The basketball, set to debut tonight as the NBA begins its 61st season, is made of a microfiber composite rather than the leather that has been used for decades, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday.
"Bring the old ball back," the Rockets' Tracy McGrady said. "I don't care about old rules, the defense, I don't care about any of that. Just bring the old ball back."
"It feels like one of those cheap balls that you buy at the toy store," said Miami star Shaquille O'Neal.
The NBA and ball manufacturer Spalding said the ball was replaced because the design allowed for inconsistencies that made the balls less uniform, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
"We didn't receive complaints about the old ball specifically," said Stu Jackson, the NBA's vice president of operations. "But the benefits of the new ball, the players will benefit from as well... Players don't have to mark their practice balls to identify a game ball. They won't have to look at the color of the game ball or bounce it."