Saturday, September 29, 2012

1 Basketball...A Contact Sport?

By Kenny Howell

I know it is Saturday, and it is against federal law to talk about anything other than college football, but I needed to say something about the NBA.

The NBA has said that they are going to try to crack down harder on flopping this season, with the possibility of fines for players who do it. Manu Ginobili might be the first player to lose his whole salary in fines if that is true.

But I think blaming players like Vlade Divac and other European ballers for bringing the idea of flopping from their soccer routes is only part of the problem. They would have never been able to get away with it if the idea of basketball as a contact sport had totally disappeared in recent years.

Now, I feel a little like an old man saying "back in my day, basketball was played like this and all you youngsters are wusses." Not necessarily true, basketball was never like football, and I don't pretend it should be. However, in covering high school games, and watching college and professional, I have noticed that 70 percent (not scientific number at all) of the time a foul is called, it shouldn't be a foul.

Basketball courts are 94 feet long and 50 feet wide. When you have 10 men or women playing in that space, especially ones who are large and extremely athletic, they are going to run into each other. When you get all those down at one end of the court, it certainly is going to happen.

Teams have taken advantage of that with the rise of isolation plays in recent years. Let your best scorer get it to the rim, and hope for a score or a foul. A lot of the times the offensive player will just barrel toward the rim, and the majority of the time if a foul is called, it is on the defense. Even the best defenders, who defend the play extremely well, get called for fouls. Even if they go straight up like their supposed to, and sometimes don't even affect the shot.

This has really soured me on basketball. Basketball was my sport growing up, and I would watch every significant or insignificant game that ESPN would show. But now it seems like I am watching a free throw contest each game, and no one wants to see that.


  1. I konw a certain republican presidential candidate that would fit right in with all the flipping and flopping going on in basketball these days. Seriously, the end of most college basketball games consist almost entirely of free throws which sucks the pacing and enjoyment out of the games.



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