Posts tagged with "NBA"

NBA drops Spalding as official basketball supplier after 37 years

May 15, 2020

The NBA has “bounced” Kentucky-based Spalding off its list of suppliers—ending a 37-year relationship with the sporting goods company that produced its custom-made basketballs, the league announced on Wednesday, May 13.

The new contract for the game balls has been awarded to Chicago-based Wilson, starting with the 2021-22 season, the league announced according to a report by CNBC.

“This partnership with Wilson returns us to our roots as we plan for the future,” Salvatore LaRocca, the NBA’s president of Global Partnerships said in a statement.  “We were partners … dating back to when Wilson manufactured the first official NBA basketballs in 1946, and we look forward to growing the game of basketball together.”

The financial terms of the NBA’s partnership with Wilson were not disclosed.

“Our commitment to growing the game of basketball on the global stage is at the heart of Wilson and our new partnership with the NBA,” Kevin Murphy, GM of Wilson basketball division said in a statement. “Our passion for this game and the league runs incredibly deep, as does our history with it. And as we start this new chapter in the game, our focus and energy will be on supporting the league and the players, coaches and fans with the most advanced, high-performance game basketballs possible.”

The end of the NBA’s partnership with Spalding comes as a bit of a surprise in sports circles. The company, which begin making the basketballs exclusively for the NBA starting in 1983, had just advised the league on cleaning equipment once games resume after the COVID-19 stoppage.

After 30 years using leather balls, the company switched to a synthetic version of basketballs in 2006, only to suffer backlash CNBC reports. Spalding eventually sought feedback from players before making another switch.

The company, which produced the world’s first basketball in 1894, became the official backboard of the NBA in 2009.

Wilson is owned by Finland based company Amer Sports.

Research contact: @CNBC

Time out: NBA suspends season after player tests positive for coronavirus

March 13, 2020

The NBA announced on March 12 that the 2019-2020 basketball season has been suspended “until further notice” after one Utah Jazz player  tested positive for the novel coronavirus and another was believed to also have contracted the illness. The league said that it will “use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the … pandemic.”

The NBA initially had reported on March 11 that one member of the traveling team, Rudy Gobert, had tested positive for COVID-19.  “The test result was reported … [just] prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena,” the NBA said in its Wednesday statement. “At that time, tonight’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.”

Earlier in the day, the Utah Jazz tweeted that players Emmanuel Mudiay and Gobert were both ill. Gobert is the only player who has reportedly tested positive for the virus.

Both teams are currently under quarantine and Gobert is being treated by health officials in Oklahoma City, according to the Jazz.

“The health and safety of our players, our organization, those throughout our league, and all those potentially impacted by this situation are paramount in our discussions,” the team said in a statement. “We are working closely with the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], Oklahoma and Utah state officials and the NBA to determine how to best move forward as we gather more information.”

The Associated Press reported that Gobert had “joked” about the illness in a post-practice press interview earlier in the week, during which he “touched all the tape recorders that were placed before him on a table—devices that reporters who cover the Utah Jazz were using during an availability with him on Monday before a game with the Detroit Pistons.

“It isn’t so funny now,” the AP said, noting that, “Gobert is now the NBA’s Patient Zero” for coronavirus in the NBA. The news outlet also reported on the rumor that Gobert’s Utah teammate Donovan Mitchel, had tested positive as well.

Before Gobert finally was tested for COVID-19, he tested negative for the flu and strep throat.

Research contact: @NBA

MLB’s revised drug policy would essentially make weed legal throughout baseball

December 11, 2019

Some players would say that it’s high time: At their winter meeting on December 9, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association reportedly agreed to remove marijuana from the list of banned substances for minor leaguers.

The agreement is set to be a part of a wider deal involving opioid use in baseball, The Athletic reported December 9, according to Fox Business News. Major league players already are not being subjected to marijuana tests, which means pot would essentially be legalized throughout professional baseball.

Minor league baseball players had previously been subjected to a 25-game suspension for the first positive marijuana test; 50 games for the second positive test; 100 games for the third positive test; and a lifetime ban for a fourth positive test.

Indeed, Fox News notes, Major League Baseball’s policy is becoming similar to that of the National Hockey League. The NHL doesn’t punish players who test positive for marijuana but would recommend treatment if a player has “abnormally high levels” of THC in his system.

In the NFL, a player who tests positive for weed the first time enters a substance abuse program. After the second positive result, he gets fined two game checks; and its four game checks after the third positive test. After the fourth, a player gets a four-game suspension; and after the fifth, a 10-game suspension. A player who tests positive for marijuana a sixth time—and it’s hard to believe that a player would continue to smoke marijuana at this point—gets a one-year suspension.

NBA players are subjected to four random tests during the regular season. A player who tests positive the first time enters a substance abuse program,; on the second, he gets a $25,000 fine, on the third positive test, he gets a five-game suspension; and five more games for each subsequent positive test.

MLB and the MLBPA are working on changes to the drug policy in the months after Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs‘ death. Skaggs was found to have two different opioids in his system when he was found dead at a Texas hotel on July 1 prior to an Angels’ game against the Texas Rangers.

Under new the bylaws, players would not be suspended for opioid use but would be placed into a treatment program instead.

MLB and the MLBPA have not finalized their new drug agreement yet. MLBPA head Tony Clark said recently he was optimistic the two sides can agree on the new policy by the end of 2019.

Research contact: @FoxBusiness

Calling the shots: Study finds that coaching can win the day for collegiate and pro sports teams

March 19, 2019

You can’t win them all—but a good coach can help a collegiate or professional sports team rack up points on a regular basis. Those are the findings of a University of Chicago study on the importance of leadership in athletics.

Scholars at the university’s  Harris School of Public Policy analyzed hundreds of seasons of data—including wins and losses, and sports scores and statistics— and found that coaches account for 20 % to 30% of the variation in team outcomes.

To reach their findings, Professor Christopher Berry and Associate Professor Anthony Fowler looked at the impact of coaching in Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, college football, and college basketball.

“Coaches are often credited or blamed for their team’s success or failure, and are compensated as if they are among the most important assets a franchise possesses,” said Berry. “We find that coaches do, in fact, matter—and suggestions that coaches are interchangeable, which has been the dominant view in the sports analytics community, are not true. In every sport we studied, we found that coaches impact variables that contribute to a higher winning percentage.”

The study came up with a number of findings, which Berry and Fowler presented March 1 at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston—among them:

  • MLB managers affect runs scored, runs allowed, run differential, and victories. They have greater impact on runs allowed than on runs scored.
  • NFL coaches affect points allowed and the point margin. They significantly affect the number of fumbles and penalties a team commits.
  • Coaches matter more in college football than in the pros. They significantly affect points scored, points allowed, point differential,  and victories.
  • Coaching is highly significant in both NBA and Division I college basketball outcomes—influencing points scored, points allowed, point differential and victories.
  • NHL coaches matter, although they matter much more for goals allowed than for goals scored.

“Although virtually every aspect of player performance has been examined since the recent emergence of sports analytics, we wanted to bring the same level of rigor to coaches as there is for everyone else on the field at a major sporting event,” Fowler said.

The study was conducted with a method called randomization inference for leadership effects, which accounts for player quality and strength of schedule. Berry and Fowler first created the approach to estimate the effects of political leaders on various economic and policy outcomes. The method holds promise for additional research to assess the impact of individual coaches, as well as better understand why and how coaches matter.

Research contact: crberry@uchicago.edu