Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball System Combines Sand and Water for Improved Stability
Spalding Hybrid Portable Hoop Rating:
Fill Base 10/10
Support Pole 7/10
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.
Assembling the Spalding Hybrid Basketball Hoop
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 handiest 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.
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.
- As I mentioned above plan to have at least one extra person available for those assembly steps that require more help
- This is especially true when you connect the three support pole pieces, you only have one shot to get these right
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Make sure to read the directions for securing the bolts. On several assembly steps you do not want to tighten the bolts completely.
- 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.
- 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.