Learn How Alexander City Helped Out In The NBA Finals


UPDATE: This story is written by Tyler Cook from Alabama NewsCenter.  Learn more at:  http://alabamanewscenter.com/

Plenty of 3-point shots swished through nets and dunks rattled rims during this year’s NBA Finals, won last week by the Golden State Warriors. Those electrifying plays – and for that matter, every other play in the series – all have something in common.

The basketballs used in the finals and all NBA games were inspected, tested in and distributed from Alexander City, Alabama.

Spalding is one of the major sponsors of the National Basketball Association and the Women’s National Basketball Association. The company supplies the NBA and WNBA with their basketballs. Every practice and game ball the NBA and the WNBA use makes a stop in Alexander City. Spalding is owned by Russell Brands, based in Bowling Green, Ky. Russell Corp., founded by Benjamin Russell in Alexander City, became Russell Brands.

The basketballs start their journey to Alabama from overseas where they are made. They are then sent to the Spalding distribution center in Alexander City. This is where they are tested and inspected to ensure they are playable.

“The inspection procedure takes about one to two weeks before we distribute,” said Jerry Hu, senior director of product development for Spalding.

Product development and marketing teams from Washington, D.C., and from Bowling Green travel to and from Alexander City to help with inspections, he said.

A thorough process

Numerous things are inspected, like each ball’s weight, circumference, air pressure, cosmetics and even its rebound – the height at which the ball bounces from a certain dropping point, Hu said. This is the start of the “breaking in” process. Players do the majority of the breaking in while playing, but the testing gets the ball rolling.

Breaking in a basketball basically means expanding the leather it’s made of and making the ball softer to handle. Dribbling is an important part of the game, so the softer the ball, along with grip, the better the play.

“The balls you see on TV have been played with for about two to three months prior to being used in the games,” Hu says.

A basketball has no choice but to start off as brand new. That’s not what most basketball players want, because playing with a new basketball can be irritating. Spalding purposefully starts to break in the balls before distributing them in bulk orders to the various teams.

Durability testing and mechanically bouncing the balls on a hardwood surface an average of 50 bounces per ball take place toward the end of the testing process at Alexander City. A good measure of durability is an average of 20,000 bounces, Hu said.

The balls are also detailed at the factory, labeling “Spalding” in bold on the leather. Along with the company logo, labels like the NBA logo, dimensions of the ball and NBA team names are lased onto the ball. For basketballs the professionals use, the signature of the commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver, is written onto the ball.

After passing Spalding’s “Perfect Basketball” inspection, the balls are sent to NBA teams for practice in the late summer. Each team receives 72 balls per order with the team name on the ball, said Hu.

Players will use this time to get the balls to reach a playable point before reaching the spotlight, where the balls will be dribbled and shot and rebounded in NBA games.


Sunday Discussion: Why I Support A Space Jam 2 Movie

Geek Alabama Discussion

Who remembers the first Space Jam movie?  The movie starred Michael Jordan as he and the Looney Tunes played as the Toon Squad in a match against The Monstars on a basketball court in Tune Land.  The Monstars came from a place called Moron Mountain, and if The Monstars won, Michael Jordan was destined for a lifetime of shame at that rundown amusement park.  Since this was a family friendly film, you knew that the Toon Squad would win, and Michael Jordan returned to the NBA.

During filming of the first Space Jam movie, parts of the movie was filmed at the Hoover Met in Birmingham, where the Birmingham Barons was playing before they moved to Regions Field.  So yes, Space Jam does have a Alabama connection.  And since I was a young kid while Michael Jordan was playing with the Barons, I loved seeing Space Jam!  And the movie did very well down here in Alabama.  So to start off, if there is a Space Jam 2, I hope Warner Bros. will film part of the movie in Alabama once again.  There are plenty of places in Alabama where filming can be done!

In late February, several websites reported that a squeal to the 1996 movie was happening and LeBron James would star in the movie.  Later, the reports were retracted and people close to LeBron said the reports were not true.  The first report came from Deadline, which is a very reliable source for Hollywood news.  Later, LeBron said he loved the first Space Jam and he would love to star in a Space Jam 2, if he was chosen to star in the film.  So for now, we are left to speculate if a Space Jam 2 movie is going to happen.  So in this Sunday Discussion Post, I am going to explain why a Space Jam 2 movie would be good for Warner Bros. and kids and families everywhere!

Let’s start with the obvious.  Family Friendly films are doing very well in the movie theaters.  The last big family friendly movie, The Lego Movie, was animated by Warner Animation Group and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.  So, Warner Bros. is wanting to capitalize on the movies that are good for the entire family.  When Space Jam came out back in 1996, many kids nagged their parents to go see the movie.  And I loved the Space Jam movie!  These days, the movies that make the most money at the box office, are the ones that are oriented for a family.

Another reason, the Looney Tunes are still popular today.  You still see Looney Tunes reruns on Cartoon Network, and Tiny Toon Adventures on the Hub Network.  If the Looney Tunes were not popular today, your only option to see the classic cartoons would be online or on DVD.  Warner Bros. believes the Looney Tunes in a movie would bring families out to see the movie in theaters.  Yes, the last movie to feature the Looney Tunes back in 2003,  Looney Tunes: Back In Action, did not do too well, and the studio lost over $10 million on that movie.  But a Space Jam 2 would interest many people, and it’s because of this reason, the NBA!

The NBA is more popular than ever.  There are many stars playing in the game, and having a popular star like LeBron James in a Space Jam 2, would drum up a lot of interest.  And in our social media world, many people would be talking about Space Jam 2 on Twitter, Facebook, and other sites, no matter if the movie was good or bad.  So I hope Space Jam 2 happens.  And if it is made and released, I will go out and see it.  Because it would be a good family friendly film, and the theaters needs more good movies that the entire family would enjoy!

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My Top Blunders of 2011

We all have seen and heard some very crazy things in 2011.  From Charlie Sheen doing one of the worst career moves ever.  And Netflix doing one of the worst business moves ever.  2011 has been a good year watching other people doing stupid things.  Here is my list of the top blunders of 2011.

Charlie Sheen Blunder:

Charlie Sheen did one of the worst things in 2011.  He taunted Chuck Lorre and eventually got fired from the very popular show “Two And A Half Men.”  So what did he do next; he went crazy.  He tried hosting his own web show which was not good at all.  I remember the viewer count dropping like a rock during the web show.  He promoted the word “winning” but was actually losing.  And what is Tiger Blood all about?  Oh well; he is enjoying the $25 million settlement from Two And A Half Men.  Winning!

NFL NBA Lockouts:

Seriously; you all can not find ways to split millions of dollars equally between the owners and the players.  2011 almost went down as a bad year for pro sports.  If you had the NFL and the NBA not playing their seasons; what would sports fans do instead?  Try a new hobby or learn a new skill.  What would ESPN do to fill their schedules with no sports to show?  Luckily none of those things happened.  But one always has to wonder?

Bank Fees:

Over the year 2011 Bank of America and other big banks thought about charging a monthly fee for people using a debit card.  Hardly anyone uses checks anymore and many stores do not take checks anymore.  So the banks thought about being more greedy and sticking it to the customers.  But then something happened; the customer stood up and said enough!  Social media blew up and people demanded the banks not charge any new fees or they would leave.  And the banks gave in; a great victory.  Now Verizon Wireless wants to get into the fee game.  Let’s see how long it will take for Verizon to change their minds.

Anthony Wiener and Herman Cain:

This has been a great year of political blunders.  The two famous politicians with the most problems were Wiener and Cain.  They both committed the same crime.  They thought by doing sexual stuff they would get further in their careers and life.  Anthony Wiener snapped pictures of his junk and put the pictures on the web for everyone to see.  Herman Cain thought he could date and love many women and his career would further even more.  This is a great lesson for everyone.  Doing sexual stuff in public will make you a fool and bring you down.  So just don’t do it.

Kim Kardashian:

Here is more proof the the people in Hollywood are making our youth more dumber.  Kim was only married for 72 days and the wedding was showed on TV.  But the marriage started to break down and it was all recorded to be shown on TV as a junk reality show.  Even worse the ratings for the show were very high.  Looks like many people do not have anything better to do.  This is another lesson for everyone.  TV will not make you famous; it will make your life a living hell.  And your break down will be showed on TV for everyone to make fun of.

Netflix; News Corp.; Blackberry:

This has been a bad year for business.  But some companies wished that 2011 never happened.  Netflix charged more for their services and tried to split of an new company Quikster.  News Corp. had their huge scandal cover up revealed.  You know snooping on people’s phone calls will only lead to big trouble.  And Blackberry had huge outages across the planet.  Many companies are hoping for an better 2012 and company decisions that will not cause customer revolt on social media.


Facebook was in the news for much of 2011.  Much of that was not good news at all.  Facebook had major privacy issues and had sexual images cycling through the news feeds.  Also some users do not like some of Facebook’s new features such as timeline.  So will other social media sites like Google + or Twitter take over and gain new people?  We will see in 2012.

Penn State Scandal:

This was the other huge sports story in 2011 that will harm the university for decades to come.  A huge cover up of sexual activites in a locker room shower was exposed.  And now the entire university has been blown up.  Many top officals of Penn State have been fired or quit and some are now sitting in jail.  There has even been suggestions to change the name of the university.  Another great lesson for everyone.  If you know of something bad happening; report it!