Affordable, polycarbonate backboard, height adjustment, breakaway rim, stability, brand reputation
Increment adjustment, 3-piece round pole, 16-inch offset, direct burial installation
The Spalding 88354PR is an entry-level in-ground basketball system. It has a 48″ polycarbonate backboard with a heavy-duty steel frame. Included is the Slam Jam breakaway rim and a Pro Glide lift system that raises or lowers the height from 7.5-10 feet in 6-inch increments. The 3.5″ round pole comes in 3-sections. The backboard has an offset of 16-inches. It’s installed by cementing the pole directly into the ground. The 88354PR is backed by a 5-year limited warranty.
What To Like
- Affordable. Basketball systems can get awfully expensive. This system is perfect for those who are on a budget, or would rather not make a big investment. It’s ideal for children, though adults can also play on it as well.
- Polycarbonate backboard. It’s not as rigid or heavy as tempered glass, but it’s strong in its own right. It has a professional look, and is said to be stronger than acrylic. This backboard will likely hold up for as long as you need them to, assuming it’s not abused.
- Height adjustment. Children can really benefit from this. It can be frustrating for little ones to shoot on a 10 foot hoop. This system will grow with your child.
- Breakaway rim. Most systems do have one nowadays, so it’s not a huge positive. It’s not heavy-duty, and not the quality of some higher priced hoops. But it does allow children to dunk if they want to. I would not recommend adults dunking and hanging on this rim however.
- Stability. It’s not the most stable in-ground hoop you’ll find, but cementing it into the ground does help. In other words, it will perform better than a similar portable system.
- Brand reputation. Spalding is one of the top brands out there. They have an extensive line of basketball systems, and have been in business for a long-time. They are trusted.
What Not To Like
- Increment adjustment. Being able to change the height is a positive, but it only adjusts in increments of 6-inches. The mid-to-upper level hoops adjust infinitely, meaning you can change it to an height between 7.5-10 feet. Not a huge deal, but it does limit your options.
- 3-piece round pole. Doesn’t provide the stability that a one-piece pole would. Plus, the three sections will have to put put together during the assembly, which can sometimes be a pain.
- 16-inch offset. This doesn’t provide a lot of room for play under the basket. If children are playing, then it’s probably not a big deal. But adults may be more prone to bumping into the pole. The more room you have, the better and safer it will be.
- Direct burial installation. This means that the pole is cemented into the ground. Therefore, you won’t be able to remove it very easily if desired. However, you can purchase a ground sleeve from Spalding. This will be cemented into the ground and the pole will be inserted into it. That way, it would be easier to remove.
- Note. These criticisms are the same as you’ll find on other similar priced hoops.
Reviews from Around the Web
Amazon.com: 4 Stars – ‘Didn’t come with hardware in time for Christmas’
The Spalding 88354PR is your average entry-level basketball system. The parts aren’t going to be as high of quality as you would see on some higher priced hoops. However, it still does the job. I would not recommend this for serious play among adults. But for children, it’s a good hoop. They can dunk on it, shoot around, or play with their friends. Overall, it’s very comparable to the other hoops you’ll find in this price range. This system comes with a “Slam Jam breakaway rim” although you wouldn’t catch me hanging on it. (6’0 210 pounds – solid muscle mixed with fat).
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