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Friday, March 29, 2013
It's time to end intentional fouls

By Royce Webb

A few questions about intentional fouls in the NBA:

Are they good for the game?
No.

Would the game be better if players were intentionally fouled more?
Of course not.

Would the game be better if players were intentionally fouled less?
Yes.

Do intentional fouls discourage players from trying to make plays?
Yes. Research has shown this.

Is it good for the NBA if players are discouraged from making plays?
Of course not.

Do intentional fouls encourage players to play their best?
Of course not.

So intentional fouls mean we aren’t seeing the best basketball?
Obviously.

Are intentional fouls used mostly by inferior players?
Naturally, yes.

Are they used by defenders who can’t stop scorers?
Yes.

Is it fair to just grab a guy who’s beaten you?
No. Everybody who plays the game knows this.

Do intentional fouls discourage fast breaks, dunks and highlight plays?
Yes.

Are intentional fouls fun to watch?
Not usually.

Do they add to the flow of the game?
No. Quite the opposite. They kill the flow of the game.

Do they stop the game at its most exciting?
Yes, just when fans are rising from their seats.

Do they bring the game to a screeching halt?
Yes. They are a signal to fans to sit down.

Are fans more excited when the action is alive or dead?
Alive.

When the game stops, is the action usually alive or dead?
Dead.

Does anyone enjoy watching players and refs wait for action to start?
Of course not.

Does anyone enjoy watching players line up for free throws?
What do you think?

Is it fun to watch a big guy clobber a little guy?
Not usually.

Is it fun to watch a player “wrap up” another player?
Not really.

Are those basketball plays?
Not really.

Did Naismith invent the game for players to grab other players?
No.

Did Bill Russell play the game by grabbing little guys?
No.

Did Wilt Chamberlain? Did he ever foul out of an NBA game?
No. No.

Do intentional fouls bring fans into the game?
No.

Are intentional fouls safe?
No.

Are they ugly?
Yes.

Do they contribute to the artistry and creativity of the game?
No.

Do they lead to more menace and mayhem on the court?
Yes.

Are they bad for the future of the sport?
Yes.

Do they make the NBA more like pro wrestling?
Yes.

Do they make the game harder to officiate correctly?
Yes.

Are players bigger, stronger and faster than ever?
Yes.

Are intentional fouls dangerous?
Yes.

Is that part of the appeal for fans?
Of course.

Do intentional fouls cause injuries?
Yes.

Do they cause concussions?
Yes.

Do they cause players to need painkillers?
Yes.

Could they cause players to take illegal supplements and performance-enhancing drugs for recovery?
Yes.

Does the league like them?
No, but it inadvertently encourages them.

Do players like them?
No, they hate them.

Do coaches like them?
No, they love them.

Are there NBA rules against intentional fouls?
Sort of.

Are intentional fouls punished sufficiently in the NBA?
Obviously not. That’s why they happen so often.

Are intentional fouls allowed in other leagues around the world?
No, they're not.

Is there another league that encourages players to break the rules?
Maybe. If so, that’s pretty dumb.

Do the rules on intentional fouls come from a dumber, outdated era?
Yes.

Are we in a smarter, more informed era now?
Yes.

Do the current NBA rules still encourage intentional fouls?
Yes.

Is it time for change?
Yes.