Tests back players' beefs about new ball

Published October 31, 2006

NEW YORK - NBA players have complained all month that the league's new synthetic ball feels and performs differently from the old leather one.

According to results of a study requested by Mavs owner Mark Cuban, they may be right.

Physicists at the University of Texas-Arlington released results of preliminary tests they say proves the microfiber composite ball doesn't behave like the old leather ball. A number of players have griped about its grip and unpredictable bounce.

Cuban contacted Dr. James L. Horwitz, chairman of UT-Arlington's physics department, to test both balls.

The tests showed the ball bounces 5 to 8 percent lower than typical leather balls when dropped from 4 feet, and bounces 30 percent more erratically.

FAN BANNED: The NBA and Orlando Magic banned for the season the fan whose apparent racial slur incited Rockets center Dikembe Mutombo at a preseason game. Season-ticket holder Hooman Hamzehloui reportedly called Mutombo a "monkey" Thursday.

HORNETS: David West signed a multiyear extension, keeping the team's leading scorer from becoming a restricted free agent after the season.

KNICKS: A settlement was reached with fired coach Larry Brown. Terms were not disclosed.

SPURS: Guard Tony Parker sprained his right ankle in practice and is questionable for Thursday's season opener.