By Ken Reed
I’m a basketball fan, but I’m not a big NBA fan. I prefer college and high school basketball. I like the passion and intensity levels at the college and high school levels. Plus, in the high school and college games there isn’t the constant complaining and moaning to officials after nearly every call, like you find in the NBA.
That said, I really enjoy the NBA playoffs. The intensity is turned up, and combined with the elite talent and athleticism of the players, some great games and individual performances are the result.
However, I am annually curious as to why the NBA officials refuse to call obvious traveling violations. It’s not like they ignore other basketball rules. On the rare occasions when you see a double dribble, for example, it is almost always called. Seemingly innocuous contact on the perimeter by defenders is called on a regular basis. If an offensive player driving to the hoop extends his off-hand — even a little — an offensive foul is likely to result. Sure, NBA officials let a lot of pushing and shoving in the post area go but that’s often true in college and high school games as well.
But traveling? It’s almost a non-existent call in the Association. Players regularly get from the free throw line to the hoop without taking a dribble. It’s not unusual to see on replays that a player has taken three (and sometimes four) full steps before finishing a shot.
So, the question is why? Why does the NBA apparently believe that if a traveling violation is called the game will be ruined?
I know numerous basketball fans and coaches at the college and high school levels — some would call them basketball purists — who hate the NBA solely because they refuse to call traveling.
Do NBA executives think their fans will march out of arenas and never come back if a game has five traveling calls instead of zero?
It’s not like the NBA players couldn’t play the game without traveling. They all know what traveling is due to their experiences in high school and college (or in European or other overseas leagues). If the NBA decided to call traveling again, these players would quickly adapt.
Bottom line, the lack of traveling calls is annoying. (Almost as annoying as seeing virtually every NBA player barking and crying after every whistle.)
The NBA should either call traveling as defined in the rule book (basically, two steps: the pivot foot once it leaves the floor can’t return to the floor without the ball being released) or change the rule so that players are allowed three or four steps before traveling will be called.
Now, back to the playoffs.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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