NBA rolls out a new official ball

It's surprising, somehow, that 35 years have passed since the NBA updated its game ball – for only the second time in 60 seasons. (Imagine if uniform shorts had gone unaltered for that long.) Also surprising: how different this new "rock" is.

The Spalding Game Ball shed its old leather skin for a microfiber composite and something called Cross Traxxion technology, which marries that material to a new design: two interlocking panels rather than the eight oblong panels on a traditional ball. Spalding has applied "moisture management" and reduced the number of black-stripe "channels."

It won't turn a bricklayer into Dwyane Wade, but this ball is indisputably easier to grip. It feels smaller and easier to palm, though it meets existing size and weight specifications. Big advertised advantages: none of the break-in time required of leather, and out-of-the-box consistency in terms of feel. (Some NBA players – including Shaq – already differ.)

One measure of its stickiness: On relatively tight nets at the fitness club where we threw it up, the ball actually hung up a few times. (The new leather ball against which we tested it never did.) The new ball hit shelves this week (at $100), its makers undoubtedly banking on the buzz of the new pro season to get driveway dribblers to whip it around. Game on.

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...