New ball, few friends

Toronto Raptors point guard TJ Ford has joined the growing list of critics of the new Spalding game ball which has been introduced into the NBA for this season.

    The good ol' days: the older, popular NBA ball

    "Once the ball hits the floor it sticks," Ford told the Toronto Globe and Mail.

    "I don't think you'll see too many long bounce passes.
    "It feels like an outdoor ball."
    The new synthetic composite ball, made by Russell Corp, replaces the traditional leather ball that has been used for the past few decades.

    The NBA has been using the Spalding brand ball since 1983.
    The ball is featured prominently on the company's internet web site where it is advertised for sale at $100.

    The NBA also has a financial stake in the new ball and offers it for sale on their web site.
    "It feels like one of those cheap balls that you buy at the toy store, indoor-outdoor balls. I look for shooting percentages to be  way down and turnovers to be way up, because when the ball gets wet  you can't really control it," Miami's giant centre Shaquille O'Neal  said.
    Similar feelings have also been expressed by two-time reigning MVP Steve Nash, of Phoenix, and Heat's star Dwyane Wade.
    "It's a very difficult transition," Nash said. "I certainly won't have to lick my fingers. The ball sticks to your hand. It's a big transition. It's extremely sticky."
    It is just the second time in history the league has tried to introduce a new ball.
    NBA commissioner David Stern said the ball was supposed to improve grip and feel. He said they are taking the complaints seriously.
    "Our plans are to stay the course," Stern said. "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."



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