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NBA Announces John Salmons' Arm is Now Part of the Ball

LOS ANGELES, October 25 -- The National Basketball Association announced Thursday it will debut a new ball at the start of the 2007-08 regular season after a successful test run in an October 24 preseason game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Sacramento Kings.

The new ball will still be made out of the leather, but John Salmons' forearm will be attached to it.

"We're very excited about the possibilities John Salmons' forearm adds to the game," said David Stern, NBA commissioner. "It added complexity to the Clippers and Kings game, especially in the final seconds. With the old ball, that would have been a foul when Cuttino Mobley raked John across the arm in the act of shooting a three to win the game. A foul would have led to free throws deciding the game, and that's not exciting. With the new ball, John's forearm is fair game. It makes for a better product."

The Clippers led 92-90 with seconds left when Salmons attempted a three-pointer. He incited Mobley to leap with a pump fake, and then went up. Replays showed Mobley clearly grabbing Salmons' forearm, causing the shot to come up short.

"I thought Cat really grasped the impact of the new ball and how that figured in our defensive strategy," said Clippers head coach Mike Dunleavy. "We practiced that play in our shootaround, and it really paid off for us."

The new ball did cause some problems for the players, however. The forearm attached to the ball caused some problems dribbling and shooting. In one instance, Francisco Garcia attempted to receive a pass and got poked in the eye by the ball's wayward pinkie. Brad Miller attempted to use the ball to his advantage in the first quarter, by whipping the ball to a teammate by holding onto the forearm, as with a lacrosse racket. The ball came detached from the forearm, however, causing a short delay in play.

With his one remaining arm, Salmons shot 6-10 and scored 13 points.