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5 Strict Rules the NBA Enforces

Written by Sean Smith

Even though this season’s NBA games were cut short due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, it’s exciting to think about what next season’s games and teams might look like. Until then, there are several strict rules NBA players need to follow that fans may or may not know about. Here are just five of the more interesting ones:

  1. No Shattering the Backboard

Shattering the backboard used to be more of a problem in the NBA and would sometimes be the goal in order to get the fans to go wild. Shaquille O’Neal was known for shattering backboards several times. There was always a replacement, but it became costly and delayed the game. To fix this problem, break-away rims were invented and used with great success. If a player should shatter the backboard, the basket wouldn’t count, the player would get an unsportsmanlike technical foul, and he would be heavily fined for this action.

  1. No Logos Except for Shoes

Advertisers used to like to have their logos on NBA players’ jerseys. It got taken to the next level when Iman Shumpert had an Adidas logo shaved into the back of his hair. The NBA told him it had to be removed, so the next day he was seen with a bald triangle spot instead of the logo. The rulebook states, “The only article bearing a commercial ‘logo’ which can be worn by the players is their shoes.”

  1. Road Team Chooses the Basket

Fans might not think about the importance of the starting basket because teams switch sides after half time; however, there is some strategy involved. Before the game even starts, the visiting team gets to choose which basket they want first. Most coaches will choose the basket farthest away from their bench. The coaches’ reasoning is that it’s more important to be able to hear information near the end of the game in case it’s a close one. If their basket is closer to their bench, players can hear instructions better.

  1. No Timberlands

Even though Timberland boots were and still are very popular to wear, NBA players are not allowed to wear them when they are on NBA business. In 2005, the NBA Commissioner, David Stern, set a strict dress code for NBA players so they would be dressed more business-like whenever they were doing anything related to the NBA. Players wear suits and more formal dress clothes, and their choice of shoes must also be business-like. Players can’t wear Timberland boots unless it’s during their downtime with family and friends.

  1. Disaster Draft

In the 1960s, ten players from the Lakers almost died in an airplane crash after the pilot had to do an emergency landing during a heavy snowstorm. In case there is a tragic accident where five or more players from a team die, the NBA will hold an emergency disaster draft. The rule states that “Each of the other teams would only be allowed to protect five players, and the team affected by the disaster would be able to draft from the pool leftover from the teams.”

There are many rules of NBA basketball for the fans and players to know, but there are many others that the players need to follow behind the scenes.


About the author

Sean Smith