Tuesday, December 12, 2006

On (the now abandoned) synthetic NBA ball

Yes, I'm disappointed that the NBA is switching back to the leather basketball. You can probably guess why if you read my original take on the cruelty-free ball. Of course, you can guess that I'm disappointed that cows will die so that their skins will be used for a game. That's a given. But I understand that if players are reporting cuts due to the ball, something has to change.

But I'm also disappointed that the animal cruelty issue isn't even a part of the conversation. In the blogs I've read about the ball (like here, here, and here), nobody has mentioned the fact that one ball is made from the skin of a dead animal and the other is not. In ESPN's article, there is no mention that one ball requires the killing of animals and the other does not. I would at least like it to be part of the conversation. Instead, the animal rights issue is basically ignored. The issue is presented as a conflict between Stern and the players, and the two balls are treated as morally similar. But they're not. And while I know most of you disagree with me and don't care if an animal's skin is used for a game, at least I wish there was explicit understanding of this fact. It should be something that is acknowledged, at the very least.


  1. Yeah, that is a hard point to ignore during a discussion like that. Whether it has any impact on their opinions of decisions, they should at least state it as a factor.

    Maybe they should just use a coconut. Has anyone suggested a coconut?

  2. I wrote something referring to the synthetic ball in this vein before they scrapped it entirely:


    I guess only hockey, out of the four major sports, is off the hook.

  3. Anonymous1:18 PM

    Why would more cows have to die to make the basketballs? They aren't raising and killing cows for basketball leather, they're raising and killing cows so we can eat them.

    The cows are going to die and be eaten regardless of whether the basketballs are made of leather or not. Deal with it.

  4. Anonymous7:16 PM

    I think it hasn't been mentioned because most news outlets, as dumbed-down as they make most stories, still feel confident that people know that leather comes from cows and microfiber comes from petrochemical factories.