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 #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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