NEWBURY: Back to basketball basics? | Columns
The late James Naismith, an accomplished educator / physician / minister / philosopher, was also an inventor.
A middle school student in 1891, he took seriously the mission of “inventing” an indoor game to replace the “thumbs up” on dreary, cold and snowy days when young people ventured outside just to go. look for firewood.
He proposed “basketball”, a game he proposed to be “an important gentleman’s competition for physical and spiritual development”. Peach baskets were nailed to the walls at each end of the floor, and a guard with a ladder removed the ball when the baskets were made. There were only 10 basic rules. When it became an Olympic sport in 1936, it had hundreds of rules, becoming much more than a board game gone awry. Naismith, who died in 1939, would not approve of the chaos that his “invention” has become …
Instant replay has been added to help officials do things better.
Video reviews from different angles and at different speeds can sometimes help, but the flow of the game is lost in the process. Many people closely involved in sports hate him.
I’ve never seen instant replay to ensure jump fairness, where it could be extremely helpful. Naismith explained that when the ball is held simultaneously by opposing players, it must be thrown into the air at the nearest circle, with both jumpers being challenged to kick the ball towards their teammates …
Here is my beef: the ball is hardly ever thrown STRAIGHT. Usually this favors the “jumper” who may be feeling the “whoosh” of the ball upwards as it passes its nose.
Perhaps not so often – but too often – a jumper kicks the ball BEFORE it reaches its ultimate height, thus favoring the one who ignores the rule.
Where is the replay camera when you need it? Too often officials ignore these infractions and choose to “play”.
Officials could also endeavor to throw the ball RIGHT, also attempting throws of similar elevation.
Players would soon learn that hitting the ball while riding is prohibited.
Strange things often happen during or near in-between …
In a recent NBA game when the Dallas Mavericks beat the Los Angeles Clippers in overtime, Dallas star Kristaps Porzingis suffered a foul as a result of a held ball. The 7’2 “cager called” the unicorn “clapped once – just once – to indicate his pleasure.
Official Kane Fitzgerald didn’t see the applause as an endorsement, quickly assessing a technical foul to the stunned Porzingis.
It should be noted that LeBron James has only been kicked twice in his 19-year NBA career, both times by Fitzgerald. Coincidence? Who knows, but there are six dozen NBA officials. When they seem determined to put their names in bold in the game’s story instead of in the fine print in the score of the box, they deserve the age-old nickname “bunny ears.” There are a lot of knowledgeable and reserved officials, so set back that most fans don’t even remember their presence. Some, however, should be penalized, demoted or even eliminated …
What should coaches and players do when a big part of the game is determining the officials’ temperamental tendencies?
Basketball is becoming an improbable sport to train and impossible to referee, far from the game Naismith had in mind.
We remember the comments of colorful coach Abe Lemons. The late trainer said he needed two more staff – a hairdresser and a psychologist …
My old dad umpired three-day high school basketball tournaments in the 1930s for a total of $ 15. Sometimes tournaments had up to 16 games!
I refereed matches for small schools when I was in college a quarter of a century later. Then two officials were assigned, each receiving $ 15 for working on the girls ‘and boys’ games.
Granted, sheriff’s assistants once escorted us out of the gym after a heated Gustine / Sidney girls game that determined which team would advance to the play-offs. We wanted to leave quietly, but the intense rivalry made a civilian sortie improbable, if not impossible. It was surely not our incompetence …