A properly inflated basketball ensures fair competition. Everyone can enjoy the game through better control of the ball. At times, balls that do not carry the recommended air pressure can cause contention among basketball players because it does not provide a good bounce or allow people to play to their best abilities.

This predicament already caused controversy in a different sport when quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots deflated footballs during the 2014 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts. As a result, Brady got a four-game suspension while the team paid a $1 million fine and forfeited two draft picks.

How to Deflate a Basketball – Our Step-by-Step Guide

Returning to the topic, adding air to a basketball is simple. An inflation needle attached to an air pump can do the trick if it needs enough air. But while inflating is easy to perform, there is a tendency to put more air than required because of the perception that the basketball bounces better when it’s firmer.

Also Read: What Height is a basketball hoop?

Therefore, there might be times when reducing the pressure of the basketball is necessary. There are several ways to arrive at the desired amount of air through a deflated basketball. Without further ado let’s get started;

brown basketball on basketball hoop

Items Needed In Deflating A Basketball

An inflation pin is the easiest way to deflate a ball faster. It’s an inexpensive item in any offline or online athletic equipment store. If possible, an air pressure gauge is also excellent for checking the pressure. However, it is optional; having only the pin will do. But the indicator helps quickly assess if the ball is within recommended values. While others claim that a paper clip or a bobby pin can also help the air escape, using them may cause permanent damage.

How To Deflate A Basketball Using An Inflation Pin

There is a trick to determining if a basketball has the correct air pressure, even without a gauge. Try dropping the ball from chest level and check if it bounces back to your waist. Anything above it can indicate overinflation. However, it’s not advisable to put in the pin immediately. Instead, moisten its narrower tip with a damp cloth or running water for easier insertion and to prevent damage to the ball valve.

The next step is to insert the pump needle down the valve. Make sure it is straight down the ball’s air hole because putting it slanted may cause damage. You cannot let the pin remain for long because air will come out quickly, leading to an underinflated ball. Meanwhile, deflating the ball for easier storage requires the ball’s squeezing to release more air. After removing the pin from the ball, letting it bounce will help determine if the air extracted is enough. Repeat this process until you get a good bounce. Likewise, pump in additional air if the ball is bouncing low.

How To Deflate A Basketball With A Pressure Gauge

You don’t need to check the ball’s bounce using an air pressure gauge because the meter will reflect the desired pressure. However, moistening the needle is still necessary for proper care of the basketball. After inserting the pin into the opening, press the release valve to let go of the air. Check the ball pressure as air comes out and close the valve upon reaching the ideal value. Pull out the pin, and you are ready to play.

How To Insert And Remove The Inflation Pin Properly

The pin must be deep enough to relay air from the pump. The smaller hole must go past the valve, but there must be some space between the ball’s surface and the pin head for easier removal. On the other hand, quickly pulling out the pin may damage the valve because the narrower end is sharp. Therefore, squeezing near the valve before slowly removing the pin would be better. Shaking the pin to force it out is also not advisable.

red and black basketball ball

How To Drain A Basketball

The basketball will not bounce properly if excessive water enters the bladder. When that happens, drawing out the liquid is the priority. You can do so by flipping the ball to have the needle valve facing down. If that does not work, puncturing one of the ball’s holes with a needle may help drain the water faster. However, take note that this approach may cause permanent damage.

Compressed air can also help drain the liquid inside. Pump in the air in bursts to prevent heat absorption and potential injury. You may wear gloves to prevent the ball from slipping from your hands.

Final Words

While learning to deflate a basketball is easy, it is a good idea to perform it correctly every time to make sure you are looking after your ball. The instructions specified in this blog post will help you reduce the ball’s air in the best way possible. Like basketball shoes that remain in great shape with proper care, basketballs will also last longer if properly maintained on a regular basis.


David Harris is a former player and after many years of writing and testing hundreds of products associated with the game, created this website to share his tips, basketballs and gear.  I look forward to continuing to grow and build this site and sharing great content.

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