Skip to main content

"The ball tears my fingers apart. It's like papercuts"

Steve-Nash

Ten years ago the NBA presented a revolution in the game - a brand new microfiber composite ball from Spalding. This new technology was supposed to provide more consistency with the ball and provide better results. At least that's what David Stern told us, that Spalding and the NBA did testing and it showed a better shooting percentage, lower turnover rate and an overall improvement in performance.

Before the season started, all the players were speaking positively about the new ball. In those comments, we learned some interesting details about the ball and what are the differences from city to city. Here's Chris Paul:

"When you play in different cities, the ball may be a little newer or may be a little worn out, but this ball right here, it seems like it's going to stay the same, so that's a positive thing."

His banana boat partner, Dwayne Wade, spoke of the same thing. HOw the ball can feel a lot different depending on which city you are playing with and that the new ball will provide more consistency. Wade added he feels the new ball gives him more grip and he will be able to make trick shots with it.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Then the season started and the players started to play with the new ball. Things went south quickly after that. A lot of players started complaining that the ball changes a lot - too sticky when dry, too slippery when wet and too unpredictable when it hits the hardwood. Wade found out that the expectation of grip and trick shots was wrong:

"My bank shot is no longer existent. My game-winning shots, I'm telling you, it's [in the] past."

Perhaps the loudest critic of the new ball was two-time MVP, Steve Nash. If there was a player who's style suffered from a ball that is unpredictable when bouncing and has less grip, it was him. But all that was not Nash's biggest complaint. The new surface was causing cuts on a lot of players fingers, and the issue became so prevalent it was the straw that broke the camels back.

Once it became an obvious injury issue, David Stern decided to go back to the old leather ball mid-season. The new composite ball didn't make it to the All-Star game. Funny enough, Nash criticized that decision as well - pointing out he had just gotten used to the new ball and a change is being made again. The biggest criticisms was that in both cases - introducing the new ball and going back to the old one - players weren't consulted enough. Steve Nash put it best:

I'm disappointed that they didn't seek more input from us before they introduced the new ball and I'm disappointed that we're changing the ball during the season. It's still tearing up my fingers, but after three months ... it's too late. I'm telling you, the [two] balls feel totally different. There's a different feel, a different weight, a different texture.

Quotes in this story courtesy of ESPN:
NBA ball controversy reaches new level
Leather ball will return on January 1

Kobe Bryant

It's not even the championships" — Kobe Bryant on the quality that all great ones have

Kobe Bryant showed unconditional love for the game, especially after the Los Angeles Lakers' heartbreaking loss to the Boston Celtics in 2008

Isiah Thomas & Karl Malone

Isiah Thomas opens up about a surprising phone call he received from Karl Malone - "He almost started crying on the phone"

Isiah Thomas shares what happened when he got a surprising call from Karl Malone, who wanted to apologize for an incident that happened 30 years ago between the two legends

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson

"Then what happens? They’re gonna consider him a bust" — Vince Carter gave Zion Williamson helpful advice

Like Zion, Carter was also branded as primarily a dunker when he entered the league and everybody expected him to throw it down all the time.

Stone Cold Steve Austin celebrates with beer during WrestleMania in 2022 and LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009

"I've forgotten so many things but I remember that vividly" — Steve Austin on LeBron James taking photos of him via flip phone

Stone Cold didn't need to check his social media or the internet as he vividly remembers the King's support.

Michael Jordan in 2022 at the NBA 75th Anniversary Team induction ceremony

“You're a loser! You've always been a loser!” - how Michael Jordan trash-talked his teammate into retirement

When MJ said he doesn't care, he really meant it - even if his teammate once retired because of his cruel trash talk.

Kerry Kittles in 2021 at a Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame press conference.

"Mostly they’re talking about scoring and scoring" — Kerry Kittles on today's NBA

Kerry Kittles doesn't like the lack of defense in today's game but admittedly would've loved to play in this era.