The radius of a sphere goes from its center to its surface.

Use the following formula for the surface area of a sphere.

Because a simple sphere problem would be way too easy to use as an example, let's try something a little more difficult: What's the surface area of a basketball in a box (a cube, of course) if the box has a surface area of 486 square inches?

A cube (or any other ordinary box shape) is a special case of a prism, but you don't need to use the fancy-schmancy prism formula, because the surface area of a cube is simply made up of six congruent squares. Call the length of an edge of the cube *s.* The area of each side is therefore *s*^{2}. The cube has six faces, so its surface area is 6*s*^{2}. Set this equal to the given surface area of 486 square inches and solve for *s*:

Thus, the edges of the cube are 9 inches, and because the basketball has the same width as the box it comes in, the diameter of the ball is also 9 inches; its radius is half of that, or 4.5 inches. Now you can finish by plugging 4.5 into the surface area formula: