hard to even find a hoop for sale that can be mounted in this way.  Thankfully Lifetime makes the Lifetime 73650 backboard and rim combo kit for those who still prefer a wall mounted hoop.

A Great Hoop for Any Budget

The Lifetime 73650 is also perfect for those who are on a tight budget.  At under one hundred dollars, this is a great choice for any family who simply wants to experience the game of basketball in the convenience of their own home.

The backboard on the Lifetime 71650 is 44 inches and made from a combination of both acrylic and polycarbonate components.  There certainly is some vibration with this backboard due to its cheaper materials, but gets the job done if you just want to shoot baskets.

The rim is pretty nice considering the affordable price point of the Lifetime 73650.  It comes with two exposed springs to offer some protection from dunks.  Although the spring is helpful we do not recommend dunking on this basketball hoop as it is not designed to take heavy punishment.

One downside to the Lifetime 73650 is that it does not come with a mounting bracket.  If you need a mounting bracket you will need to buy on separately, which can be found here.  While we know not including the mounting bracket makes the hoop cheaper, we feel that Lifetime should just include this piece as it is important for most people who buy this hoop.

Every Lifetime basketball hoop is made in the USA, which offers an extra “feel good” bonus to your purchase.  Lifetime is a great company and they make solid products all around.  You can see more of our Lifetime basketball hoop reviews here.

What We Like About This Hoop

  • One of the few wall mount recreational basketball hoops that are for sale today
  • At its price, the Lifetime 73650 is very affordable for families
  • Backboard is super durable and unlikely to break even with rough play
  • Double spring rim is pretty nice for this basketball hoop

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • Should come with the mounting bracket included to keep buyers from having to make two purchases
  • 44 inch backboard is very small and will limit bank shot opportunities

For those who want a hoop to mount to their garage or another wall without spending a fortune, then the Lifetime 73650 is for you.  While it is not perfect, it is priced right and works very well for families and others just looking to shoot some hoops.

If you would like to check out another wall mount basketball hoop then we recommend checking out the Spalding 54-Inch Backboard and Rim Combo.


5 Best Outdoor Basketballs for 2019

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If you play a lot of basketball outside during the warm months of the year then you know how much a crappy outdoor basketball can take away from a shooting session.  Cheap outdoor basketballs tend to be made of rubber which is hard material when inflated.  Rubber basketballs also have a tendency to warp over time, which leads to off center bounces.

With summer fast approaching we’ve decided to do some research and give you our picks for the five best outdoor basketballs. This way when you go to the courts you know you’ve got one of the best outdoor basketballs that money can buy.

Five Best Outdoor Basketballs

Each of the basketballs listed below are technically categorized as indoor/outdoor basketballs.  For this article any basketball that can be used outdoors is considered an outdoor basketball.


Spalding Replica Game Basketball

At the top of our list of the five best outdoor basketball is the Spalding Replica Game Basketball.  This basketball has received a lot of positive feedback from other review sites as well, and there are plenty of reasons why this basketball is considered one of the best.

First off, the feel of the Spalding Replica is different than any other indoor/outdoor basketball that we’ve used.  It is softer and more closely mimics the feel of an indoor basketball.

Due to the extra soft cover of the Spalding Replica the feel of this basketball exceeds many other outdoor basketballs.  Also of note is that the Spalding Replica has a very consistent bounce, which is another characteristic not seen in other outdoor basketballs.

Coming in at a price of around $30, the Spalding Replica Game Basketball is affordable.  With this combination of quality and affordability, the Spalding Replica Game Basketball finds itself as one of the best outdoor basketballs that one can buy.


  • Affordable for almost any budget
  • The softest cover of any outdoor basketball that we’ve tested
  • Bounce performance is consistent without many “off” bounces


  • Softer cover may mean that this basketball will scuff faster than outdoor basketballs with a tougher cover


Under Armour 495

Under Armour is the new kid on the block when it comes to basketballs and basketball apparel.  UA really hit the scene when Steph Curry ascended into basketball superstardom while wearing Under Armour sneakers.

Within the last few years Under Armour has unveiled several basketballs that are meant for indoor and outdoor use.

The best of the bunch when it comes to Under Armour basketballs is the UA 495 with “Gripskin”.

While we don’t know much about gripskin, we can say that the Under Armour 495 performs well.  It does seem to be quite similar to many Spalding basketballs in terms of the feel of the cover.

The channel design of the UA 495 is fairly traditional.  They are not too deep or wide, which will probably make this outdoor basketball better for basketball purists.

The price of the UA 495 is similar to the Spalding Replica Game Basketball.  While we prefer the Spalding Replica, if you are a fan of Under Armour, or do not care for Spalding products then the 495 will likely be your best choice.


  • Price point is affordable at around $30
  • Channel design is traditional which we prefer


  • Still no idea what “Gripskin” is but the cover is pretty standard


Spalding TF-500 

My favorite basketball growing up was the old Spalding TF-1000 indoor basketball.  The composite cover on the ball was the softest and it felt great in my hands.

Spalding has continued the tradition of the TF line of basketballs with the indoor/outdoor Spalding TF-500.  This basketball brings the quality of the TF-1000 to the playground.

Compared to the TF-1000, the TF-500 has a more durable cover.  This also means that the cover on the TF-500 is not as soft as the one found on the TF-1000.

Having used this basketball recently I can say with confidence that it performs very well.  The Spalding TF-500 bounces consistently and feels good in your hands.


  • Carries on the tradition of the Spalding TF line of basketballs
  • Probably the best outdoor basketball in terms of the balance between durability and feel


  • No obvious cons or weaknesses for the Spalding TF-500


Baden Contender Basketball

Baden may be a name that you are not familiar with, but you should be.  Baden makes some really good basketballs that are worth you consideration if you are looking to buy a new outdoor basketball.

Their Baden Contender basketball makes our list due to several factors.  First, the cover of this basketball is consistent and durable.  It may not be the softest, but the cover is made from high quality composite and will last.

The bladder of the Contender is also a strength as this basketball holds air well and will not give any weird bounces.  This is one of the most consistent performing outdoor basketballs that can be purchased.

We also like that the air valve for the Contender is recessed so that only the actual hole is visible.  This works to eliminate any weird bounces that can sometimes happen when the ball valve hits the ground during a dribble.


  • The unique valve system means that you won’t get any weird bounces if the air valve hits the ground during a dribble
  • All around consistent performance


  • Some users say the cover feels a bit too much like rubber


Wilson Wave Basketball

Want an outdoor basketball with maximum grip?  Then look no further than the Wilson Wave.  This basketball actually has extra grip channels that run the entire cover of the basketball.  Combine this with deep and extra wide channels and you have an outdoor basketball unlike any other.

I must say that playing with the Wilson Wave is unlike any basketball I’ve experienced.

These extra channels can also make shooting with increased rotation easier.

On the flip side, using the Wilson Wave does take some getting used to as it just feels different compared to other basketballs.  Personally, I prefer a more traditional channel design to the radically numerous and wide channels found on the Wilson Wave.


  • The Wilson Wave has the best grip out of all the best outdoor basketballs on this list
  • Cover has good durability and feel
  • May get more rotation on shots


  • The channel design of the Wilson Wave is polarizing.  Some will like this basketball a lot while others will be turned off by the extra channels.


Adidas All-Court Basketball

The final basketball to make our list is the Adidas All-Court Basketball.

While Adidas does make basketball shoes and apparel, many do not even know that Adidas makes a basketball.  But they do, and it is actually a pretty darn good one.

The All-Court features a cover that is soft but durable.  You will be able to get a good feel for this basketball and most will like how it performs.

The only downside to the Adidas All-Court is that it does have some off center bounces.  While rare, it can still effect your dribbling.



  • Quality cover and above average feel
  • Traditional channel design that speaks to the philosophy of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”


  • Does get some rare off center bounces that can impact your ability to effectively dribble the basketball


Tips For Making Your Outdoor Basketball Last

When buying an outdoor basketball, you can expect that it won’t last as long as a properly cared for indoor basketball. This is because outdoor basketballs are put through a lot more beatings due to being used on asphalt, cement, and even gravel.

But just because you will use your outdoor basketball on many different surfaces doesn’t mean that it can’t last for several years with a few simple steps to prolong your basketball’s life.


1. Avoid Gravel If You Can

When using an outdoor basketball it is best to play on asphalt or cement.

Sure, outdoor basketballs can be used on gravel, but we would recommend avoiding doing so if possible.  Gravel is a very uneven and rough surface which can warp the badder of a basketball if consistently used on this surface.

Aim to use your outdoor basketball on either cement or asphalt when outdoors.


2. Rinse the Basketball After Each Use

When using a basketball outdoors things like little pebbles and other debris can easily get stuck in the channels.  By rinsing the basketball off after use it ensures that this debris is washed away and doesn’t create permanent damage to the ball.


3. Keep The Basketball Inflated

There is nothing more damaging to a basketball than allowing it to go flat repeatedly.  This puts strain on the bladder of the basketball and leads to warping.  Be sure to inflate your basketball regularly so that you can avoid these complications.

Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball System Review

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Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop

Spalding Hybrid Portable Hoop Rating:

Assembly         7.0/10

Rim                    8.0/10

Backboard       8.5/10

Fill Base             10/10

Support Pole      7/10

Overall                 8.5/10



Being that I review basketballs, basketball hoops, and other basketball-related products for a living it goes without saying that I take the game seriously.  So, when it was time for me to pick up a basketball hoop for my home you can bet I did a fair amount of research.

At the end of the day I ended up buying the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop.  In this review I am going to give you insights on why I picked the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop, tips for installation, and my commentary on how this basketball system performs.

Why The Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball System?

Given that I review and research basketball hoops regularly it is fair to ask why I went with this hoop.  Going into the buying process I knew I wanted a portable basketball hoop.  That alone eliminated all the in-ground basketball hoops that are available for sale.

Next was deciding which portable basketball hoop was right for me and my needs.  I went about checking out some portable basketball hoops at the local sports store and at the end of the day it came down to either the Silverback NXT and the Spalding Hybrid.  I went with the Spalding because the reviews of those who purchased were exceedingly positive (except for one purchaser), and the Spalding Hybrid has more bulk and heavy-duty features when compared to the NXT.

Lastly, I like the idea of the hybrid base.  While it may seem like a gimmick at first, I’ve read many stories of hoop owners who have bases that have leaked over time basically making the hoop useless.  With the hybrid base I can always add as much sand as I need even if a leak develops in the future.

The calm before the storm

Assembling the Spalding Hybrid Basketball Hoop

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Initial Thoughts

I received my Spalding Hybrid Basketball Hoop via home delivery and the guys delivering were nice enough to place the hoop in my garage so that I could begin the assembly process.

When I initially pulled out all the parts and materials I was a bit overwhelmed.  Admittedly, I am not the most handy individual, but have improved over the last few years.

Either Get Help or Clone Yourself

Assembly was certainly time consuming but not overly difficult.  I will say that you will need at least two people to assemble this hoop.  There were probably 3-5 instances where I needed the extra help during assembly, so for the most part you can do it on your own, but some steps will be impossible without the extra hands.

Some of these steps where extra help will be needed include when you fit the three support pole pieces to each other, attaching the backboard to the support braces, and when you install the screw jack lift system.

Time Frame

I do not have an exact time frame for how long the Spalding Hybrid Portable Hoop takes to assemble because I did it over the course of two days.  However, I’d say that if you are reasonably handy like me (certainly not exceptional) and don’t make some of the boneheaded mistakes I made, then you should be hooping in no more than four hours.

Main Assembly Tips

Having gone through the assembly process with the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball System I have a few tips to use to make your assembly process as painless as possible.

  1. As I mentioned above plan to have at least one extra person available for those assembly steps that require more help
    1. This is especially true when you connect the three support pole pieces, you only have one shot to get these right
  2. The rim is actually held up by the breakaway spring, which is not clearly shown in the directions.  I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to attach the rim to the backboard before my wife clued me in to how it actually worked
  3. You will need a wrench set and hammer to assemble this hoop, if you don’t have these get them or consider hiring a professional to assemble the hoop for you
  4. Once you’ve got the backboard attached be sure to place some sort of weight into the base where the sand will eventually go to avoid the chance of tipping the hoop while you are assembling
  5. Make sure to read the directions for securing the bolts.  On several assembly steps you do not want to tighten the bolts completely.
  6. My experience was that the glossary of bolts, nuts, and washers was not completely accurate in terms of both numbers of each item listed and pictures.  Do your best to use the right bolts.  It gets easier to identify the correct items as you go along.
    1. Side note: it appears that Spalding uses some generic pages in their manual which causes this issue.  I’d like to see them create completely custom assembly manuals for each hoop model they sell.
Spalding Hybrid Basketball Hoop

Fully assembled Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop

Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball System Performance Review

Now that I’ve gone over the good and bad points of the assembly process let’s get into the meat of this review.  This includes how the Spalding Hybrid performs, both good and bad.  I’ve used the hoop several times now and feel confident that I can offer anyone considering buying this hoop a good idea of what they will get with their purchase.

Rim Quality

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Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop Rim

Side view of the Spalding Hybrid rim

Overall I’ve been impressed with the rim quality on the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop.  I will be the first to admit that the rim on this hoop is not up to par with a gym quality breakaway rim, but you should not expect this when spending $500-$700 on a hoop.  If you do have this expectation then I suggest seriously considering a top of the line in-ground basketball hoop that generally start in the $1500 price range.

When shooting the rim performs best on shots that hit the back of the rim, which makes sense because this is closer to where the rim connects to backboard.  Shots that hit the front of the rim tend to make the rim perform in a more flimsy manner.  Performance on shots as a whole has been slightly better than I expected.

A common question I get is if the rim can handle dunking.  I would not recommend hanging on this rim, especially from the front for fear of damaging the rim or potentially tipping the hoop.  It can likely handle some dunking but it will probably shorten the life of your hoop if you dunk on it regularly.

That being said the rim on the Spalding Hybrid impresses me when considering the cost.  I certainly feel like it meets my needs and will meet the needs of most families.


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Up close view behind backboard

Spalding offers several different backboard models for the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop.  These include 54 inch and 60 inch acrylic backboards which are good mid level backboards.  On the expensive end there is a 54 inch tempered glass backboard version that will cost you a couple hundred dollars more.

I picked up the cheapest option, the 54 inch acrylic backboard.  I must say that the backboard has surpassed my expectations.  The ball comes off the backboard with velocity, with bank shots and layups performing in a similar fashion to tempered glass backboards.

The only thing I will say is that with a 54 inch backboard you don’t have as much room to operate when executing a reverse layup.  Sometimes the ball will hit the side of the backboard on the 54 inch version, when on a larger backboard the ball could very well end up in the hoop.

However, this is a small price to pay.  If you feel like that would bother you then consider moving up to the 60 inch acrylic backboard.  With the quality of the acrylic backboard I don’t see it being worth the extra $200 for the 54 inch tempered glass version.

Spalding Hybrid Fill Base

Fill Base

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Fill base without cover

Most fill bases found on portable basketball hoops are only filled with water.  These can range in size from 25 gallons all the way up to 60 gallons for the Spalding Beast Portable Basketball Hoop.

The Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball System really changed the game in terms of the fill base.  On the Spalding Hybrid you have two main compartments.  The first compartment is the actual base and can be filled with up to 19 gallons of water.  The second compartment is actually a space that has been “cut out” of the base so that you can put up to four 50 pound bags of play sand in the base.

At first this didn’t seem like a big deal to me.  But now I see the advantages.  Most portable basketball hoops are hard to move when the base is full of water.  This means you have to empty the base somewhat to be able to transport your hoop to another location.

With the Spalding Hybrid Hoop you only need to remove the bags of sand and the hoop can be moved with the 19 gallons of water still in the base.  Having this options makes the Spalding Hybrid more versatile than most other portable hoops.

Back view of the Spalding Hybrid’s support pole

Support Pole

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Featured on the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop is a three piece support pole.  Three piece means that there are literally three pieces that are attached together to make the support pole system.  Three piece support poles are found on most portable basketball systems.

In fact, I believe the Spalding Beast is the only portable basketball system that has a two-piece support pole.  For those who are wondering, one-piece support poles are the best, but they are only found on higher-end in-ground hoops.

I must say that going into the purchase I thought that the three-piece support pole would be the cause of a lot of vibrations with the hoop.  Thankfully I’ve found that my worries were unfounded.  For having the cheapest support pole design the Spalding Hybrid is a durable basketball system.


What I Like About This Hoop

  • The Spalding Hybrid feels durable, especially considering it has a three-piece support pole
  • Raising and lowering the hoop is easy with the screw-jack system
  • The hybrid fill base is more versatile than other portable systems
  • Rim offers really good performance at this price point

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • Rim does get a bit flimsy when shots hit the front of the rim
  • Directions for assembly were unclear at points and the bolt/nut glossary is inaccurate

Hopefully this review has given you a thorough idea of what it is like to assemble and use the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop.  I’m really glad I bought this hoop and I am satisfied with the performance.

As I mentioned earlier, I would not spend the extra money for the tempered glass version.  I just can’t imagine it making a big enough difference.  Not only that but tempered glass is much more likely to break.

If you feel that the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop would not be up to your expectations, but want a portable system, then I recommend the Spalding Beast Portable Basketball Hoop.

Ryval C660 In Ground Basketball Hoop Review

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Best Basketball Hoops Rating

Ryval C660 In-Ground Basketball Hoop:  9.5/10

Main Features

  • 60″ tempered glass backboard that is 1/2″ thick offering top of the line rebounding performance
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
  • 5 to 10 foot heigh adjustment range in infinite increments is one of the widest ranges available on any recreational hoop
  • 6″ x 6″, 7 gauge one-piece square support pole that provides exceptional stability
  • Under and top coating rust protection utilizing galvanized under coating powder coating top finish keeping this basketball system rust free

Ryval is quickly building a name for itself in the premium in-ground basketball hoop arena.

We have previously reviewed the C872 model produced by Ryval and found it to be one of the best in-ground basketball hoops that money can buy.  Today, we are looking at the C872 little brother, the Ryval C660.  But don’t be fooled into thinking this slightly smaller Ryval hoop model doesn’t live up to the performance standard of the larger Ryval hoop.  The Ryval C660 is a formidable in-ground hoop in its own right.

The Ryval C660 features a gym quality breakaway rim

The only significant difference between the C872 and the C660 is the size of the backboard.  The Ryval C872 features a 60 inch backboard, while the C872 has a 72 inch backboard.  But here is the thing, the C660’s 60 inch backboard comes with the same 1/2 inch thickness as the C872, so while smaller, the Ryval C660’s backboard performs just like its larger counterpart.

With a thick tempered glass backboard the Ryval C660 performs just like a gym quality backboard when missed shots come off for rebounding.

Among many other strengths this hoop has the height adjustment is among the most robust.  The C660’s height adjusts from 5 feet to 10 feet in infinite increments.  This allows for young hoopers building their strength to develop proper shooting mechanics.

Ryval C660 Backboard

Speaking of young hoopers, Ryval shows a commitment to safety by including heavy duty padding on the C660 model.  Padding can be found completely covering much of the support pole and lining the bottom of the backboard.  This coupled with the 3 feet of overhang from rim to the support pole makes this a safer hoop than most.

When it comes to support poles Ryval has it figured out.  The absolute best support poles found on recreational basketball hoops are all one-piece.  This means that the support pole is a single piece of steel, rather two or three pieces that have to be bolted together, which are found on lower quality hoops.

Having a single piece support pole on your basketball hoop makes it more stable during play.  You won’t see the hoop vibrate violently and will handle pretty much all you can dish out with relative ease.

When it comes to the rim on the Ryval C660 you can expect gym quality performance.  This means the rim on this hoop will not be too stiff or floppy, providing a great feel when the ball hits the rim.  Also, for those wanting to dunk on this hoop the Ryval C660’s rim will be able to take your high flying dunks without issue.  This is not something we say for many other hoops we review.

What We Like About The Ryval C660

  • This hoop has the best 60 inch backboard on the market
  • We love the heavy duty padding and 3 foot overhand of the C660 enhancing the overall safety of the hoop
  • Top of the line gym quality rim
  • Very wide height adjustment range of 5 feet to 10 feet
  • Impressive rust guard protection through galvanizing and powder coating
  • Limited lifetime warranty

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • Assembly will take multiple people, or professional installers
  • You need to be serious about the game to justify spending this much money on a hoop

The Ryval C660 in action

Ryval continues to impress us here at  Their hoops are getting rave reviews from customers and the features found on their hoops are unparalleled.  Not only are they making quality hoops, but they continue to expand their product lines so that there are more hoops to fit varying budgets.

For most the Ryval C660 is probably a bit more than you need.  The C660 is a premium quality in-ground basketball hoop that has a premium price tag.

However, if you are serious about the game or have a child who really wants to commit themselves to the game, then the Ryval C660 is a great option.  Rest assured it will not disappoint.

While the Ryval C660 has many great features, there are other similar hoops to consider if you are in the market to buy a hoop.  Some other great in-ground hoop options include the Ryval C872, Lifetime Mammoth, and Goalrilla GS-I.


Ryval C872 In-Ground Basketball Hoop Review

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Best Basketball Hoops Rating

Ryval C872 In-Ground Basketball Hoop:   9.8/10

Main Features

  • 6″ x 8″ galvanized steel support pole ensures resistance to rust and offers maximum stability
  • Limited lifetime warranty includes dunking and offers peace of mind when thinking about buying a high-end hoop like the Ryval C872
  • 5 to 10 foot heigh adjustment range in infinite increments is one of the widest ranges available on any recreational hoop
  • 72″ tempered glass backboard that is 1/2″ thick, making it regulation sized
  • Gym quality rim that performs and plays just like the ones used in pro arenas

These days there are many different quality high-end basketball manufacturers to choose from.  Some brands are well known like Spalding, Goalrilla, and Lifetime, while others are up and comers such as Hoopstar, Pro Dunk, Goalsetter, and the brand behind the C872, Ryval.

Any review of the Ryval C872 starts with its 72 inch tempered glass backboard that is 1/2 inch thick.  This is truly a regulation sized board with the same quality as those found in collegiate gymnasiums.

Due to the quality of the backboard, the Ryval C872’s rebounding performance is spectacular.  The basketball comes off the backboard with force and consistency.

Safety is another strength of the Ryval C872.  Covering both the anchor base and support pole is heavy-duty padding that comes included with the basketball system. Quality padding also aligns the bottom of the backboard to protect players’ hands and heads.

Height adjustment on the C872 is controlled with the 2 FX Life Assist Cylinders that allow you to raise or lower the hoop from 5 feet to the regulation 10 feet.  This is great for families with growing children who will be able to use proper mechanics on a lowered hoop as they build strength.

The rim on the Ryval C872 is also top of the line.  It features one horizontal spring and two vertical springs to offer maximum weight support that can handle rim rattling dunks.  The springs are covered which works to minimize wear and rusting that can happen to rims exposed to the outdoor elements.  When shots hit the rim it performs beautifully, remaining stable without being too rigid like double ring hoops you may remember from the playground.

Make no mistake that this basketball hoop is a behemoth, and as such takes a lot of effort to assemble.  If you buy this hoop please plan to have at least three people for the job.  For those who are not handy consider hiring a company to do the installation for you.  It will save you a lot of headaches in the end.

What We Like About This Hoop

  • Ample amount of padding under the backboard and at the anchor base
  • Rim is gymnasium quality and has the perfect balance of stability and feel
  • One of the best backboards you can buy for a recreational basketball hoop, 72 inches of tempered glass heaven
  • Very wide height adjustment range of 5 feet to 10 feet
  • 4 feet of offset from the support pole to the hoop allows for play under the rim

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • Because of the many features and top quality materials it should come as no surprise that this a very expensive basketball hoop
  • Assembly will take multiple people, or professional installers

With the increasing number of basketball hoop brands that are focused on building high-end in-ground basketball hoops it can be hard to stand out from the crowd.  Ryval has done this with the C872 due to the galvanized parts and awesome safety features that comes standard with this hoop.

If you are serious about the game of basketball, or have a child who has a passion for the game, then it may be time to consider investing in their basketball future by picking up a high-end hoop that will last for years and years.  The Ryval C872 is a great choice and would make a fine addition to your driveway or court.

Competitors to the Ryval C872 that are worth looking into include the Goalsetter All-American, Lifetime Mammoth, Goalrilla GS, and the Spalding Arena View.


Is The Vert Shock Program a Scam?

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Want to Dunk?

Alright guys, one of the most popular things I get asked about is how to improve your vertical jump in the hopes of being able to dunk.  The truth is that we all want to be like our NBA heroes who seem to defy gravity as they levitate through the air with ease.  Don’t you want to do that?  Well, I know I do.

While you may want to dunk, not all of us can or will.  There are several players in the NBA who can’t dunk right now, so dunking is not a must have skill to play at the highest level.  At the same time having as high of a vertical jump as you possibly can help your game tremendously as you’ll be able to get more shots off over the extended arms of defenders.

How to Improve Your Vertical: Vert Shock?

Whether you can touch the rim and want to take your vertical to the next level so you can dunk, or if you just want a better vertical to improve your game the answer may lie in the Vert Shock Program.

Vert Shock is a vertical jumping program that was created by Adam Folker, a former division I collegiate basketball player who now plays professional basketball overseas.  The focus of the Vert Shock program is to use plyometric workouts at 100% explosive effort to build your fast twitch muscles fibers and optimize your central nervous system for jumping.

What is nice about the workouts in Vert Shock is that they can be done within the comfort of your home and do not require you go to a gym.  What is most important is that you do the workouts faithfully and totally commit to the 8 week long program.

There are plenty of testimonials on YouTube that show the positive results that users of the Vert Shock program have achieved.  While I’m always a bit weary of testimonials in general, I think you’ll find that the majority of these testimonials for Vert Shock appear authentic.

Here is one in particular that I feel is genuine.

You can definitely tell it is the same guy.  While there is no way to be 100% sure he wasn’t dogging it on the first part of video it does look like he was giving full effort.

Vert Shock Explained

Vert Shock Exercise Video

As I mentioned previously, Vert Shock was created by Adam Folker as a way for anyone to improve their vertical jumping ability by up to 9 to 15 inches. Within the program there are three main sections: Pre-Shock, Shock, and Post-Shock. Each of these phases has a specific goal and purpose all of which are designed to help you reach your vertical jumping goals.

There are also some valuable bonus materials that Adam includes in your Vert Shock purchase, which include articles on things that can hurt your vertical, as well as an advanced vertical training workout sheet that can be used after you complete the 8-week Vert Shock program.  FYI, the advanced vertical training workout does require gym equipment and you’ll likely need to go to the gym to perform the exercises.  For most the core Vert Shock program will suffice.

Phase 1: Pre-Shock

Vert Shock’s Pre-Shock Interface

The Pre-Shock phase of Vert Shock really gets things going as you’ll be doing many of the exercises that you’ll get familiar with over the 8-week period.  The goal of Pre-Shock is to begin building your fast-twitch muscle fibers while minimizing the risk of injury while your body adapts to the volume of jumping and explosive movements.

Another goal of the Pre-Shock phase is to build your core, which if yours has been neglected will be an important factor in creating a higher vertical jump.  You will be working out six of seven days during the Pre-Shock phase of Vert Shock.

After this week you may find that you have added a couple inches to your vertical, which is pretty damn cool for just one week of work.

Phase 2: Shock

Welcome to the bulk of the Vert Shock program.  The Shock phase consists of 6 weeks of workouts that follow a consistent format.  Generally you’ll have 4 to 5 days of working out and 2 to 3 days of recovery and rest.  To see optimum results you should follow the program specifically and do not workout on your recovery days.  Sore and fatigued muscles require rest so that they can rebuild and become stronger.

We have found that the main focus of the plyometric exercises is to do each one with maximum explosiveness.  Go 100% each time.  This is why the Vert Shock program gives you ample rest between sets.  They want you to be fully recovered so you can give the next set everything you got.

At the beginning, 4th week, and 8th week you will do a vertical test to see your results.  We recommend not testing it more than this or you may become discouraged if you don’t see the results that you are hoping for immediately.

Phase 3: Post-Shock

The final phase of the Vert Shock program is the Post-Shock phase.  This phase is pretty freaking intense as you will work out 6 of 7 days during the 1 week phase period.  By this point you should be much stronger in your core and lower body after having completed 7 weeks of Vert Shock.

Post-Shock will max you out so that once you get a chance to recover you will see the maximum amount of increase in your vertical possible.

Extra Features in Vert Shock

Vert Shock Bonuses

As part of the Vert Shock program you get a maintenance program that you do once a week after you have finished the Vert Shock program.  This maintenance program will help you keep your vertical jumping gains over the long-term so that you don’t lose what you worked hard to get.

You’ll also get short articles or “ebooks” on things that hurt your vertical jump, five secrets to jumping higher, and a nutrition tips sheet.  Nutrition in particular is an often overlooked factor in maximizing athletic performance, but it should be in the forefront of your mind as you progress through Vert Shock.

Probably the most valuable extra included in the Vert Shock program is the Complex Training Techniques “Ebook”.  This workout program offers vertical training technique using weights, and is best utilized after you’ve completed the 8 week Vert Shock course.  Having these complex training techniques allow you to go even further with your vertical training once you are done with the Vert Shock program.

Vert Shock Summary

Overall, Vert Shock is a valuable tool for anyone looking to increase their vertical.  The exercises and workouts are logically setup and work the muscle groups most needed in maximizing your jumping power.

Is Vert Shock a Scam?

While Vert Shock makes some bold marketing claims, it is not a scam.

Being that this is the question asked in the title of this article we feel we should address this thoroughly.  Vert Shock is not a scam.  It is a legit plyometric program that is designed to enhance your jumping.  If you do the program with maximum effort you will no doubt see improvements in your vertical jump.

That being said some of Vert Shock’s marketing and claims in their advertisements may be a bit over the top.  Not everyone who uses Vert Shock will be able to dunk.  The truth is that we all have different athletic limits and abilities.  For example, two people could both have a 20 inch vertical at the beginning of the program.  At the end one of Vert Shock, one participant’s vertical may have grown 15 inches and they can now jump 35 inches in the air.  On the flip side, the other participant may only gain 5 inches and now has a 25 inch vertical.  The first participant can now dunk, while the second participant can only touch the rim.

Our point here is that genetics matter.  Work hard and you will certainly see improvement, but don’t expect to be doing 360 jams and you’ll be less likely to be disappointed.  By increasing your vertical you will increase your performance on the court, period.  You’ll be more explosive and a better finisher when driving to the hoop, dunking or not.

How Much Does Vert Shock Cost?

The original price of Vert Shock was $200, which we feel is a bit expensive.  Thankfully, this price has been dropped to the much more reasonable $67.  At this price almost anyone who wants a quality program to improve their vertical jumping can afford to get Vert Shock.

What We Like About Vert Shock

  1. We really like that each of the workouts can done in your own home with just a couple pieces of gym equipment like step boxes, a foam roller, and a medicine ball.
  2. At $67, the Vert Shock program is a good value considering how much your vertical will improve.
  3. The videos of the exercise videos are in high-definition and crystal clear.
  4. The work load and time required for the Vert Shock program is reasonable.

What We Don’t Like

  1. Marketing is a little misleading, not everyone who takes the program will be able to dunk afterward (and that’s okay).
  2. Should offer more extensive advice on nutrition to give more guidance.

Final Word

We don’t have many bad things to say about Vert Shock.  We understand the concerns about it being a scam, but thankfully those are unfounded.  If you are on the fence about purchasing the program and want to increase your vertical, we say go for it.  You’ll no doubt improve your game.  And for those who can touch the rim, but can’t dunk, the Vert Shock program will more than likely get you dunking in 8 weeks.

Silverback NXT Portable Basketball Hoop Review

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Silverback NXT Portable Basketball Hoop:   8.8/10

Main Features

  • Comes in two backboard size options: 50 inch and 54 inch
  • Features the infinity edge backboard that not only looks cool but also makes the backboard material stronger
  • Adjusts in height from 7.5 feet to 10 feet in six inch increments
  • Frame actually runs beneath the fill base for enhanced stability
  • Assembly takes only 90 minutes due to the unique design features found on the Silverback NXT
  • Silverback NXT is listed as once of the best portable basketball hoops available


The vast majority of portable basketball systems for sale are made by two companies: Lifetime and Spalding.  Both of these companies make quality hoops, but it does somewhat limit the variety of basketball hoops that are available to buy.  With that said it is encouraging to see Silverback, who specializes in in-ground basketball hoops, jump into the portable basketball hoop market with the Silverback NXT Portable Basketball Hoop.

Another reason we are excited about the Silverback NXT is the numerous unique features that it has not found on any other portable basketball system we’ve seen to date.  The most visually obvious of these features is the backboard.  The Silverback NXT features what Escalade Sports calls an “infinity backboard”.

The Silverback NXT Features the ErgoMove Transport System

Silverback NXT Infinity Backboard

Most backboards have a metal frame that the backboard attaches to.  In the case of the Silverback NXT Portable Hoop the backboard does not attach to a metal frame and instead wraps around at a ninety degree angle via a technique called flanging.  Flanging makes the material stronger and more stable.  At each of the four corners of the backboard it attaches to the support system.

Lastly, the infinity backboard just looks freaking cooler than most other backboards out there.  The infinity design gives the hoop a clean and sleek look due to the absence of the metal frame.

The Silverback NXT Portable Hoop also has an exclusively designed ErgoMove base.  This base has two large wheels made to make transporting the hoop easier.  There are also two hand grips on the sides of the base so that you can easily get a stable grip when moving.

Beneath the fill base there are two metal bars that run the length of the base reinforcing the hoop structure and offering enhanced stability.  No other portable basketball hoop that we know has this feature on their base.


One of the biggest pain points when it comes to recreational basketball hoops is the amount of time and effort assembly can take.  Often times assembly requires several hours and several people to put together a hoop, which is then further complicated by directions that are lacking in clarity.

Thankfully, the Silverback NXT Portable Hoop has you covered if you don’t want to spend hours upon hours assembling.  Silverback states that their NXT hoop only takes 90 minutes to assemble, but there have been some buyers that claim it took them longer despite being fairly handy.  Either way, this portable basketball hoop should take you less time to put together than most others.


As for the rim on the Silverback NXT it is a pretty simple one spring setup.  The spring is exposed to the elements so rust could be a concern over time.  However, the bounce and strength of the rim is impressive.  We recommend that if possible to bring the Silverback NXT Portable Hoop inside for storage during the winter months.

This portable basketball hoop’s height is adjustable from 7.5 feet to 10 feet in increments of six inches.  The actual adjustment range is pretty standard among portable basketball hoops, but many other similarly priced hoops can be adjusted in infinite increments.

The biggest downside to this hoop is the price.  The 50 inch version of the NXT will run you about $500, while the 54 inch version will set you back an estimated $600.  This is in the mid-range of hoop prices and there are some other basketball hoops at this price that we’d consider a better value.

What We Like About This Hoop

  • The infinity backboard design is unique and does make the acrylic backboard perform better than other similar hoops
  • The Silverback NXT basketball hoop has the best balance of lightweight and durability
  • ErgoMove makes transporting this hoop easy
  • We love how the frame extends under the fill base to give the hoop an even more stable profile

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • Pay a fairly steep price for the innovations found on the Silverback NXT
  • At this price point of the Silverback NXT Hoop we’d like to see a higher quality rim
  • While stated assembly time is 90 minutes, it will take longer for most buyers

No doubt that the Silverback NXT Portable Basketball Hoop brings something unique to the table that no other portable basketball hoop can match.  We hope to see more portable basketball hoops from Silverback in the future because we feel they can add variety and force other hoop manufacturers to step up their game as well.  We wish the pricing of the NXT was more competitive when you consider at the same price you can get a Spalding 60 Inch Acrylic Portable Basketball System.

Infinity Backboard

Three Basketball Training Products Worth the Money

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How to Know What to Buy

Back in the day, players like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Dr. J, and others didn’t have any special training or tools to use.  They simply played the game constantly and had a never ending desire to improve.  However, today there are so many basketball and basketball training products that we’ve lost count.  The truth is, that many of these training products are a waste of money and you’d be better off doing drills with a basketball and a home hoop.

Just because most of these products stink doesn’t mean they are all worthless. In this post we are going to present to you three basketball training products that you should feel confident about dropping a few dollar bills on.  Every single one of these products significantly improves or helps to improve a specific basketball skill.


We have already done an in depth review of the POWERHANDZ basketball training gloves on our parent site  Be sure to check it out if you are interested in picking a pair up because I discuss a lot of the details related to the gloves and how they helped me be a more proficient ball handler.

The basic idea of the POWERHANDZ gloves is to minimize the amount of grip you can get on the ball making dribbling more difficult.  There are also small weights on the outside of the glove that make the muscles that are used during dribbling work a bit harder.

Having personally used and tested this product I can say that
without a doubt these gloves work!  After using POWERHANDZ a few times you’ll notice that you can dribble the basketball harder and control it with greater ease.

2. Elevation Training Mask

While our second pick is not specifically a basketball training, it is certainly one to consider if you are conditioning for the upcoming season.  The Elevation Training Mask works by limiting the amount of oxygen you breath in making it feel similar to being in a high elevation environment.  By training with lower oxygen levels, your body adjusts and stamina is improved, so when you have access to the typical oxygen environment you will be able to non-stop while your opponents are bent over gasping for air.

In my opinion, strength and stamina are just as important as skill when it comes to basketball.  Using this mask will help you get the most out of your skill set.

3. Home Basketball Shot Trainer

Obviously shooting is one of the single most important skills for basketball.  There have been many basketball players who have made it to the NBA on their shooting alone (here’s looking at you Steve Kerr).  Every team needs a shooter, why not be yours.

To become a great shooter not only do you need to develop proper mechanics, but you have to repeat those mechanics over and over by shooting every day you can.  The Airborne Athletics Ic3 Home Basketball Shot Trainer is the best shooting trainer for a recreational home basketball hoop that we have found.

This home basketball training has a large net that captures both made and missed shots and then feeds the ball through a shoot
and then on a track that rolls the ball back to where you shot the ball from.  This allows you to get a greater volume of shots without having to be constantly chasing down rebounds, which can be a real pain in the ass when shooting by yourself.

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