Basketball on Butter

Every day, the first thing I do online is check Yahoo for interesting new clips. The other day I happened to stumble across an interesting bit about how an NBA game had to be cancelled because of “unusually slippery conditions” on the court. Before the game could tip-off, it was over.

So why the slippery court?

Arena staff said, “It was simply the wrong solution used on the floor.” Turns out the cleanser used on the floor was oil-based and wasn’t in question when applied. Yeah, it was just a preseason NBA game between two of the most publicized teams (Miami & Orlando), but what really caught my eye was the story. J.J. Redick even said “it would’ve been like playing on butter.” At this point, you’ve got to wonder what the bottle looked like, right? How could such a mistake be made and not fixed in the several hours that staff had after noticing the problem?

Simple surface science.

The Arena staff used a cleanser that was not meant for the polished wood surface, rendering it unplayable. Mistakes like this are made all the time whether it’s cleaning around the house, your clothes, or your car. Using a product that “cleans well” doesn’t always do the trick if it’s not meant for the surface you’re cleaning. Cleansers often leave residual chemicals on the surface that can cause corrosion, etching, or in this case unwanted lubrication if not formulated correctly.

Sometimes it may seem effective, easy, and inexpensive to use all-in-one cleaners, but the risk simply isn’t worth it. I’ve seen leather seats faded and almost sanded down because “409 works great on everything” when they would’ve been better off using water.

Next time you’re in the cleaning mood, make sure the chemicals you’re using are going to be safe and effective on the surface being cleaned or else you may be sending an NBA team home because your floors are too slippery.

  • Yana

    Thanks for an interesting post!