NBA rules changed because of players


Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Basketball does not standstill. When James Naismith came up with this sport a long time ago he probably thought that the majority of rules would stay the same, but the NBA evolved and a number of rules were changed because of players.

What NBA rules changed because of players? Actually throughout the existence of the world’s best league – the NBA – more than 40 rules have been changed because of players. The list includes mammoth players such as Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Allen Iverson and many more.

The players that we are going to talk about in our article have shaped the NBA significantly. Let’s talk about them and the rules that have been changed primarily because of them.

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Hack-a-Shaq Rule

Shaq was undoubtedly the most dominant center of all time. When he entered the paint the job was done – he would smash everyone in front of him. He already forced the NBA to take care of the backboards (he broke a lot of them during his career). Hack-a-Shaq rule was a tactic adopted by opposing teams to foul on Shaq even in the cases when he was without a ball. Shaq was a poor free-throw shooter so he missed the majority of them. After Shaq retired, this tactic was used frequently by Gregg Popovich.

To resolve the situation the NBA decided to alter the rule in 2016 and if any player who is without a ball, is fouled, his team gets 2 free throws and possession for the ball, in the case fouls take place in the final 2 minutes of each quarter. The reason for the rule change was a fact that the duration of the match was extended notably. If you want a more in-depth review of the Hack-a-Shaq Rule, check out our article here.

Charles Barkley Rule

Like Shaq, Charles Barkley was also a dominant player in his prime. Even though he did not manage to get the championship title, Barkley was one of the best players of his generation. Due to his athleticism, strength, and flexibility, Barkley would use his back to force the defenders back to the paint and then shoot the ball. He could do this for 20 seconds even. Because of that, the league decided to make changes, and right now no player can do such a manoeuvre for more than 5 seconds.

Reggie Miller Rule

Reggie Miller was a relentless shooter – he could throw the ball from any distance. At the same time, he was a very smart shooting guard. He would often cause contact with the opposing players by sometimes kicking them with his leg while shooting. In such a way, Miller would draw a lot of fouls from the 3-point range. In 2012 the league prohibited kicking a leg while shooting, resulting in the offensive foul for the attacking player.

Zaza Rule

Known as “Zaza Rule” right now (Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia injured Kawhi Leonard in 2017 by stepping on the latter’s foot), Bruce Bowen was actually the one who laid the foundation to this rule. He was a formidable defender, playing against top-class shooters, but at the same time, he used dirty tactics, which frequently led to injuries. The NBA decided to introduce a rule according to which, players should have a safe space to land after shooting.

Allen Iverson Dress Code

Allen Iverson was an extremely talented player. While this rule is not directly connected to the gameplay, he played a pivotal role in forcing the NBA to change the dress code. He would often appear in a hip-hop style, which was deemed unprofessional. So the NBA decided to introduce a dress code – players were required to wear formal clothes both before and after the game. Iverson himself opposed the rule, saying that the visual appearance of a player was not determinant of his character. We have looked at the reason why NBA Players were banned from wearing throwback jerseys here.

Wilt Chamberlain

Chamberlain was an extraordinary player. He still holds a record for the most point scored in a single game (100) and was one of the most athletic players in the history of the NBA. He forced the change of numerous rules. First of all, he would make free throws, by hitting the board and then jumping from the line to the basket. Basically, this resembles an alley-oop, which players do frequently in the modern NBA. Right now, players cannot cross the free-throw line when they are shooting.

Another rule that was changed because of him was offensive goaltending. Right now the players can carry out spectacular alley-oops.

Dikembe Mutombo

Dikembe Mutombo made over 3,000 blocks in his career and is arguably one of the best defenders of all time. Whenever Mutombo made blocks on opposing players he would frequently taunt players and the crowd by wagging his finger. The league decided that such an action would immediately result in a technical foul – does not matter whether a player blocks a shot or not, as it is considered to be taunting for the opposing side.

Rasheed Wallace

This rule is not directly related to Rasheed Wallace, but he was actually on top when the NBA decided to make changes. Whenever a player accumulates 16 technical fouls in a regular season he gets a one-game suspension. As for the playoffs, the number of technical fouls is 7.

Honourable Mentions

There are even more players who had an impact on the rules both in and off the game. We can mention Caron Butler, Marck Jackson, Trent Tucker, George Mikan. The latter is especially important because Mikan was the one who led to the introduction of the 3-second rule as well as widened free throw lane

Louis

I fell in love with Basketball when I was about 9 years old. Since then I have played on, coached and organised many teams. I've followed the NBA ever since. With no home team I've always rooted for teams and players I like the style of. The last 2 decades that's meant Greg Popoviches Spurs for the most part. My favourite NBA podcasts are The Lowe Post, Open Floor and The Ringers "The Mismatch".

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