Monday, December 11, 2006


Only last June, the National Basketball Association proudly announced a new Official Game Ball. Made by Spaulding and promising a "better grip, feel, and consistency than the current leather ball," the new microfiber composite ball was supposed to be the Next Great Thing:
"The advancements that Spalding has made to the new game ball ensure that the best basketball players in the world will be playing with the best basketball in the world," said [NBA Commissioner David] Stern.

The NBA and Spalding subjected the ball to a rigorous evaluation process that included laboratory and on-court testing. Every NBA team received the new ball and had the opportunity to use it in practice. The ball also was tested in the NBA Development League and was used in activities during NBA All-Star 2006 in Houston. NBA retired players Steve Kerr and Mark Jackson participated in testing the new ball as well.

"Spalding’s continual efforts to advance basketball technology have yielded the optimal ball, one that is worthy of the new Official NBA Game Ball designation," said Spalding Group President and CEO Scott Creelman. "We are honored that the NBA collaborated with us to make this change."
Monday, the NBA sheepishly announced that it was ditching the new ball and going back to leather. The Associated Press reports:

Players have complained about the new ball since training camp, saying that it bounced differently than the old one -- off the floor and the rim. They also said the synthetic material cut their hands.

NBA commissioner David Stern told the New York Times last week the league should have sought more input from players before introducing the new ball.
Apparently there's plenty of good leather to go around.

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