It may come as a surprise that our favorite basketball team, the San Antonio Spurs use oil & gas in every game. From the nosebleed seats to the free throw line and down to the tiny threads that make up hoop nets, everything you see on (and off) the court is made by oil and gas.
ConocoPhillips explains in their article, “Natural gas is key to making the nets that allows superstars to aim for “nothing but net.” Today’s nets are polyester, which is made from a chemical reaction involving petroleum. Crude oil is refined to produce a hydrocarbon called naptha, then the naptha is used to make ethylene, which in turn is used to produce PET, polyethylene terephthalate, which is used to manufacture products like polyester. Additionally, another petrochemical, polypropylene – also produced partially from gas, oil and propane – is added to the bottom of the nets to help them withstand those jaw-dropping big dunks.
“Uniforms also benefit from the use of petroleum byproducts. In the early days, NBA jerseys and shorts were made from materials like satin, cotton and plain polyester, which are not exactly breathable. In the 1970s, mesh polyester came into play, with moisture-wicking technology improving through the 1990s and early 2000s. Today’s uniforms use mesh technology to help draw moisture and heat away from players as they sprint across the court. This material is a 190-gram polyester blend – you guessed it, manufactured using a chemical reaction involving petroleum.
“Those talented enough to actually play in these big games (and many of their fans ) relied on planes, propelled by kerosene jet fuel, for transport to their opponent’s arena. In fact, during the 2015-2016 season, NBA teams traveled more than 1.3 million miles to games – a distance that requires a lot of petroleum products. (To see how far your favorite team traveled last season please click here.)”
We in San Antonio are proud of our Spurs and we wouldn’t be the same city without our team. We also need to realize that our team depends on the health of the industry to keep the NBA intact. Without a bustling and thriving oil & gas industry, the entertainment and sports industries couldn’t sustain itself for long, causing a lot of sad fans and unemployed players, coaches, referees and arena staff. So the next time you see a basketball, remember that the oil and gas industry provides us all with the privilege to play and watch this great game that we all love.