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NBA Goes Back to Leather

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the NBAs balls: the switch from leather to a synthetic ball. The players have been in a snit, complaining about how the ball handles, and much to my dismay (and I’m sure that of PETA, who provided the NBA with information on the horrors of the leather industry), the association will be returning to the traditional leather ball.

It seems like the NBA caved, when it should have tweaked the ball (see Mark Cuban’s blog for his assessment, as well as the University of Texas at Arlington’s Physics department’s assessment, which includes that with minor adjustments, the synthetic ball should handle and perform more like the traditional leather ball, if that’s the goal).

The other option, of course, would be to tell them to suck it up, quit whining, and get used to it. I’m still not sold that the issue is the ball, as every story mentions the players discontent that they weren’t consulted before the initial change.

As for the cows, each one makes four basketballs. According to PETA:

Overseas, where much of the leather used in the U.S. is produced, cows are marched to slaughter for days without food or water, causing many to collapse en route; crowded onto transport trucks, where they frequently break bones, suffocate, or gouge each other with their horns; and often dismembered and skinned while they are still alive. In this country, pigs and cattle are often inadequately stunned so that they are still conscious when their hooves are severed.

The process of tanning leather is also tremendously destructive to the environment, releasing scores of dangerous chemicals into our water supply. Tannery workers and people who live near tanneries are stricken with life-threatening diseases at rates that are many times the national average.

Go to to educate yourself about the leather industry. Then decide for yourself whether you would like to continue to invest in the industry by purchasing its products. Including balls.

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