On behalf of skywalkers
October, 9, 2013
By Henry Abbott
But for the fact that it happened in preseason, this play is about as awesome as NBA basketball gets.
Hats off to you, Mr. Glen Rice Jr. This unplanned, acrobatic, final-second, putback, game-extending psychoslam? This is precisely what people buy tickets to see.
What didn't make the clip, however, was the excitement-sucking hand-wringing that followed. First the officials talked for an age. Video was reviewed. Would the basket even count? For a while, superdunker Rice could do nothing but look glum, wondering if the most awesome play of his nascent career would even count.
The big concern? This play was almost illegal. It wasn't about the clock, which he beat by a cool half-second.
It was about the fact that the NBA has a rule banning awesome plays -- specifically the kinds of awesome plays that begin with the ball above the rim. This has been bugging us at HoopIdea for a while.
If the review found that Rice had snatched the ball while it was "in the cylinder" above the rim, the play would have been disallowed, the Wizards would have lost in regulation, and Rice would have been in the doghouse for poor judgment.
For this reason, NBA players are generally cautious and hesitant about going up to get balls like that.
Which is a crying shame.
There are some theories about why the NBA needs a rule like that. But know this:
- David Stern has said he would like to let players grab, dunk, block or do what they will with the ball above the rim.
- The NBA has tested Stern's proposal in the D-League for years, and the head of the D-League says it has created a steady stream of exciting plays like Rice's, with no downsides, injuries or complaints of any kind. Only more excitement.
- It has been working well in international hoops.
A lot of HoopIdeas really stretch the imagination or seem tough to turn into reality. This one? This one's simple. There's video of a fantastic moment. Let's encourage high-flying players to make more of them. The commissioner is for it. It has been proved as a good move in multiple leagues. Just do it.