NBA COMMISSIONER ADMITS BOOGER BALL TRIAL “HAS FAILED”
NBA Commissioner David Stern was forced last night to make an embarrassing admission: that the trial to replace regulation basketballs with boogers had failed.
At a packed press conference in New York City, a nervous Mr. Stern, 69, admitted that the trial period for the Booger Ball had been terminated, and that it would not be used during the NBA play-offs, due to begin in weeks.
In January the NBA board decided to replace the regulation basketball with a large fleck of human snot during a controversial pre-season trial period.
“In light of dwindling fan interest, and parallel slumps in sponsorship revenue, the board decided to take serious action,” Mr. Stern said last night.
“The board decided to trial some changes that we thought would make our great game even greater—making basketball more family-friendly, more exciting, and more fun. We settled on the Booger Ball. We erred in our judgement.”
The first Booger Ball was unveiled in December during an exhibition match between Cleveland and Chicago, and was met by a disbelieving crowd.
“Where’s the ball?” asked spectators, unable to see the piece of booger from the stands.
In addition to attracting the scorn of fans and players alike, the Booger Ball did not conform to the NBA’s own strict codes regulating the introduction of new equipment.
“The NBA board understands that our judgement has caused confusion amongst our players and our fans. The board also accepts that the Booger Ball does not conform to our own strict codes which regulate our game’s laws and equipment,” Mr. Stern said.
The so-called “NBA bible”—the 470-page manual outlining the laws of the game, and providing standards of efficacy for the introduction of new laws and equipment—touches briefly on the ball itself.
The manual, in Section 7a, declares: “the ball must be able to be bounced, thrown, shot and passed in a fashion amenable to the rhythm and the laws of basketball”.
It is clear that a human booger falls well short of this mark.
Mr. Stern finished his brief statement last night by saying: “We have made a great mistake. We hope that it does not cause any lasting damage. Our fear is that faith in our game may be shaken. That must not happen. We will be reintroducing the regulation ball immediately, and with it we hope the crowds return also.”
Perhaps more so than fans, players were united in their derision for the Booger Ball. Asked for comment after a training session, Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard said: “Who came up with this crazy sh–? You can’t replace a ball with a booger! You can’t bounce a booger. You can’t shoot a booger. Man, sometimes you can’t even see the booger!”
Howard’s frustration has been widely reflected in the NBA community, made obvious in a 1,400 signature petition signed by players, coaches and owners. This wave of protest was believed to have broken just days before Mr. Stern’s announcement.
The petition, which this reporter has seen, cites the “impracticality of, and the repulsion caused by, the Booger Ball” as the two principle reasons for the rejection.
The petition reveals a wide reluctance amongst players to even handle the new Booger Ball. “Whose gonna touch another man’s booger?” asked Atlanta Hawks centre Al Horford.
“No. I’m not gonna touch another man’s booger. I mean, who gets to decide whose booger it is? You gotta bring back the ball.”
The regular ball has been brought back, but how much damage the Booger Ball has done to Mr. Stern and basketball itself is difficult to say.