Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Back to the old balls

(I recently joined this site as a contributor, so you'll be seeing the occasional basketball opinion here. )

The NBA -- David Stern, that is -- told the league's players that they would get the old leather balls back starting January 1st.

Reaction was muted snark. Mavs owner Mark Cuban:

"They scrapped it?" Cuban said in an e-mail. "I guess if I have to hear about a final decision in the media that says it all. I guess I missed the class where they were discussing the pros and cons of the new ball and the impact of making a change midseason."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers:

"It's just like the park. That's what it's going to feel like. Whoever brings the ball on Jan. 1, that's the one we're going to play with."

Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy:

"When they told me they were going back to the old ball, I said I've never brought this point up, but I know this: if you bounce it straight down, that thing will not come up in a straight line. You have to play like you're playing at the old Boston Garden, looking for those dead bounces. You just have to be sure you have to keep the ball close to the ground."

Lebron James:

"I'm very excited. You see my smile, right? If we've got practice tomorrow, I'll be shooting with that (old) ball tomorrow."

Tim Duncan:

"They should have done a little more testing the first time so we wouldn't have had to go through this. Hopefully, they have corrected their mistake, and everything will be good."

Paul Pierce:

"The players, it was just tough on them because I think (the NBA) kind of just sprung the ball on the players instead of giving them fair warning."

Pierce was the player's representative when the new ball was introduced last summer. At that time he predicted turnovers would be down this season because of the new ball. They have been, but that couldn't outweigh things like the fact that it gets slippery when wet, sticks to the rim, lodges between the rim and backboard more frequently and actually dries out players' hands to the point they suffer cuts on their fingers.

PETA, I suspect, will be pissed by this flip-flop.

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