As it turns out, Deflategate isn’t a new scandal.
Phil Jackson admitted in a 1986 story published in the Chicago Tribune that the New York Knicks used to deflate balls to get a rebounding and offensive advantage.
“What we used to do was deflate the ball,” said Jackson, who played for the Knicks from 1967-78. “We were a short team with our big guys like Willis [Reed], our center, only about 6-8. and Jerry Lucas also 6-8. [Dave] DeBusschere, 6-6. So what we had to rely on was boxing out and hoping the rebound didn’t go long.
“To help ensure that, we’d try to take some of the air out of the ball. You see, on the ball it says something like ‘inflate to 7 to 9 pounds.’ We’d all carry pins and take the air out to deaden the ball.
“It also helped our offense because we were a team that liked to pass the ball without dribbling it, so it didn’t matter how much air was in the ball. It also kept other teams from running on us because when they’d dribble the ball, it wouldn’t come up so fast.”
Thanks to Todd Radom for tweeting the story:
Phil Jackson has responded to the article, saying the balls the Knicks used were deflated, but not below the 7-9 pounds prescribed on the basketballs.
And the Deflategate drum beats on.