- The Washington Times - Monday, October 30, 2006

The NBA is using a new game ball this season.

The league says it’s a “microfiber composite with moisture management that provides superior grip and feel throughout the course of a game.”

Shaquille O’Neal says it “feels like one of those cheap balls that you buy at the toy store, indoor-outdoor balls. … Whoever did that needs to be fired. It was a terrible, terrible decision.”

Commissioner David Stern says the new ball is here to stay. …

Stern also wants players to leave their guns at home.

“It’s a pretty, I think, widely accepted statistic that if you carry a gun, your chances of being shot by one increase dramatically,” he says.

Pacers guard Stephen Jackson respectfully disagrees.

When he carried his gun to an Indianapolis strip club earlier this month, he was hit by a car — not opposing bullets. So Jackson shot his gun in the air at least five times to protect his teammates. …

Jackson is the league’s biggest clown, replacing former teammate Ron Artest, whose debut album “My World” hits stores today.

The Tru Warier tells the New York Daily News his favorite track is “Coroner,” which is about a friend who died.

“I’m just talking to the coroner, asking him to bring him back to life,” he said. “It’s based upon a real-life incident, a real close friend of mine. It happens to a lot of my friends. They get into trouble like that.”

“My World” is available wherever fine music is sold. …

Fellow New York native Stephon Marbury wasn’t pushing music — but his new line of shoes — in the offseason.

Marbury headed the 40-city, 17-day Starbury Movement Tour, which was about promoting his $10 shoes, which are available at Steve and Barry’s University Sportswear.

“The kids can feel good about [the shoes] and not feel like I got something on that’s wack,” Marbury says on www.starbury.com.

He adds, “For me, it’s not about the love. It’s about the respect more than anything.” …

Marbury’s former coach, Larry Brown, isn’t getting much love or respect these days.

Brown says he is owed $40 million for the four years left on his contract after he was fired by Knicks owner James Dolan in June.

Dolan says he is withholding Brown’s salary because he refused to follow the team’s media policies and he overstepped his role as coach, becoming involved in personnel decisions.

The two parties reached a settlement last night. Terms were not disclosed.

— Kevin Brewer

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