FIBA Goal tending rules hit the D-League

FIBA, the “Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur” (French, in case you were wondering) dropped “Amateur” in 1986, although they kept the letter “A” in the acronym. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, FIBA governs international basketball competition the world over — including the Olympics.

You don’t even have to have players on the court to see how different FIBA basketball is from basketball in the United States. Just look at the trapezoid shape of FIBA’s key.

According to television announcers calling the 2010 championship game, America’s now famous victory of Turkey in Turkey, on free throws, the players in the first rebounding position on the low block of the FIBA key are actually further away from the rim than the players in the second position at the mid post.

FIBA Key

FIBA's senseless key

NBA Key

The NBA's Key

Forgive my frankness, but that’s just dumb.

Thankfully, FIBA has finally woken up to that fact and has changed their key to exactly resemble the NBA key.

Hat’s off to FIBA for making this common sense improvement to the International game.

Another dumb rule FIBA needs to change is their definition of goal tending.

In FIBA competition, once the ball touches the rim, players can bat the ball away or grab the ball off the rim.

In the NBA, the ball cannot be touched if it is on the rim or above the cylinder. This makes sense because it allows a shot that doesn’t happen to be a swish a chance to score if it is going to.

So imagine my utter disbelief when I read this ESPN article. The NBA is considering adopting FIBA’s rules for goal tending, and is piloting FIBA’s goal tending rules in the D-League for the 2010-2011 season. What could David Stern and Stew Jackson be thinking?!

How could they be so out of touch with NBA fans?

Picture this:

It’s game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Championships. The Orlando Magic leads the Cleveland Cavaliers in the series: 1 game to none.

The score is 95 to 93 with Orlando up, and there is just 1 second left in the game. Cleveland has the ball out of bounds on the sideline.

LeBron James catches the inbounds pass at the top of the arc and with Hedo Turkoglu totally in his face, launches a desperate 3-pointer.

In real life, the shot hit the rim, then dropped in, and the hometown Cavs fans went nuts.

But if the NBA were to adopt FIBA’s goal tending rules, (Superman) Dwight Howard could have simply just guarded the rim and spiked the shot away as soon is it touched rim.

What a lame, cowardly way to win a game.

Whether or not a shot is a game winner, it should be allowed to go in the basket (or not) before being touched by players.

FIBA’s goal tending rules are NOT an improvement to the NBA, and it should not even be considered, much less piloted in the D-League.

Besides, what problem would they solve?

It’s not like there is fan outcry for a change in goal tending rules.

This rule change, even in the D-league, looks more like a woman who is bored with her hair so she makes a change — than it does the actions of thoughtful, responsible sports executives caretaking a league millions of fans love.


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