The NBA is introducing a new Official Game Ball for play beginning in the 2006-07 season. The new ball, manufactured by Spalding, features a new design and a new material that together offer better grip, feel, and consistency than the current leather ball. This marks the first change to the ball in over 35 years and only the second in 60 seasons. In 1970, the ball was transitioned from a four panel to an eight panel ball. NBA Commissioner David Stern, Spalding Group Vice President Dan Touhey, NBA Sr. Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson, Boston Celtics Forward Paul Pierce, and NBA on TNT analyst and two-time NBA champion Kenny Smith unveiled the new Game Ball today at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue prior to the 2006 NBA Draft.
The new ball features Spaldings Cross Traxxion technology, a union of revolutionary design and breakthrough material. The design is comprised of two interlocking, cross-shaped panels rather than the eight oblong panels found on traditional basketballs. As a result, there is more material coverage. The material is a microfiber composite with moisture management that provides superior grip and feel throughout the course of a game. Additionally, the new composite material eliminates the need for a break-in period, which is necessary for the current leather ball, and achieves consistency from ball to ball.
“The advancements that Spalding has made to the new game ball ensure that the best basketball players in the world will be playing with the best basketball in the world,” said Stern.
The NBA and Spalding subjected the ball to a rigorous evaluation process that included laboratory and on-court testing. Every NBA team received the new ball and had the opportunity to use it in practice. The ball also was tested in the NBA Development League and was used in activities during NBA All-Star 2006 in Houston. NBA retired players Steve Kerr and Mark Jackson participated in testing the new ball as well.
“Spaldings continual efforts to advance basketball technology have yielded the optimal ball, one that is worthy of the new Official NBA Game Ball designation,” said Spalding Group President and CEO Scott Creelman. “We are honored that the NBA collaborated with us to make this change.”
The ball will be used in all NBA events leading up to next season including summer leagues, preseason and training camps, and NBA Europe Live presented by EA Sports. All active players will receive a personalized ball, as will each player selected in the 2006 NBA Draft.