SBD/Issue 64/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • How The Ball Bounced: A Timeline Of The NBA’s New Ball

    NBA’s Stern (2nd from r) Unveiling Of
    New Composite Basketball In June

    With NBA Commissioner David Stern’s decision to change from Spalding’s new composite game ball to the old leather ball on January 1, THE DAILY chronicles the fate of the new ball:

    FEBRUARY: 2/19) The NBA debuts the new Spalding composite basketball during the All-Star Game in Houston. The ball will remain in use in the NBA D-League.

    JUNE: 6/28) Spalding announces the composite ball will become the league’s official game ball for the ’06-07 season, marking the first change in 35 years. Spalding gives personalized versions of the ball to all active players and selections in that night’s NBA Draft.

    SEPTEMBER: 9/18) Former Warriors coach Mike Montgomery says, “We had (the ball) in the summer a little bit with our guys. They didn’t like this. I think you’re going to see some complaining going on.”

    Bryant Says He Had Grip Problems
    With The Ball In All-Star Game

    OCTOBER: 10/2) Heat C Shaquille O’Neal becomes the first NBA star to speak out against the ball, saying, “I think the new ball is terrible. It’s the worst decision some expert, whoever did it, made.” Meanwhile, the balls are shipped to retailers. 10/3) NBA Senior VP/Basketball Operations Stu Jackson, noting the ball has been used in D-League and summer league games, says, “Testing has proven it has played well without any negative damage to the game, in terms of its playability. ... It’s a better ball.” 10/4) Suns F Shawn Marion says, “Everybody hates that ball. It seems like it’s more for an outdoor ball than indoor. It doesn’t even feel like a NBA ball.” Suns G Steve Nash adds, “It’s almost like you have to relearn how to make your plays because this ball sticks to your hand.” 10/5)’s Marc Stein reports Spalding “urged the NBA to switch to a composite model because it was having trouble securing the ‘consistent’ leather needed to keep manufacturing the ball that has been used for decades.” Lakers G Kobe Bryant says, “We had to adjust to it last year when we played with it in the All-Star game and it got slippery. It was tough to kind of grip it or get control of it.” 10/8) Stern acknowledges the league could go back to the old ball “if the rigorous testing he has just ordered validates the widespread complaints.” Stern: “Right now our plans are to stay the course, but we will monitor it and if we find there is something to it and it is a serious issue, we will take the appropriate steps.” 10/10) Jackson says, “Our plan is to go forward with this composite ball during the ’06-07 season, subject to further testing and feedback. ... We’d want to start the regular season with the ball that we’re going to play with for the year.” 10/14) The league decides to proceed with the composite ball for the ’06-07 season. 10/17) A Univ. of Texas-Arlington study commissioned by Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban reveals the composite ball bounces lower than the leather ball and is slower to absorb moisture. 10/23) Stern reiterates the new ball will be used despite a growing number of player complaints. 10/31) The Bulls and Heat play the first regular-season game with the new ball.

    NOVEMBER: 11/8) One week into the season, NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter said that the union may seek legal action against the league for both the ball and the new on-court conduct policy. ESPN’s Jim Rome says, “Look Commissioner, nobody likes to admit they’re wrong, but in this case, you’re wrong.” But ESPN’s Tim Legler says, “I can’t imagine David Stern ever admitting that he made a mistake, or the league for that matter.” 11/15) Hunter says the NBPA will file an unfair labor practice claim over the use of the composite ball.

    Nash (l) And Kidd Both Say
    Composite Ball Cuts Their Hands

    DECEMBER: 12/1) The NBPA follows through and files an unfair labor practice claim with the NLRB against the NBA regarding putting the new ball in play without consulting the union. Hunter says players “tell me when they handle the ball, it cuts their hands. Paper cuts. [Nets G] Jason Kidd told me he gets cuts every night.” 12/5) Stern acknowledges the players’ complaints about the ball, admitting “regret over not consulting them.” Hunter says the union “would not rescind its grievance until the league made a change.” Meanwhile, more players complain about the ball. Nash says, “Can’t they make a better synthetic basketball? One that doesn’t cut my fingers?” 12/6) ESPN’s Greg Anthony says, “If Steve Nash complained about the basketball, then something’s got to be up, because that’s a guy who makes his living with the feel of the ball.” 12/11) The league announces it will switch back to the old leather ball beginning January 1. Stern says players’ response to the new ball has been “consistently negative and we are acting accordingly.” Hunter says in making the decision, Stern “showed a lot of integrity and professionalism. I applaud him for it.” Grizzlies G Damon Stoudamire: “Thank you. Thank you.”

    POLL RESULTS: Over the past 24 hours, THE DAILY poll asked readers to grade Stern for how he handled the new ball. Here are the results from 318 responses:

    How would you grade David Stern’s overall
    handling of the new ball?

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bulls, Comcast-Spectacor, Dallas Mavericks, ESPN, Golden State Warriors, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, NBA, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Walt Disney
  • League Notes

    After reports that the Dolphins bought audio tape to scout the Patriots before their 21-0 shutout over the Pats on Sunday, ESPN’s John Clayton said the NFL “is not going to investigate this, and their idea is this is just football. ... They’re going to take [Dolphins coach] Nick Saban at his word: they got it off the audio tape of a regular game (broadcast).” But ESPN’s Sean Salisbury said if the NFL “doesn’t at least glance into this, it would shock me considering all the frivolous nonsense” the league investigates (“NFL Live,” ESPN, 12/13).

    NOTES: Bonds backed by broadcast and licensing revenue from MLB “had their credit rating raised by Fitch Ratings because of the league’s new labor contract and television agreements.” The rating on $1.3B of the league’s asset-backed securities was booted from “A-” to “A,” the sixth-highest investment-grade ranking (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 12/12).... Las Vegas Motor Speedway GM Chris Powell and Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority President & CEO Rossi Ralenkotter met last week in Las Vegas with NASCAR VP/Licensing & Consumer Products Mark Dyer to discuss bringing the annual awards banquet to the city. Powell called the meeting “preliminary,” and said that they “pitched the idea of timing of the event to coincide with the National Finals Rodeo” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 12/13) ....The AVP Crocs Pro Beach Volleyball Tour will stage the inaugural Charleston Open at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, South Carolina, from June 14-17. The event will air nationally on FSN (AVP). The 10,000-seat venue “is nearly twice the size of the sport’s typical 5,500-seat tour stops” (Columbia STATE, 12/9).

    Print | Tags: AVP, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, NASCAR, Speedway Motorsports Inc.
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