In an effort to protect players and referees, the NBA has banned midcourt sideline television cameras, effective immediately, sources said.
The edict comes a little more than a week after referee Scott Wall rolled his ankle when he tripped over a midcourt cameraman in the Memphis Grizzlies' 102-101 win over the Nuggets on Jan. 21 in Denver. LeBron James suffered an ankle injury when he tripped over a midcourt camera during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season in Atlanta.
The ban will affect national television games in which cameramen were permitted to sit on each side of the floor at midcourt. Those positions were able to get high-quality, low-angle shots of both the floor and the benches.
The National Basketball Referees Association had requested a change recently, sources said. As teams increase the number of 3-pointers and the depth of them, referees have been moving farther out to create angles to officiate. This left them more susceptible to the cameramen near midcourt.
In recent years, the league has made several rule changes to attempt to make sidelines safer for officials and players. Cameramen were moved on the baseline to create more room around the basket, and basket standards have been moved to allow maximum space to land under the rim.