Old basketballs, New Basketballs and Pumpkins
This day is complicated by a lecture that I need to give to some journalism students. Really. Go figure. But much of the rest of the day will be taken up with my long explanations of a series of extremely scientific experiments we at The Post conducted with the NBA's old basketball, new basketball and a pumpkin, assisted by D.C. Council Chair Vincent Gray, George Mason Coach Jim Larranaga, the members of D.C. United and some random people we met at a bowling alley, plus a former Bullets cheerleader.
As a teaser, the experiments ended, naturally, with me getting United forward Alecko Eskandarian to chuck both basketballs and a pumpkin off the fourth level of RFK Stadium.
(And now I'm going to speak to some journalism students. Swell. "Here's some tips for getting soccer plays to throw gourds out of multi-purpose stadiums," I'll tell them.)
To get us started, here are the most recent comments by the Wizards about the new ball, plus some thoughts from two of the 2,734 random people who have stopped me over the past few days and asked to examine the basketballs I've been carrying around:
Antawn Jamison: I love the ball [with his smile indicating non-love]. You've just got to get used to it. It's different. With the old one, the more you use it, the better it gets. The new one, I think it's the opposite.
Caron Butler: It's real grippy, but like I said, the second it gets wet it's kind of hard to get a grip to it. Honestly, it feels the same. I mean, growing up, when you go to the park, people bring their own balls, you know? They bring Spaldings, they bring Fusions, they bring balls that've been ripped. Sometimes they bring balls with the little tittie popped out already, and they bounce and fly over here somewhere. So, I mean, you've got to play with it, you know? So I don't know what the big deal is. Let's play ball, you know what I'm saying?
Eddie Jordan: The players will get used to it. If you can dribble, pass and shoot with the other ball, you can do the same thing with this ball.
Former Bullets cheerleader Susan Colbert (1983-'85): I've been knocked in the head by enough balls; we say the softer the better. I like that one. [pointing at new ball]
Random person and Wiz fan Keary Willey: I'd rather have the old one. See the grooves [on the new ball]? It's like they're too deep. See, a lot of players have a lot of tricks, and it might come back and not do what they want it to do. The new grip is solid, but I like the old ball. Back when I was 18 or 19, I'd make someone run into a fence if I had that new grip [with his ridiculous dribbling skillz]. I just don't like the new grooves.
(And as long as we're quoting Willey, here's what he says about the Wiz: "They need a power man, a real power man. They've got a nice team, but they're never gonna get a ring without a power man, a clean-up man.")
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