Thirteen-time NBA All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal is no fan of the new balls that will be used by the NBA this season and he isn't afraid to say so.
"I think the new ball is terrible," O'Neal said on Monday. "It's the worst decision some expert, whoever did it, made. ... The NBA's been around how long? A hundred years? Fifty years? So to change it now, whoever that person is needs his college degree revoked. It's a terrible decision."
It's only the second time in 60 seasons the NBA has changed its game balls, and the first time in 35 years.
The new model, the league said in a release, "is a microfiber composite with moisture management that provides superior grip and feel throughout the course of a game."
O'Neal, along with many of his Miami Heat teammates, strongly disagree.
"Feels like one of those cheap balls that you buy at the toy store, indoor-outdoor balls," O'Neal said. "I look for shooting percentages to be way down and turnovers to be way up, because when the ball gets wet you can't really control it. Whoever did that needs to be fired. It was terrible, a terrible decision. Awful. I might get fined for saying that, but so what?"
Other factors cited by the league in changing the ball is so that ones used in games will be uniform throughout the league, and that the leather models needed a breaking-in period that won't be necessary with the composite.
"I don't like it, because it's different," Heat backup center Michael Doleac said. "You get used to something, you don't want to change it. ... But in three years, we'll probably all look back and not be able to imagine playing with anything else."
The new composite will be the third type of ball Heat guard Dwyane Wade will use in four months.
Last season's finals were played with the traditional leather ball, then the s World Championship used a ball that was slightly smaller than the NBA model -- something Wade spent most of the summer getting familiar with.
"Now I've got to make another adjustment with a ball that I haven't shot with at all and it's going to be a challenge," Wade said. "That means it's going to take a lot of late nights for me, I'll tell you that, to get really adjusted to the ball because I have no choice."
Wade said the biggest complaint players have with the new ball is the slippage factor, as in how much grip will be lost when players' hands sweat and that moisture gets on the ball.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017