NEW YORK (AP) — David Stern expected complaints, and he got plenty of them.
His response: The new ball is staying.
The NBA commissioner said Monday the league is sticking with its new ball and is convinced it’s a better product despite concerns from a number of players.
That was a much stronger answer than he gave recently when he was in Europe for a series of exhibition games between NBA and international teams. Stern said then he would continue to monitor the situation and test the ball some more. That seemed to leave open the possibility the new ball would be bounced.
The upside to Stern is that all the new balls, made of a microfiber composite, feel exactly alike. No two leather balls were the same. Stern said it was customary for referees to go through a rack of balls to select the best one before each game.
NBA officials have stressed that most players grew up playing with the microfiber composite, but they may have underestimated the preference players have for leather.