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HexNBA
12-05-2006, 08:45 PM
N.B.A. to Take Up Complaints With Ball Manufacturer

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
Published: December 5, 2006

Four days after the National Basketball Players Association filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board partly over the N.B.A.’s use of a new synthetic basketball, Commissioner David Stern said that the league made a mistake by not closely consulting with the players and that the league would address complaints about the ball with its manufacturer.

On Friday, the player’s association filed grievances with the N.L.R.B. and asked the organization to investigate what it said were the N.B.A.’s unilateral actions. The new synthetic ball and new rules cracking down on in-game conduct have prompted complaints from players since the season began. The players association was upset that its membership was not informed of the changes beforehand.

“I won’t make a spirited defense with respect to the ball,” Stern said today. “In hindsight, we could have done a better job.

“With respect to the ball, I take responsibility for that.”

Players say the new ball, manufactured by Spalding with a synthetic plastic instead of leather, absorbs sweat and sticks to their hands, causing it to not roll off their fingers in a consistent fashion. Some players have also complained that the ball does not bounce off the floor and the rim like the old ball.

“On every test, historically that has been done, this ball tests out much more consistent,” Stern said. “But if our players are unhappy, then we’re unhappy. We get every ball from every team. We go back. We have it taken apart. We do all kinds of tests. And that’s a continuing process.”

Stern added that the league should have listened to the players sooner and would be investigating each player’s complaint.

“Whether or not we did enough prior to it, we’re actually, well, we think this ball has many of the attributes that Spalding says it has,” he said. “It’s an improvement in many ways. But if our players are unhappy with it, we have to analyze to the nth degree the cause of their unhappiness. Everything is on the table. I’m not pleased, but I’m realistic. We’ve got to do the right thing here. And, of course, the right thing is to listen to our players. Whether it’s a day late or not, we’re dealing with this.”

The N.B.A. said it changed the ball to meet the standard of the rest of the world’s basketball leagues.

The players association has been especially upset that ball was introduced without consultation with the union or any active players. Three retired players-turned-broadcast-analysts — Mark Jackson, Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr — were the primary testers. The only N.B.A. players who tested the ball in competition were the members of the 2006 All-Star teams, who used one during last season’s game in Houston.

“We’re talking to every player,” Stern said. “We’re continuing to evaluate it. Every time someone says something about the ball, we get the ball and we send it back to Spalding.”

MavsX
12-05-2006, 09:05 PM
maybe stern read our 'F david stern thread'

vjz
12-05-2006, 09:50 PM
... Commissioner David Stern said that the league made a mistake by not closely consulting with the players and that the league would address complaints about the ball with its manufacturer.


Are you kidding me? This isn't a ball you bought from Walmart and can go back and complain... there are professional players actually using the ball everyday... and all you are gonna do is complain to the manufacturer? That's it?

Um, how about going back to the old that was perfectly fine, had no complaints from players, coaches or fans, and was being used for the past several decades with zero problems?

birdsanctuary
12-05-2006, 10:27 PM
Just a prime example of Stern choosing money over the good of the game!

The changing of the ball equates to golfers being forced to change the ball color from white to one more "appealing" to mass consumers.

Football being forced to switch to a ball shaped like one of those curvy ass nerf shaped balls because it gets better aerodynamics.

dude1394
12-05-2006, 10:34 PM
I forget where I read it but it seems that the revenue from spalding that comes from the new ball is off the revenue books that are used to set payrolls. So in other words under the table to the league.

And I don't believe for a minute that the NBA is busily testing the ball or cubes wouldn't have done it himself.

nashtymavsfan13
12-06-2006, 12:29 AM
Report: Stern admits mistake introducing new ball

December 5, 2006

NEW YORK (Ticker) - NBA commissioner David Stern told the New York Times on Tuesday that the league made a mistake in not consulting with its players on the introduction and use of a new basketball this season.

Stern's admittal comes four days after the NBA Players Association filed a pair of unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board. One was related to the ball, a microfiber composite model that replaced the previous leather ball.

The union was upset that its members were not informed or asked about changes to the game.

"I won't make a spirited defense with respect to the ball," Stern told the Times. "In hindsight, we could have done a better job. With respect to the ball, I take responsibility for that."

The NBA changed balls for the first time since 1970, introducing a new ball made by Spalding. Many players have complained about the unnatural feel of the new ball, while a scant few have lauded its ability to "grab" the rim and backboard, making for softer shots.

The league has said that the new ball has a consistency not found in leather balls, which wear more easily and have more seams.

"On every test, historically that has been done, this ball tests out much more consistent," Stern told the newspaper. "But if our players are unhappy, then we're unhappy.

"We get every ball from every team. We go back. We have it taken apart. We do all kinds of tests. And that's a continuing process."

Before introducing the ball in the preseason, the NBA tested the new ball only with former players including current analysts Reggie Miller, Mark Jackson and Steve Kerr. The ball also was used in the 2006 All-Star Game.

Stern turned a deaf ear to the complaint in the preseason, saying the new ball was here to stay. But he has since changed his tune.

"I'm not pleased, but I'm realistic," he told the Times. "We've got to do the right thing here. And of course, the right thing is to listen to our players. Whether it's a day late or not, we're dealing with this."

Drbio
12-06-2006, 01:00 AM
Stern is a putz of the highest order.

Dirkadirkastan
12-06-2006, 05:48 AM
At least the new ball doesn't cause tons of airballs, and if I remember right the softness around the rim actually increased the league's field goal percentage.

Doesn't excuse Stern's actions of course.

Dirkadirkastan
12-06-2006, 05:53 AM
I just thought of something. You know when people screw up and then say "I take full responsibility"? What does that mean? I thought responsibility meant an obligation to rectify whatever damage was done. But people who say this, who are mostly politicians, really mean "leave me alone," which is the exact opposite.

fluid.forty.one
12-06-2006, 05:56 AM
F Stern

HexNBA
12-06-2006, 08:30 AM
To me its annoying to not see the "papercut" issue mentioned, which is like a really big deal.

sike
12-06-2006, 10:06 AM
"while a scant few have lauded its ability to "grab" the rim and backboard, making for softer shots."

I've actually noticed this...

MavKikiNYC
12-06-2006, 12:17 PM
A Whole New Game Ball? N.B.A. Admits Its Mistake

Barton Silverman/The New York Times


By LIZ ROBBINS (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/r/liz_robbins/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: December 6, 2006

N.B.A. players have been complaining for two months about the new synthetic basketball and the cuts on their fingers it has caused.

The players were not given a chance to test it before the season, prompting their union to file a grievance last week with the National Labor Relations Board (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/national_labor_relations_board/index.html?inline=nyt-org) about the league’s unilateral implementation.

Yesterday, David Stern (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/david_stern/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the N.B.A. commissioner, acknowledged the validity of the players’ complaints and admitted regret over not consulting them beforehand.
In a telephone interview, Stern said that balls were being sent back to the manufacturer, Spalding, for further testing. The league will continue to use the new balls, but Stern left open the possibility that they would be changed during the season.

“I won’t make a spirited defense with respect to the ball,” Stern said. “In hindsight, we could have done a better job. I take responsibility for that.”

He added: “If our players are unhappy with it, we have to analyze to the nth degree the cause of their unhappiness. Everything is on the table. I’m not pleased, but I’m realistic. We’ve got to do the right thing here. And of course the right thing is to listen to our players. Whether it’s a day late or not, we’re dealing with this.”

Billy Hunter (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/billy_hunter/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the executive director of the union, said that it would not rescind its grievance until the league made a change.

“It obviously is something that needs to be studied and reviewed,” Hunter said in a telephone interview last night. “I would consider it a victory if they got the leather ball back, but we’re going to let that run its course.”

He said the grievance might not have prompted Stern’s sudden reversal as much as “the general outcrying that he has gotten.”

“All these star players complaining,” Hunter said, “it creates a problem.”

Since the beginning of training camp, players have been upset with the switch to a ball that was supposed to have more consistency in the way it handles and bounces. Instead it has less. According to many players surveyed over the past two months, the new ball has stuck to the players’ hands, become frequently lodged between the rim and the backboard, and has also not been able to absorb moisture as well as the leather ball.

Steve Nash, the Phoenix point guard and two-time league most valuable player, wore bandages on his fingers last week because of cuts caused by the new ball. The Nets (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/sports/probasketball/nationalbasketballassociation/newjerseynets/index.html?inline=nyt-org)’ Jason Kidd (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/jason_kidd/index.html?inline=nyt-per), and the Dallas Mavericks (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/sports/probasketball/nationalbasketballassociation/dallasmavericks/index.html?inline=nyt-org)’ Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki have all spoken out against the material, complaining of cuts on their hands.

Jerry Stackhouse, the Mavericks guard who is the team’s union representative, said he was encouraged to hear Stern’s comments.

“When that stuff is happening, then you really got to take a stronger look at it,” Stackhouse said last night before the Mavericks played the Nets at Continental Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. “As players, we’re going to adjust. It’s not like the game has lost anything, that the scoring is down or we’re not getting exciting finishes. The game’s not been affected in that way.

“But it’s one of those things where it is directly affecting our workplace. Unilateral, that’s the word.”

Mark Cuban (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/mark_cuban/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the outspoken Mavericks owner who has often been at odds with Stern, applauded Stern’s admission of culpability.

“That’s smart,” Cuban said last night. “In David Stern University, looking at the greater good sometimes means re-evaluating our decisions.”

Stern said that every test showed that the synthetic ball was much more consistent. But, he said: “If our players are unhappy, then we’re unhappy. We get every ball from every team. We go back. We have it taken apart. We do all kinds of tests. And that’s a continuing process.”

But the players wonder where the testing was before the season. Only three people, all retired players who are now analysts — Mark Jackson (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/j/mark_jackson/index.html?inline=nyt-per), Reggie Miller (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/reggie_miller/index.html?inline=nyt-per) and Steve Kerr — tested the ball.

Jackson, now a Nets television analyst and hoping to continue sucking on the ample teat of the NBA indefinitely, said that they spent less than an hour one day at Madison Square Garden shooting, passing and dribbling.

Jackson said he had no problem with it. “When I played, it didn’t matter,” he said last night. “If it was round, let’s get it on.”

The only N.B.A. players who tested the ball in competition were the 2006 All-Stars, during last season’s game in Houston. Stu Jackson, the N.B.A.’s vice president for basketball operations, said in October that the league made the change to be more consistent with other leagues in the world and also “because this is a better basketball.”

But players and coaches have proof that says otherwise. One N.B.A. assistant coach, who did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to comment, tore a ligament in a finger when, in retrieving a ball that had bounced onto the sideline, his finger stuck at an odd angle on the surface of the ball.

The Knicks (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/sports/probasketball/nationalbasketballassociation/newyorkknicks/index.html?inline=nyt-org)’ Eddy Curry said: “The ball never leaves my hand the same way. It sticks to my middle finger. It bounces differently off the dribble and on the shot.” (That's because of the twinkies and cotton candy you eat on the bench, Big Cakes.)

He added, “I definitely notice a difference in the ball, but all my complaints won’t change a thing.”

Stackhouse said the players needed to be consulted earlier. “If it’s something about the arenas and the fans and trying to enhance the game from a fan’s perspective, use your expertise and business savvy to make unilateral decisions about that,” he said. “When it comes to the actual game itself and when it comes to in between the lines, we should definitely have some input.”

Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting. MavKiki contriubted editorial insights.

V2M
12-06-2006, 01:01 PM
Why does it take a lawsuit for him to admit his mistake?

HexNBA
12-06-2006, 02:19 PM
Stern taking the fun out of game

Dan Bickley
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 6, 2006 12:27 AM

The NBA is becoming the new No Fun League. There are dress codes, technical fouls for whining, expensive reprimands for renegade owners.

It is all part of a master plan to take the playground out of the game, softening up the gritty urban feel of professional basketball. Street cred and bling, you're no longer welcome here.

It is a highly ambitious plan, and quite courageous, really. Until you consider David Stern's new balls.

"The only problem I have with it is that it tears my fingers apart," said the Suns' Steve Nash, reigning two-time MVP.

Astonishing, isn't it? If the new behavior and dress codes weren't enough, the NBA has blindsided its players with a new basketball that looks like a Nerf pumpkin. The balls are soft and orange and strangely cushy. They are also part of a new grievance filed by union leader Billy Hunter.

Hunter claims that his players hate the new balls, even though early results show little statistical change from last season. Dallas owner Mark Cuban funded independent studies and discovered that the soft bounces help shooters while the stickiness hinders creative playmakers.

"I think our team is split," said the Suns' Eric Piatkowski, the team's union representative. "Sixty percent don't like it, 40 percent do."

But new revelations have changed the argument considerably. Nets point guard Jason Kidd said the new ball gives him the feeling of multiple paper cuts in his hands. That sounds extreme, but Nash understood completely, saying he suffers from the same problem.

Of course, these are merely two of the best passers in NBA history. They both work the ball furiously while dribbling, whether it's applying heavy spin or delivering creative touch passes. And just like that, the commissioner has gone and handicapped two of the most artful, unselfish players he has in the sport.

"It's awful," Nash said, showing off what appeared to be array of friction burns on his fingers. "It's like an irritant, and you get them right on the part of your hands that you're using the most. And every time you go to shoot it you don't want to use those parts. Sometimes, I even have to tape my fingers in practice."

In the wide view, it is easy to see the reason for great Stern mandate, even with the considerable risks. While benefiting from a wonderful new crop of stars, the game is still dealing with a lingering perception problem - the one that always goes back to the guns and headbands and cornrows. Hunter recently said as much to the New York Daily News:

"The image problem is a subtle way of talking about Black ballplayers and how they appear to the populace," Hunter said. "When we had our last round of negotiations, David told me that he was consulting with one of President Bush's political consultants. The issue was: What they can do to make the game and players more appealing to the red states?"

While Stern's heavy-handed reform is beginning to anger many influential players, it's the same deal with this new basketball. In any other sport, the ball is an object to be thrown, caught, kicked or hit. But a basketball is much different and much more personal. It is more like a brush for the artist - and if you don't believe me, please pop in a tape of Magic Johnson. Or Pistol Pete.

To mess with that relationship is insane.

Officially, the new basketball was developed to correct inconsistencies in the old model. But there are new rumors this new basketball actually came about because the wife of the Rockets' owner is a huge ally for PETA. Seems she's also a friend of Stern's wife. And when the two gals got to talking, well, that rich, leathery old basketball that came from the back of some poor cow was a thing of the past.

"That'd be great," Nash said. "I'd agree with that. But can't they make a better synthetic basketball? One that doesn't cut my fingers? The colleges use a synthetic. It's a good basketball; they could use that. Oh, but then they wouldn't have a new one to sell."

Ah, yes. Capitalism. The brand new Spalding NBA Official Game Basketball retails for just about $100 and is sitting on the shelves for your holiday shopping pleasure. Unlike the old leather ball that served the NBA, you can actually play with this one in your driveway and not worry about the ball enduring a lifetime of premature baldness.

In the end, that is surely why this ridiculous change was made.

"It's selling pretty good, actually," said Jason Stroud, store manager for the Sports Authority sporting goods chain. "I just got another shipment in today. And I haven't had any returns yet."

Cha-ching, and this is where the commissioner and his combative New Deal have dropped the ball.

After all, when you try to take the playground out of the game and then introduce a new basketball just because it'll sell better on the playground, well, there's a word for that on the street, yo: hypocrite.

TripleDipping
12-06-2006, 07:26 PM
So, Stern's new balls shoot better but handle worse.

That came out sounding so wrong.

V2M
12-06-2006, 08:54 PM
So, Stern's new balls shoot better but handle worse.

That came out sounding so wrong.


Not really... we just presumed you must know something that we don't

;)

MavsX
12-06-2006, 09:32 PM
hahah!!!!

V2M
12-06-2006, 09:41 PM
Dropping the ball
By Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports
December 6, 2006


Privately, NBA officials rolled their eyes and insisted that within weeks, the players' bemoaning over the new basketball would come and go.

"Just like the dress code did last year," one league official promised.

But now, only six weeks into the regular season, NBA commissioner David Stern finally understands that this was a terrible miscalculation. This time, the issue isn't about the style of the sport, but the sheerest of its substance. And the longer he was resisting the protests of his league's players, the more out of touch he sounded.

Anyone watching could see that this ball did too many funky things on the rim and floor, that it clearly altered the game. So Stern has changed course and made a surprising, if not startling, confession: I screwed this up.

"Everything is on the table," the commissioner told the New York Times. "I'm not pleased, but I'm realistic. We've got to do the right thing here. And, of course, the right thing is to listen to our players. Whether it's a day late or not, we're dealing with this."

Before the NBA pushes deeper into the season, Stern ought to forget the manufacturer's studies and go back to the leather ball now.

In the beginning, the players were told of the simple feel of the micro-fiber composite ball over the old leather. What they weren't told was the way the new ball grew slippery, the way it bounded oddly off the backboard and rim. Lately, the biggest stars in the sport, including Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd, found that the ball's surface causes cuts on fingers. Two-time MVP Steve Nash has a handful of finger tips wrapped in bandages.

Whatever the NBA and Spalding's studies told them, the reality spoke of something else. This ball was a blight on the game. It needs to go.

"By virtue of the statements made, he's acknowledging a mistake was made and let's just go about this in a different way," Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo said from his office on Wednesday morning. "But give the commissioner credit for being responsive in this way."

As much of a mistake it has been to ramrod the new ball into use without real feedback from NBA players – and sorry, summer leagues don't count – the way Stern dismissed the complaints was worse. Truth be told, there was a real arrogance in rejecting the players' issues as a nuisance. Here was the most essential tool they use in the game, an orb that connects them in every way, and until now, Stern's stance bordered on disrespectful.

Of course, there are instances that the commissioner has to rule unilaterally for the good of the sport. In the end, no league can function as a democracy. Still, this was an instance where a stand-down never needed to happen, where the players association never should've never had to file a grievance with the National Labor Relations board.

"I don't know if it's ever been a partnership," NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher told Yahoo! Sports last week. "I know we have attempted to make it that way (but) very rarely has it felt like a partnership. For us, it feels like we've had to generally react, or defend, or stand up for things that we believe in.

"We've very rarely been sought out for advice before things have been decided."

As word spread of Stern's reassessment on Wednesday, there was considerable relief that the dictatorial edict on these balls had softened, that suddenly the issue of returning to the leather balls loomed as a possibility. Before Stern's change of heart had gone public, Dallas Mavericks guard Devin Harris spoke theoretically in the visiting locker room in East Rutherford, N.J., wondering about the pros and cons of changing back in midstream of the season.

"It might almost be a step back going to the old ball, to start over again," Harris said. "It took some time getting used to this new ball. We'll see what the majority of the players want, but I could go either way.

"When it gets wet, it's still a tough thing. But after you play with it so many games, you learn how to play with its deficiencies. You get used to the ball."

Somehow, the NBA should have a higher standard than asking its players to grow used to working with the "deficiencies" of its basketball. The longer the league waits to bring back the leather balls, the harder it'll be to make the transition back.

David Stern has come halfway now, but he needs to go the distance. He tried the new ball. It didn't work. These things happen. If the game matters most here, if that's what this is about, the leather balls come back out of the closets now.

Adrian Wojnarowski is the national NBA columnist for Yahoo! Sports.

Updated on Wednesday, Dec 6, 2006 4:34 pm EST

rabbitproof
12-06-2006, 11:37 PM
Sportsline article from Meija says players such as Nash and Dirk have cuts on their hands from the ball. What more reason do you need to change the ball? You don't even have to go back to the old ball but at the very least do something.

Dirkadirkastan
12-07-2006, 12:02 AM
Sportsline article from Meija says players such as Nash and Dirk have cuts on their hands from the ball. What more reason do you need to change the ball? You don't even have to go back to the old ball but at the very least do something.

I believe we are facing the imminent release of Spalding's new Adjustable Basketball Gloves, complete with resistance to the ball's razor-sharp edges, and cushioned dribbling for even the softest of hands. Available in stores July 2007.

rabbitproof
12-07-2006, 01:57 AM
I believe we are facing the imminent release of Spalding's new Adjustable Basketball Gloves, complete with resistance to the ball's razor-sharp edges, and cushioned dribbling for even the softest of hands. Available in stores July 2007.

Hahahaha. Okay, a different something.