Basketball is a pretty entertaining sport to watch. There are many interesting moments including assists, long shots, dunks that make the aesthetic side of the game even more exciting. Dunks are especially popular and there have been numerous occasions when players broke backboards.
What happens when an NBA player breaks a backboard? When a player breaks a backboard, the game stops and the broken one is replaced with the new one. The player gets a technical foul for this action and after the game, he is fined. A player can’t be ejected for breaking the board, however, and the defending team gets the ball.
Breaking the backboards was a common trend back in the 90s and even early 2000s. Right now such things do not happen frequently. Let’s explore the history and details around this topic in our article below.
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A brief history
When James Naismith came up with basketball, there were no backboards at all – the basket was simply attached to the top. The first backboards appeared at the very end of the 19th century – and originally served to prevent the fans sitting in the stands above the ring from interfering with the course of the game. They were made from mesh or wood.
Initially, the backboards were attached directly to the walls. So some gifted players used the wall to “fly” closer to the target. In 1916, the backboards were pushed back 2 and then 4 feet to knock the ground out from under the feet of the “basketball spidermen”. Since 1910, backboards have been made of glass, and their fragility is increasingly being tested.
First broken backboard
The first backboard in the history of the league was destroyed on November 5, 1946 – the future actor Chuck Connors, then playing for the Boston Celtics, managed to break it with a regular throw. It was pretty surprising because normally, backboards are broken as a result of a dunk.
Not everyone succeeds in making basketball history in such an original way as Chuck Connors did. Apart from this episode with the backboard, he would have remained an unremarkable center, who did not even fully play his first season in BAA. It’s funny, but in a sense, not only Shaquille O’Neal but also Michael Jordan became his follower.
Like some other athletes who returned from the front after World War II, he played basketball only in the fall and winter, and already in mid-February, he began retraining as a baseball player. This did not last long, however, because after being expelled from the Boston Celtics, he finally lost faith in his basketball talents. Deciding to focus on professional baseball league matches, he soon lost interest in the occupation as well. After retiring from sports and starting a career in cinema, he became a truly famous person – he played the main role in the popular TV series.
In 1967 – amid repeated incidents of vandalism against backboards (for example, Charlie Hentz of the Pittsburgh Condors broke two at once during one match) – the NCAA and various colleges decide to ban dunking under the pretext that it is fraught with injuries and damage to sports equipment. Some players have indeed allowed themselves too much.
Artificial measures to “protect” backboards
Subsequently, artificial measures to prevent such excesses were taken in the NBA, where Darryl Dawkins’ activities in the systematic destruction of backboards led to the fact that the league began to punish the guilty with unsportsmanlike fouls.
Natural measures were also soon followed – new backboard designs practically exclude breakage.
Darryl Dawkins and his “vandalism”
It’s hard to remember dunks if you play on the same team as Julius “Dr J” Erving. Darryl Dawkins did it quite easily – to go down in history as one of the best dunkers, the center just ripped two backboards out for a year and offered himself the most appropriate nickname: “Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass -Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam. “
Due to Dawkins, the league had to introduce an additional rule: a technical foul is due for a broken backboard The then commissioner of the league, Larry O’Brien, called the center and threatened to disqualify him and fine him 5 thousand in case of a second violation. This is probably true, considering that Bill Robinzine, who suffered from Dawkins in Kansas, committed suicide three years later.
Shaq – the breaker of backboards
Even before joining the league, Shaq clearly formulated his main goal – to break as many shields as possible. Undoubtedly one of the most dominant players of all time Shaq was simply an unstoppable force in the paint. When Shaq moved to the Lakers and put on extra weight, the league had to make drastic structural changes to thwart the bullies forever. If we take a look at videos and the history, how many backboards he broke during his playing career, it is not surprising that the NBA was forced to make structural changes regarding the backboard. Yet, as time progressed, there were few occurrences of broken backboards and in modern basketball, such a thing is hardly possible. NBA backboards can endure a lot of weight.
However, we can remember 2016 when Kris Humphries of the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association (NBA) broke the backboard while performing an overhead throw, in team training. The athlete announced this in his Instagram account. Because of this incident, Atlanta’s training was completed ahead of schedule. The Hawks promised to pay for the cost of replacing the shield and other damage caused.