March Madness All Thanks To Petrochemicals

It’s that time of year again, when basketball fans across the US pin their brackets up on their walls as the nation’s finest college teams battle it out for top honors. But if it wasn’t for petrochemicals, not only would March Madness lose some of its madness, but the sport as we know it today would look very different.

The first basketballs were made from a rubber bladder with leather patches stitched around them. Nowadays, the outside covering of modern basketballs are made of synthetic rubber, a key component of which is the petrochemical butadiene. The rubber bladder still remains inside the basketball, which these days is made of butyl rubber – from the petrochemical isobutylene – and the carcass inside the ball is made from nylon thread. Nylon begins with butadiene and benzene.

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