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The whistle from an NBA referee is an unmistakable sound if you’re a basketball fan. Regardless of whether you’re going to like the call or not, it means the game has to be stopped, everything has to be put on hold for a couple of free throws, a turnover, a timeout, whatever. What’s even worse is when the player has a different view and isn’t afraid to voice it to the officials. A minute or so of arguing (unless you’re Rasheed Wallace, in which case it could be mere seconds), and the ref slaps the player with a technical foul.
More arguing, a free throw, and then finally, finally, the game can continue. However, extensive arguing should warrant a technical foul, because the game would never end if it didn’t. Leave it to David Stern to make unnecessary changes to something that will drain the NBA of even more emotion and entertainment that it’s already lost. He lets the wrong people off way too easy, fines owners insane amounts of money for absolutely absurd reasons, and for you conspiracy theorists out there, all but hands teams he prefers playoff spots and titles. But all that stuff is for another day. Today, it’s about this new technical foul junk.
The new rules for the technical fouls are, in a nutshell, that a player basically can’t do anything that resembles arguing a call. Before, some refs would let a lot slide in terms of arguing, and I agree, some of the stars out there should really just shut up and deal with the call that’s made. But if the refs stick to their guns with these new rules, which include giving techs for things like walking in the direction of an official after a call, and talking to the ref at all after a whistle. These games could take an eternity with a team like the Celtics. Granted, Boston doesn’t deserve special treatment, but…come on, David Stern. This is a little excessive.
It gets better, too. The techs won’t be given out just for excessive negative behavior. No, refs get to assign technical fouls to players for things like “air punches”. So now every time Kevin Garnett gets excited (and we all know how he is), he runs the risk of ejecting himself from the game. Can you imagine how many times Perkins is going to be in foul trouble if this new rule really sticks with the refs? Every team has at least a couple of whiners. Every single one. With everyone that’s going to get so steamed for a reason that seemingly has no rhyme or reason behind it, what’s the point?
One of my favorite parts about watching the game of basketball is for the emotion that’s put into it by the players. I love to hate Lebron James, I love to love Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins, and I hope that everyone else can provide enough emotion and entertainment without going over the top. The technical foul guidelines were fine before. Now, the NBA is on the verge of being the soft-serve of all the major American sports.
If you take away the emotional aspects of basketball in its realest form, the NBA is going to look like a bunch of real people in a basketball videogame. And when David Stern is trying so hard to portray such a professional and real image for his corporation, it’s going to be a problem with an enormous potential to backfire. With a lockout possibility in the near future, something like this is the last thing the league needs if they want to retain their fanbase after a lockout. A useless change to a league with enough problems, and one that could already be in a lot of trouble.
What a shame.