Monday, December 14, 2015

Quirky NBA Rules

Here's a bit of fun trivia... The NBA has an NBA Rules History web page that notes some of the rule changes over the history of the League. There are some odd ball rules that have come and gone throughout the ages.

Reducing Late Game Fouling
There were some... interesting rules passed in the 1950s in order to reduce late game fouling. Although I'm not sure what a team late in a game was supposed to do if they were trailing, the other team had the ball, and there was no shotclock.

In the 1950-51 season, a rule was introduced such that after a free throw was made in the last three minutes, rather than the other team getting the ball out of bounds there would be a jump ball between the player who got fouled and the person who committed the foul. So sending a guy to the line to stop the clock might mean two free throws and a loss of possession, if the jump ball didn't go your way.

Naturally, the response was to have a big man foul a little guy, then no problem on claiming the jump ball. This was countered in the 1952-53 season by a rule change that required that the jump ball be between the person who was fouled and the person and the player who was guarding him.

Next year (1953-54) they added another rule to stem late game fouls - a player is only permitted two fouls per quarter. Pick up a third foul and you had to head to the bench for the remainder of the quarter.

I can think of at least one current NBA player whose game would benefit if these rules were revived...

Fighting Rules
A few fighting-related rules were added in the 70s. Fines increased from $50 to $100 for coaches who were ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct and rules were added to address what happens if there are punching fouls on both teams during the same play. (The team that threw the last punch is penalized, as the other team is award possession.)

In 1976-77 a rule was added to disallow aggressive swinging of the elbows, even if there is no contact made. And at the end of the season a rule was put into place that any player who engages in a fight is fined $10,000 and suspended.

Weird Rules from the Late 70s
I'd love to know what prompted these rules to come about (especially the last one):
  • A $25 fine shall be assessed to any player hanging on the rim during pre-game warm-up.
  • Any field goal that, in the opinion of the officials is intentionally scored in the wrong basket shall be disallowed.