Portable, adjustable, polycarbonate backboard, overhang, breakaway rim, affordable
Adjusts in increments, backboard size, 3 piece round pole, front cover, stability
The Spalding 66349 is a entry-level portable basketball system. It features a 50″ polycarbonate backboard with a steel frame and a pro slam breakaway rim. The height adjusts in 6-inch increments from 7.5 to 10 ft. The round pole comes in 3 sections, and has a diameter of 3.5 inches. The base holds up to 34 gallons of water or sand. A front cover is included to serve as a rebounder. The 66349 is backed by a 5-year limited warranty.
What To Like
- Portable. No cement installation is required, it can be moved around whenever necessary, and is convenient. You can play on it anywhere as long as it’s on a flat surface. The two wheels make it fairly easy to move.
- Adjustable. Ideal for children under 10 who are not yet capable of shooting on a 10 ft. hoop. It’s also good for families who want to play together. A lift system is used, which involves manually lowering or raising it. Raising it to 10 ft could require a ladder or step.
- Polycarbonate backboard. This material is a very strong plastic. It’s actually stronger than acrylic, which you sometimes see on more expensive hoops such as the Spalding 68562. It’s not likely to break even when dunking or exposed to rough play.
- Overhang. Overhang refers to the space between the front of the pole and the bottom of the backboard. I can’t tell for sure how much overhang there is, but the angle of the pole helps provide some space underneath so players don’t run into the base.
- Breakaway rim. Having a breakaway rim allows for dunking, since it gives when you pull down on it. Without this give, dunking would put a lot of stress on the backboard. It also prevents the rim from breaking as well. Children (or even adults) can have some fun with this.
- Affordable. With a price tag just below $320, it can still be classified as affordable for many people.
What Not To Like
- Adjusts in increments. Some hoops have infinite adjustment as opposed to increments. This means you could adjust it to any height between 7.5 and 10 feet. However, this hoop adjusts in 6-inch increments, limiting the number of heights you can change it to.
- Backboard size. 50″ is a bit small, and for another $50 you could buy 4 more inches with the Lifetime 71524. To put into perspective, 72″ width is regulation size. The closer you can get to this number, the better the performance. 50″ is fine for a 1-car driveway, but relatively speaking it’s small for a basketball hoop.
- 3-piece 3.5″ round pole. A single section, square pole is ideal because it limits vibration. This one has neither. It’s round, and comes in 3 pieces. Naturally, it’s not going to perform as well as a single pole. The 3.5 inches is relatively small, which doesn’t give the backboard as much sturdiness compared to larger poles.
- Front cover. This refers to the plastic cover that you see attached from the base to the pole. I don’t care for this simply because the ball bounces away if it strikes the cover at an angle.
One reviewer said that his cracked w/in 3 weeks. Mine shattered in only 2 weeks. Bottom line here: the plastic isn’t strong enough to handle normal use so if you get this model, PLAN on it breaking soon and then either not having it or making your own.
– B. Walker
- Stability. A portable hoop with a base naturally isn’t going to be as stable as an in-ground model, or a more expensive portable one. Filling it with sand does help, but the backboard won’t be as rigid. A few customers noted that the hoop moves a little while shooting off the backboard.
The Spalding 66349 is pretty typical of a basketball hoop in this price range. It has a smaller, but strong backboard, a breakaway rim for dunking, and adjustability for children.
The Spalding 66349 is a entry-level portable basketball system. There are alot of mixed reviews on this puppy. First of all, installation is more difficult than you think. It generally comes with a DVD of instructions on assembly, but it will still take many hours to get this set up. Next, it is not as sturdy as other Spalding brands. It has a tendency to vibrate and does not feel like a really well built hoop. Personally, I think this is actually a very good alternative to an expensive system. It is a good portable basketball hoop system for children. Don’t love it, but I would definitely buy it if it fit my family.
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