In today’s guide, I am going to show you how to pump a basketball without a needle.

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Ideally, you would have a pump + needle to inflate your basketball in a more civilized way. But if you don’t have a needle and have to pump your basketball, you’ll have to improvise.

Below, I will introduce you to 4 ways to pump a basketball with no needles. These methods don’t require that you buy anything – that would defeat the guide’s purpose since if you had to buy something, you should buy a needle.

If you have a tubeless bike and a pump, you may use one of its valves to pump your basketball. Essentially, you will be using the valve stem as a replacement for the needle.

Here’s how to use a tubeless valve stem to inflate your basketball.

Unscrew the fastener on the stem on one of your bike’s wheels and remove the stem.If there is any rubber coating on the stem, pull it off.Attach the stem to your pump.Insert the free end of the stem into your basketball.Start pumping.

And here’s a video demonstrating how to use a bike tubeless valve stem to inflate a ball:


If you have a tubeless bike, then this actually is the first option that you should try. Since the stem is similar to a regular ball needle, a tubeless valve stem allows you to essentially inflate the basketball traditionally.

But if you don’t have a tubeless bike, then read on for some other methods.

2. Use a can of compressed air

If you have a can of compressed air lying around, then you will be able to inflate your ball fairly easily. After using a tubeless valve stem, this is perhaps the easiest way of inflating balls without a needle.

Here’s how you should use a can of compressed air to inflate a basketball:

Insert one end of the tube that comes with the can into the ball’s air hole.Hook the other end of the tube to your can of compressed air.

Compressed air works well when the ball is just slightly underinflated. If you need to inflate a ball fully, then you’ll probably need to go through several cans of compressed air. If you have no other option, this is fine, but you should avoid doing this often since you’ll literally be wasting your money by chewing through compressed air.

3. Use a balloon to inflate your basketball

Another popular way of inflating balls without a needle is to use a balloon. This method can be a little finicky, but it’s at least worth a shot if you can’t use other methods.

For this method, you will need:

A balloon, preferably a larger one.A thin straw or anything else that can fit into your basketball’s air hole.A paper clip or clamp.

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And here’s how you would use a balloon to inflate your basketball:

Inflate the balloon as much as you can.Seal the balloon with a paper clip or clamp.Insert your thin straw into the balloon’s hole. Insert the other end of the straw into the basketball’s air hole.Remove the paper clip/clamp to let the air move from the balloon to the ball. I recommend that you hold the balloon to keep it from shooting itself away.Depending on the balloon’s size, you may need to pump it several times to get the ball inflated.

I personally don’t really like this method. It requires plenty of tools – you may not have a balloon or a straw thin enough for the ball’s air hole lying around. Besides, the air may leak into your room rather than go into the basketball.