As you may or may not have noticed during this year's Olympic games, the FIBA basketball floor looks a lot more like the NBA court than it used to.
As time is moving on and basketball becoming more popular around the globe, it's not surprising to see an increasing uniformity of the rules.
Unless, of course, you're trying to launch a new alumni summer basketball league and then all bets are off and this is 'Nam, Walter, and there aren't rules.
Well, okay, there are some. What the hell are we talking about? Find out after the jump.
If you're feeling a little lost, The-BALL (Basketball Alumni Legends League) wrapped up it's two-day showcase unveiling Sunday night at Saint Joseph's.
The league, founded by former filmmaker Michael Wranovics, is meant to give former college standouts -- guys like Pat Carroll and Curtis Sumpter, who played their final games as professionals last night -- an extra opportunity to earn some cash by playing ball during the summer. It also aims to give fans the chance to see some old favorites they haven't in a while. You can read more on Wranovics' vision, scheduled to start in full force in summer 2013, by clicking here.
In an effort to differentiate itself, The-BALL, as upstart leagues are wont to do, has gone ahead and tweaked the rules and conventions of basketball just a bit. On the whole, the changes are actually kind of amusing and surprisingly palatable with one very notable exception. This isn't the full list of differences -- which you can read here -- but a list of the ones that immediately stood out.
-- A four-point line that extends the shooter 25 feet from the basket.
-- All and-one shooting fouls automatically result in three-point plays upon a made basket.
-- All non-shooting fouls result in one free throw attempt worth two points.
-- All quarters start with a tip-off and each team has to use a different player at each jump—no repeats.
-- The 30-second shot clock becomes a 20-second shot clock inside of five minutes to play.
-- Teams do not enter the bonus until the opposing squad registers 16 total personals.
-- Once a team is in the bonus, all fouls result in one free throw, again worth two points, and the shooting team retains the basketball.
-- There's a live band, whom I believe went by the name "Supreme and the New Experience" (but don't hold me to that), who played before and after the game and during all breaks. This isn't a rule change, but it was really phenomenal anyway.
Alright, we'll start with the good or plainly acceptable. Watching Dionte Christmas score eight points in two possessions removed any and all skepticism related to the four-pointer. As for the auto-and-ones, it really doesn't get in the way of the game at all and it's surprisingly easy to accept. Same with the one free throw worth two points -- there's suddenly a whole lot more drama surrounding a free throw; if he makes, well okay, and if he doesn't, "oh sh*t that was worth two points, this guy's confidence at the line is going to go down faster than normal!"
As for the bad, critics of the game of basketball often complain about how badly the game can break down inside of a minute to play. The trailing team starts fouling to buy time, constant trips to the foul line ensue, one minute takes twenty to play and you know the deal. But here's the thing, that's a wrinkle in basketball you really can't do away with. And giving the team the ball back when they're in the bonus completely negates this strategy.
Granted, the diminished shot clock and four-point line could certainly make things interesting, and if desperation starts sooner than normal teams might stand a chance to come back; but of all the rule changes, that one felt the least like real basketball. There was just something plainly and profoundly oft-putting about it.
On the one hand, you could say it's fair for an upstart league to want to garner as much interest as possible, and changing a few things could conceivably do that. On the other hand, this league is trying to appeal to people like me -- basketball addicts, because only basketball addicts are pining to watch Mark Tyndale play basketball again. We're pining for that because we're already addicts, and thus don't need to be further incentivized by gimmicks.
Then again, most diehard fans are the people who will complain about how things are going only to keep showing up. So if you're not losing what you presume to be your core base by making a few changes, it can't hurt to try to spark the interest of a few others along the way.
You just have to be make sure your diehards are really diehards, which the league in question obviously hasn't done yet. But once you've got the word out, you can go for broke.
Bear in mind the conclusion here is more theoretical than practical as specifically related to The-BALL, which only drew maybe 500 people last night. But I studied philosophy, so I'm a theory guy.
As always, your thoughts on whatever you'd like to address?