FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – OCTOBER 28, 2006
UT ARLINGTON PHYSICISTS QUESTION NEW SYNTHETIC NBA BASKETBALL
Synthetic NBA basketballs introduced this season - and derided by many players - are less lively, more slippery when damp, and bounce more erratically than the traditional leather balls, according to a preliminary study by University of Texas at Arlington physicists.
Some of the ball’s shortcomings could be corrected without too much difficulty. Reducing the depth of the ball’s embossing would reduce erratic bouncing. Over-inflating the ball to 14.5 psi (pounds per square inch), rather than the regulation 8.5 psi, is enough to get the synthetic ball to match the bounce height of a leather one. But improving grip on the synthetic compound will probably be a knottier problem. Keeping the ball dry with towels and frequently changing the game ball, as suggested by Cuban in his popular internet blog, Blog Maverick, may help reduce the slippery grip problem this season.
Executive Summary of the Preliminary UTA Study of the New NBA Synthetic Basketballs:
Thus far, over the period October 14-present, through various tests, we have determined four major performance differences between the old leather balls and the new synthetic balls provided to us by the Dallas Mavericks organization. It should be noted that the leather balls provided were not new, but rather had been used for extended periods, whereas the synthetic balls provided were brand new.
The American Physical Society (www.aps.org) is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents over 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, DC.