Testing the Basketballs, Part Four: The Bounce
(Btw, Mark Cuban had some actual scientists do actual scientific experiments with the old and new basketballs, and they also used the phrase "Executive Summary." Wild.)
Executive Summary of Our Part Four Findings: When thrown off the fourth level of a multi-purpose stadium such as RFK, the old, leather basketball appears to bounce slightly higher, while the new, synthetic basketball appears to bounce in slightly less predictable directions.
Also, when thrown off the fourth level of a multi-purpose stadium such as RFK, a pumpkin explodes.
"That kind of looks like Georgetown on a Sunday morning after a rough Saturday night," said D.C. United forward Alecko Eskandarian, our guest basketball and pumpkin tosser, as we stared at the remains.
Slightly Longer Version: When Esky got wind of our scientific project, he immediately volunteered to be a second research assistant. I wasn't sure if our research team could accommodate another member, but Esky had flawless credentials, earned during his years as a student.
"When I was in college the funniest thing that I loved to do, I lived on the fifth floor of a dorm and I used to get two-liter bottles of Sprite," he explained. "I would honestly sit there and shake it for a good 30 minutes, shake it for like 30 minutes until the thing was ready to blow. And I would go outside and there was a lot of, like, study groups that would be downstairs, and from the top floor I would just 'whooo,' and chuck it. And I'm not even kidding, this thing would explode. And I'm not kidding, the bottle went like 100 yards. It was the coolest thing."
Based on the time I've spent with United fans, it would seem the supporters have the players they deserve.
Anyhow, the fine folks at RFK Stadium escorted our research team up to the fourth level of the stadium. The security guard who was helping us wanted to take us up to the lower roof, which is the fifth level, but I thought level four was probably good enough. Research assistant No. 1, Jackie Alvarado, stayed at the bottom with the video camera. (Video to come very soon, I promise.) Research assistant No. 2, Alecko Eskandarian, dropped the basketballs over the ledge, and then heaved the pumpkin. The security guard must have thought we were all crazy.
Re: the pumpkin, I was sort of expecting a messy explosion, but it was actually pretty clean. The gourd splintered into one big piece and seven or eight little sections, plus dozens and dozens of seeds. It was surprisingly non-liquid, and very easy to clean up.
Everyone agreed that the old ball bounced higher, but since we didn't have a tape measure and we never even checked the different air pressures, I'll admit that Part Four of our research may not have been of publishable quality. And we never did get to Part Five: The Buoyancy. Sad.
I'll let Esky sum up.
"I think the NBA should kind of look at our team today and maybe change things up and go back to the old ball, because obviously the new ball is crap," he said. "Maybe the third ball [the pumpkin] would be a better option, because no bounce is the best bounce sometimes. I don't know. I've got to go home."
October 27, 2006; 5:14 PM ET
Categories: D.C. United , Weirdness , Wizards
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