Way to go, NBA!


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new-ball.jpg

In 2006 the NBA came up with the idea that all the game balls should be exactly the same. They developed a synthetic ball to be used as the official game ball for each game. After the season began players made vast complaints about the newly issued balls. The biggest complaint being that they were getting cuts on their hands from them. As a basketball fan I was curious about the question of what went wrong? So I dug a little deeper.

            Let's start with the complaints about cuts on the player's hands. It turns out that the synthetic balls are tackier when DRY. This temporarily improves a player's grip until they start sweating. Though the synthetic balls are tacky when dry, they are extremely not absorbent. This disables the player from having a firm grip on the ball which can result in turnovers and injuries.

            On the actual playing level and handling of the ball different tests found that the synthetic ball will bounce anywhere from 5-8% LESS than a standard leather ball. It says in the article I read,  that the balls were tested from a dropping height of four feet. Considering bouncing the ball in basketball pretty much dominates the game, we can see how this is a problem. Not only was the bounce height decreased but the way the ball bounced was different as well. The ball had no sustainable flow to it. Bounces were unpredictable and often bounce in unintended directions.

          It's safe to say that the retraction of these synthetic balls was an excellent move for the NBA. There's no saying that in the future they won't come up with an improved version but for now, they're sticking with the classic leather ball.

Good try, NBA. Better luck next time. 

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