A dispute in professional basketball about a new ball has bounced its way into a physics lab. A study launched last month at the University of Texas at Arlington compares a controversial plastic ball introduced in preseason games this summer by the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the previous standard—a leather-covered ball. The official basketball season, the first in which the new ball will be used, began this week.
So far, the Texas experiments indicate that the new ball bounces less elastically, veers more when it bounces, and becomes more slippery when damp than does the official leather ball of the past 35 years.
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