Title:
BASKETBALL WITH ACCESSIBLE CHANNELS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A basketball formed of two sets of panels. The first panel set extends along a first longitudinal direction of the basketball, while the second panel set extends along a second longitudinal direction of the basketball that is orthogonal to the first longitudinal direction of the basketball. A channel separates the first panel set from the second panel set. The channel itself has two portions. The first portion runs between the end edges of the first panel set and the center portion of the second panel set, and is substantially parallel to the second longitudinal direction. The second portion runs between the end edges of the second panel set and the center portion of the first panel set, and is substantially parallel to the first longitudinal direction. With some examples, each panel set is made up of two panels, providing the basketball with four panels.



Inventors:
Nascimento, Christopher J. (Beaverton, OR, US)
Spencer, Karen Nkatha (Beaverton, OR, US)
Geisendorfer, Glenn (Atlanta, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/609828
Publication Date:
06/12/2008
Filing Date:
12/12/2006
Assignee:
Nike, Inc. (Beaverton, OR, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B41/08
View Patent Images:
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Other References:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arcuate; retrieved on April 24, 2013.
Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BANNER & WITCOFF, LTD (& attorneys for client 005127 1100 13th STREET NW SUITE 1200, WASHINGTON, DC, 20005, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A basketball, comprising: a first panel set extending along a first longitudinal direction of the basketball; a second panel set extending along a second longitudinal direction of the basketball orthogonal to the first longitudinal direction of the basketball; and a channel separating the first panel set from the second panel set, the channel having a first portion between end edges of the first panel set and a center portion of the second panel set that is substantially parallel to the second longitudinal direction, and a second portion between end edges of the second panel set and a center portion of the first panel set is substantially parallel to the first longitudinal direction.

2. The basketball recited in claim 1, wherein the first panel set includes two panels.

3. The basketball recited in claim 2, further comprising a second channel between the panels in the first panel set.

4. The basketball recited in claim 3, wherein the two panels are symmetrical about the second channel.

5. The basketball recited in claim 1, wherein the second panel set includes two panels.

6. The basketball recited in claim 5, further comprising a second channel between the panels in the second panel set.

7. The basketball recited in claim 6, wherein the two panels are symmetrical about the second channel.

8. A basketball, comprising: a plurality of panels, and a plurality of channels, such that a channel separates adjacent panels, and each channel is formed of channel segments that are substantially straight over a surface of the basketball.

9. The basketball recited in claim 8, further comprising four channels.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a basketball. Various aspects of the invention are particularly applicable to basketballs that have a channel accessible at every portion of the basketball.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

From elementary schools to professional leagues, basketball players are continuously trying to improve their shooting accuracy. One important feature of a basketball shot is the position at which a player locates his or her hands to throw the ball. Many experts believe that one desirable hand position for throwing a basketball is with the fingers of the player's throwing hand positioned along or close to the channels separating the panels of the basketball. With conventional basketballs, however, the channels curve sharply at the poles, making it difficult if not impossible for a player to use the channels as a guide for hand placement.

For example, FIG. 1 illustrates a front perspective view of a conventional basketball 101. The basketball 101 is formed of a plurality of panels 103. Some of the panels 103 are separated by a pair of longitudinal channels 105 that pass through the poles 107 of the basketball 101. Other panels 103 are separated by semi-longitudinal channels 109. As seen in this figure, the longitudinal channels 105 are substantially straight over the entire surface of the basketball 101. Because these channels 105 are straight, they provide excellent guidance for placement of a player's fingertips to shoot the basketball 101. The semi-longitudinal channels 109 also are substantially straight near the equator of the basketball 101, but segments 109A of the channels 109 curve sharply near the poles 107. Thus, a player cannot use the segments 109A as a fingertip placement guide when shooting the basketball. During game play, a player may not have the opportunity to change the orientation of the basketball 101 so that the poles 107 are horizontal and the straight portions of the channels 109 face the player. Accordingly, it would be beneficial to provide a basketball with channels that are substantially straight over every portion of the basketball.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Advantageously, various aspects of the invention relate to a basketball having a plurality of panels, each of which is separated from an adjacent panel by a channel. Each channel is then formed of channel segments that are substantially straight over a surface of the basketball. According to various examples of the invention, the basketball is formed of two sets of panels. The first panel set extends along a first longitudinal direction of the basketball, while the second panel set extends along a second longitudinal direction of the basketball that is orthogonal to the first longitudinal direction of the basketball. A channel separates the first panel set from the second panel set. The channel itself has two portions. The first portion runs between the end edges of the first panel set and the center portion of the second panel set, and is substantially parallel to the second longitudinal direction. The second portion runs between the end edges of the second panel set and the center portion of the first panel set, and is substantially parallel to the first longitudinal direction. With some examples of the invention, each panel set is made up of two panels, providing the basketball with four panels. With implementations of the invention, one or both of the panel sets may include only a single panel, or three or more panels.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a front perspective view of a conventional basketball.

FIG. 2 illustrates a right side perspective view of a basketball according to various examples of the invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a left side perspective view of a basketball according to various examples of the invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates a front planar view of a basketball according to various examples of the invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a left side planar view of a basketball according to various examples of the invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a right planar view of a basketball according to various examples of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 2-6 illustrate a basketball 201 that may be implemented according to various embodiments of the invention. As seen in these figures, the basketball 201 has a first set of panels 203 and a second set of panels 205. With the illustrated example, the first set of panels 203 includes a first panel 207 and a second panel 209. The second set of panels 205 then includes a third panel 211 and a fourth panel 213. The first panel set 203 and the second panel set 205 are separated by a channel 215.

As may be best seen in FIGS. 3, 5 and 6 the panels 207 and 209 in the first panel set 203 are themselves separated by a channel 217. Further, in the illustrated examples of the invention, the panels 207 and 209 are symmetrical about the channel 217. It should be appreciated, however, that other embodiments of the invention may have panels in the first panel set 203 that are asymmetrical about the channel 217. Similarly, panels 211 and 213 are separated by a channel 219. In the illustrated examples of the invention, the panels 211 and 213 are symmetrical about the channel 219, but with other embodiments of invention, the second panel set 205 may have panels that are asymmetrical about the channel 217.

It also should be appreciated that still other implementations of the invention may have fewer or more panels in one or both of the panel sets. With some embodiments of the invention, for example, the first panel set 203 may have only a single panel, or it may have three or more different panels. Similarly, with some embodiments of the invention, the second panel set 205 may have only a single panel, or it may have three or more different panels.

As shown in FIG. 5, the first panel set (i.e., panels 207 and 209) extends along its length in a first direction 221, such that the channel 217 passes through a first pole 223 of the basketball 201. Likewise, as shown in FIG. 6, the second panel set (i.e., panels 211 and 213) extend along its length in a second direction 225, such that the channel 219 passes through a second pole 227 of the basketball 201. Further, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the first direction 221 of the first panel set 203 (i.e., panels 207 and 209) is orthogonal to the second direction 225 of the second panel set (i.e., panels 211 and 213).

Returning now to FIG. 5, it can be seen that, with this configuration, the second panel set 205 extends along the second longitudinal direction 225 of the basketball 201, orthogonal to the first longitudinal direction 221, such that the ends of the second panel set 205 of the basketball intersect a center portion 203A of the first panel set 203. Similarly, as shown in FIG. 6, the first panel set 203 extends along the first longitudinal direction 221 of the basketball 201, orthogonal to the first longitudinal direction 225, such that the ends of the first panel set 203 of the basketball intersect a middle portion 205A of the second panel set 205.

Moreover, the channel 215 has segments 215A and 215B located between end edges of the second panel set 205 and the center portion 203A of the first panel set 203. As shown in FIG. 5, these channel segments 215A and 215B are substantially parallel, over the surface of the basketball 201, to the first longitudinal direction 221. The channel 215 also has segments 215C and 215D, located between end edges of the first panel set 203 and the center portion 205A of the second panel set. As shown in FIG. 6, these channel segments 215C and 215D are substantially parallel, over the surface of the basketball 201, to the second longitudinal direction 225. Thus, each channel 215-219 is formed of channel segments that are substantially straight over a surface of the basketball 201.

In addition to providing channels 215-219 that are substantially straight over the surface of the basketball 201, various configurations also provide a basketball 201 that has a relatively uncluttered appearance over its entire surface. For example, as seen in FIG. 1, with the conventional basketball 101 each of the channels 105 and 109 intersect or come close to intersecting at the poles 107. This aggregation of channels 105 may thus create a visual distraction for a player. For example, a player may believe that he or she must shoot the basketball 101 so that the line between its poles 107 remains parallel to the ground and orthogonal to the direction of travel. Accordingly, such a player may be immediately led by the visual congestion around the poles 107 to realign the basketball 101 prior to shooting. This realignment may cause a critical delay that allows another player to block the shot or allow playing time to expire. With various examples of the invention, however, entire surface of the basketball 201 is relatively uncluttered, freeing the player from such visual distraction.

In the illustrated embodiments, each of channels 215-219 has a width of about 7/16 inch (about 6.0 mm). Of course, it should be appreciated that the width of the channels 215-219 may be wider or narrower, as desired. The basketball 201 may be formed using any desired construction, such as any conventional basketball construction. For example, with some implementations of the invention, the basketball 201 may have an inner portion and an outer covering. The inner portion may include, e.g., consists a bladder and a carcass. With various examples of the invention, the bladder may be formed of butyl rubber, while the carcass may be formed of threads of nylon, polyester or other suitable material wound around the bladder. The outer covering can then be formed of any desired synthetic rubber, rubber, composition material, or leather. With some implementations of the invention, the outer covering may be formed of laminated rubber. The rubber may be natural or synthetic, and the rubber may be laminated with any desired material, such as polyurethane. Thus, the panels 207-213 may be formed of leather or synthetic material, and may have a texture to enhance gripping. Still further, the basketball 201 may be formed without an inner portion, i.e., such that the outer covering serves also as the airtight bladder for the ball. Various techniques and materials for constructing basketballs (and other game balls) are well known in the art, and thus will not be discussed here in more detail.

With some examples of the invention, each of the panels 207-213 may be formed of a separate piece of material, with the channels 215-219 falling along the seams of the separate pieces of material forming the panels 207-213. With these examples of the invention, a layer of sealing material, such as rubber, may be applied at the seams to form the channels 215-219. With still other examples of the invention, however, two or more of the panels 207-213 may be formed of a single piece of material. The channels 215-219 may then be formed by depressions in the material piece or pieces making up the panels 207-213.

CONCLUSION

While the invention has been described with respect to specific examples including presently preferred modes of carrying out the invention, those skilled in the art will appreciate that there are numerous variations and permutations of the above described systems and techniques that fall within the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.





 
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