This year, the New Basketball would have turned ten years old, had it stuck around for more than about three months. For those who don’t remember, in 2006, the NBA made the bizarre decision to abandon the world of leather basketballs for a new-age synthetic model, which they insisted would bounce more predictably, and make shooting easier.
The experiment was short-lived. The players, in near unanimity, hated the New Basketball. Many reported that handling it produced cuts on their fingertips, and the union filed a grievance, stating that the players had no input on the New Basketball before it was rolled out. The league backed down in December, and on January 1, 2017, the league switched back to Old Basketball, and never looked back. New Basketball, much like New Coke and Wally Backman’s tenure as manager of the Diamondbacks, was never meant to be.
Even the players who hated New Basketball, though, had to admit: It was pretty cool-looking.