Getting a grip on rules ‘change’

I go back and forth on the new rule that puts a muzzle on players who feel they’ve been shortchanged by the refs. On one hand: They really should shuddup and play. On the other: It’s hard to bite your lip in a tense, emotional moment. Somewhere, there’s a compromise that should satisfy everyone.

But that’s really not the point here. I wonder if eventually, say in about a month or two, this new “rule” will suddenly grow old and quickly vaporize. You know, like the NBA’s supposed crackdown on palming violations 10 years ago. Whatever happened to that rule?

Back in the Allen Iverson days, the league became alarmed with the evolution of the dribble. You can blame it on Tim Hardaway, the unofficial inventor of the crossover. Hardaway’s sleight-of-hand was perfectly legal, if you saw it in slo-mo, because he was that good at pulling it off. But it spawned millions of poor imitators who lifted the ball underneath while changing directions. That’s a palm, or a carry, as they called it back in the day.

It got so bad that today, they actually teach “palming” (ahem, crossover) to little kids. Yes, pretty soon, an entire generation began lifting the ball, pulling the ball, dragging the ball, everything but legally dribbling the ball. And the high schools and colleges looked the other way. Eventually, so did the NBA, for a while.

When Iverson violated every dribble rule in the book to gain an unfair advantage on his defender, the NBA decided to crack down. The “Iverson Rule” was put to test during the preseason and, just like now, players protested. The rule was enforced for roughly two months. Then, it was back to business as usual. Only once in a while, when a palm is just too obvious to ignore, does the whistle blow. Never with two minutes left in a tight game, however.

Basically, the players took ownership of the dribble and rewrote the rule book, and the NBA essentially allowed it to happen. Jamal Crawford, the Sixth Man of the Year, owes his career to palming. So does Dwyane Wade and countless others. And it’s even gotten worse: Now players are lifting the ball for a split second, and just as the defender thinks the player is about to stop dribbling, that player continues his dribble, clearly gaining an advantage because the defender is now off-balance. Phil Jackson calls it the “discontinue dribble” and it is rarely enforced.

The league really needs to uphold the basic rules Dr. James Naismith created. Send a message to teenagers that palming will not be allowed on the highest level. And while you’re at it, clean up traveling, too (the two-steps-and-bunny-hop is especially insulting to the memory of Dr. James). And treat these obvious violations the same, whether the game is a minute old or there’s a minute left. The game will survive, because players will simply adjust, if they want to get paid.

And just think: calling players for palming will really get them steamed at the refs.


  1. Ti Brown says:

    NBA Basketball is still too Black. Again. The only reason these behavior policing policies on millionaires is acceptable to even the most common of us is because we believe we’re watching savages make more money than us and we want to tighten the leash on them. It’s easy to forget these are rich, powerful, adult men, isn’t it?

  2. Giango says:

    You have to understand that players can’t do what they want. The rules have to be respected! Nowadays players always palm the ball and many times they travel ( isn’t it, Dwight??) expecially on the first step.. The NBA has to come back to fundamentals and not has to be based on highlight plays like dunks and that kind of stuffs, it has to come back to DEFENSE!

  3. Cedric says:

    The NBA along with NFL needs to stop with these strick policies that are killing the league fans can’t injoy players expressing themselves in a good way naw when players start getting out of hand to fight or whatever then such actions maybe taken, but to put a band on players just expressing their feelings on a bad call then your killing the business,and hurting players. Unless ref’s make prefect calls which they do not there is no problems with players showing there disapproval the league is taking away the fun, and human rights out these sports. So stop it go back to the old rules if anybody that deserve strick rules would be the ref’s, and the bad calls that are killling the sport, and the game, people are noticing it ref’s.

  4. chill chill says:

    Whats wrong with the NBA???
    In every organization people have wright to fight for theire wright even if they are wrong.
    So basketball players or any other sport players most have theire wright to expres their emotion. I’m totaly against players that always are triying to manipulate the game by constantly crying. But the refs also make a lot of mistake. The beauty of the game is the imperfection of the game.
    So don’t put too much power on one side of the organization. It should remain balanced.
    Let the palyers and the refs remain humans cause we wana watch a human game with human based rules.

  5. chris A says:

    your complaining about this but not new rule they just put? You people are making basketball worse. Players should have the right to show emotions. Players should have the right to do dribble like that. and if the defensive players thinks that its a travel then it sucks for him because you gotta stick your man and play your best defense regardless of whether he broke the rule or not and continue playing the game. NBA is getting worse and worse. Get with today like forreal.

  6. DeTayl says:

    Yup…you can tell the writer of this article never played ball before. Get with the times…its just a hesitation dribble. Quick guards (Iverson, Wade) don’t need to palm the ball for any “advantage”. If you’re going to write an article, at least have a clue of what you’re talking about.

  7. Denise says:

    I thought this article was going to be about the new rule. So im just gonna blab anyway about the new rule. I think they should not implement this rule coz you’re just restraining the player’s emotions.. And players are human too. And i think the refs should do more studying on how to be a referee instead. They make a lot of very bad calls and instead of correcting themselves they are “correcting” the players! What if the call was gonna decide the outcome of the game? The players will obviously express how they feel! And what the commissioner said about us fans want to see the players not complain.. Where did he come up with that conclusion?


    the rule change is stupid. i dont know which sort of fans wanted the rule change with more techs. let the players play. its so much more exciting when its played like that. who in the hell voted against it. change the rules back quickly. we dont wanna see a franchise player ejected at the beginning of a game because he showed a little too much emotion. Whats wrong with being exicted? people lift up thier hands and call things out when they’re excited. basically, the rules need to be changed back. now.

  9. Big D says:

    Did this he actually say that Jamal Crawford owes his CAREER to palming ? You can do better than that Shaun .

  10. mrspydaman says:

    I think the rules should be changed or enforced not just enforced when the refs feel like it or mad at someone or superstar treatment etc… So many argue that today’s players are so much better, nah they just don’t play by the rules.

  11. Jake says:

    Cmon Shuan. The “discontine dribble” is hesitation move, and if you’ve played basketball you know that if you if you take a little harder dribble you can lift your hand up as the ball comes up towards your hand. That gives you a spilt second to decide what the defense is doing and react to it. Basketball is an evolving sport, and it is evolving for the better. Do we really want to go back to the way basketball was played in Naismith’s time? With peach baskets, no backboards, no dunking, two handed set shots, and almost no dribbling!!! Also you can do a pro hop legally if you jump off the dribble and land with two feet (A lot of the time it is a travel though). In a sense, deriding players like A.I. Dwayne Wade, and Jamal Crawford for using crossovers and hesitations is like dissing Elgin Baylor for dunking, or Kareem Abdul Jabbar for a skyhook, or George Gervin for a finger roll. It’s beautiful basketball and sometimes I wish the refs would just swallow their whistles and let the boys play!

  12. Hm. says:

    I think they should go back to the 80s-90s style of play. Don’t let these offenses slide (poor refs have such a hard job ). Let the players show their emotions more freely, but also change the rules back so that handchecking, forearms in the back, and the lack of a defensive 3 seconds rule are also brought back. It’s more entertaining for the audience, and it’ll really distill the b.s. from basketball.

  13. doomsday20 says:

    yeah! your right i dont like it too just like kobe see for your self how’s he dribbles and change his direction and all the rules implemented today are not better or not easy to accept id like the past rules and players they are clean while they are playing but today i don’t think so thats why the old days day have the dream team but today i don’t think so if they right to be called a dream team….. its better to back the old rules….

  14. Aleksandar says:

    Agree totaly for the palming / traveling stuff 🙂