After further review…Recently during a National Basketball Association game, the physicality of the action on the court led to one team so incensed that following the game two of their players burst into to their opponents’ locker room and started a brawl. If you have watched NBA games in recent years, you probably could assume this was bound to happen. Unfortunately, trash talk is acceptable in pro sports, but it can, and does, escalate into unnecessary physical contact. The size and prowess of today’s players makes avoiding contact in that 90’ by 50’ rectangle almost impossible. Further, the constant complaining by players and coaches to game officials has turned off many fans.
First, a bit of history. I played, coached, and officiated basketball for 50 years. In those days, it was a two-man officiated game. Any form of contact was to be called a foul. Kareem Abdul Jabbar (aka Lewis Alcindor of U.C.L.A. one of the all-time greats) was unstoppable. But think how much greater he might have been if he were permitted to dunk, which was not allowed until after he graduated. In today’s game, the old term lay-up is almost non-existent; you must “slam-dunk it” or it will be blocked. For many years, NBA rules have permitted tactical contact with an opponent, but it has now escalated into grabbing and pushing.
The physical contact allowed in the NBA has trickled down to college and even high schools. If you have a son playing high school basketball, you probably have noticed how kids try to emulate their “heroes.” (Editor note: Players are not heroes in this writer’s opinion, but they are – or should be – role models.) Many of those NBA players take the role-model responsibility seriously. But far too many, including star players, do not. The role model example applies both on and off the court.
NBA rules’ makers have a lot of work to do. Palming, traveling, moving screens, charging, unnecessary contact are just a few violations and fouls that have allowed this game to get out of hand. It may be an impossible task. Monetary fines are not the answer. What is a $25,000 fine to a player making several million per season? While no fan wants to see their favorite player suspended, that may be the only answer!
Will you log-in your thoughts on to how to make basketball more watchable?
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