NBA to Take Microfiber Basketball and Go Home
The NBA will scrap its new microfiber composite ball and bring back the leather ball beginning Jan. 1. In a stunning defeat for NBA Commissioner David Stern enough complaints have caused the league to scrap the new microfiber basketball.
The decision came as a surprise from a commissioner who had staunchly defended the ball through the first two months of the season.
Players have complained about the new ball, manufactured by Spalding, since training camp, saying that it bounced differently than the old one -- both off the floor and the rim. They even filed a labor grievance because they were not consulted about the change.
They also said the synthetic material cut their hands, leaving 'paper cuts' for the players to deal with as well as the grind of the daily game.
Spalding was absolutely hammered over the debacle and tried damage control. "Spalding's main objective is to uphold the integrity of the game of basketball," Spalding Group President and CEO Scott Creelman said in a company news release. "We believe the micro fiber composite ball offers many superior characteristics to leather however we firmly support any decision that improves player satisfaction."
The old-style balls will return Jan. 1 and be used through the remainder of the 2006-07 season, Commissioner David Stern announced Monday evening. "Our players' response to this particular composite ball has been consistently negative, and we are acting accordingly," Stern said in a brief statement.
Not all the players are happy. According to ESPN Phoenix Suns forward Shawn Marion told Florida Today. "To me, it's stupid to change now. It's taken everybody three months to get used to the new ball and now it's going to take three months to get used to the old one again. You might as well keep the new one now. You started with it, finish with it."
Mark Cuban chimed in with his usual snark:
"They scrapped it? I guess if I have to hear about a final decision in the media, that says it all. I guess I missed the class [at David Stern University] where they were discussing the pros and cons of the new ball and the impact of making a change [in] midseason. That's what I get for skipping class to buy DSU pom-poms as Christmas presents."
The controversy grew so large that this was a lose/lose for the league no matter what they did.
As bad as it was - they should have played out the season with the new ball and switched back after the NBA Finals.
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