If there were one word that best described the inner workings of the NBA lately it would be “change”.
Over the course of the last five months, we have seen the league adjust its instant replay system, clamp down on flopping and place a time restriction on pregame handshake rituals. And on Wednesday, the NBA adds one more amendment to the game, this time to the All-Star game.
So long NBA center.
Hello, “undefined frontcourt players”?
NBA.com and TNT’s David Aldridge reports the league will announce a change to its balloting that will allow fans to vote for three “undefined frontcourt players”, instead of the traditional two forwards and a center.
Having a center is the only specific position that was singled out on the ballot. It just seemed a little outdated and didn't represent the way our game has evolved,” said VP of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson.
“By the same token, it also affords the same opportunity, if you have two good centers in a given year, pick 'em both. They both can be selected. Which is impossible right now.
As Jackson said, the game has evolved. So it is no wonder the NBA is spending no time in helping facilitate and advance an era of change around the league. It is all part of the greater master plan by the NBA to perfectly package the brand as it looks ahead to moving basketball forward — and eventually overseas.
The league implemented an agent of change back in July by altering video replay to the final two minutes of overtime games and also to instantly review Flagrant Foul calls during games this season. Such technology has proven beneficial to protecting the game in the past, and really was the precursor to the NBA’s next adjustment.
It’s a beast the league has failed to slay throughout the years and has grown increasingly embarrassing, so in early October the NBA finally threw down the gauntlet. Players faking or exaggerating foul calls are now fined a hefty amount for their acting skills: a warning the first time, a $5,000 fine for a second violation, a $10,000 for a third offense, $15,000 for a fourth offense and a whopping $30,000 for the fifth. From there it grows into a suspension area no player will want to approach.
And then last week, the NBA come strong again much to the dislike of some players around the league.
Is the NBA being that fickle over fistbumps?
It all comes down to the time. The league is now taking steps to cut down on pregame handshakes and rituals between players by enforcing a 90-second rule. The clock will be running, complete with a horn at the 30-second mark and offenders will have a delay of game violation placed on their team.
LeBron's chalk toss and D-Wade's rim pull ups — you have been warned.
So, finding out the league is removing the center position from the All-Star Game this week really should not come as a big surprise.
Not at all.
With where David Stern is taking the league — lets not forget about the pending NBA jersey ads that will apparently generate $100 million in revenue and the plan for expansion to Europe – it is all part growing the game through steady change.
If NBA players and fans do not like it, they had better learn to.