GROUNDBREAKERS OF THE NBA

It has been 126 years since basketball was first played in Massachusetts in the United states. The original rules used in that game has significantly changed since then. For example, the original rules allowed goaltending. Dribbling, dunking, as well as three-pointers did also not yet existed back then. Throughout the years, rules have been added, removed, or revised to improve the play within the sport.

However, some players had enforced changes in the rules just because they are exceptions to the rule.

5. Darryl Dawkins was notable as one of the most powerful dunkers in history.

In the 13th November 1979, Dawkins broke the backboard in a match between the 76ers and Kansas City at the Municipal Auditorium. Kings’ Bill Robinzine went ducking as a result. Three weeks later, he did it again at home against the San Antonio Spurs. After few days, the NBA created a new rule that made breaking a backboard an offense that would result in a fine and suspension.

In addition, the NBA changed the material of the backboards to ones that do not shatter so easily. 

4. Wilt Chamberlain was basketball’s unstoppable force. The most dominant player in his heydays, the only thing that Wilt the Stilt could not do was to shoot free throws. A whooping 215.9 cm, he would throw the ball off the backboard and later dunk it over everybody on his last free throw.

This style does not seemed fair for the eyes of the NBA. Wilt killed two birds with one stone when the association immediately updated two rules. The first rule change states that the player who is shooting the free throw cannot go forward in front of the free throw during the course of the said free throw.

The second rule update that Wilt had sparked says that the free throw that is shot by the player has to touch the rim for it to be a valid free throw.

Since then, Wilt was seen dunking the ball over defenders when the players, who were taking the inbound throw, would fight the ball over the board for him to finish the dunk. The teams he came to play with prefered this way of inbound play until the NBA made a further rule twitch: The player taking the inbound throw cannot throw the ball over the backboard in an inbound play.

3. Reggie Miller is said to be one of the greatest shooters in the history of the league. He played his entire 18-year NBA career in the Indiana Pacers, and led the team to two Finals in the Eastern Conference, and one league final.

Miller threw 40% of his shots outside the arc throughout his career, and was known as the ‘Knick Killer’ for being a deadly rival for the New York Knicks.

In spite of his excellent shooting and accuracy, Miller was fond of drawing fouls in a clever yet dirty way. Whenever he releases balls in his three-point attempts, he would kick his legs out to engage contact with his opponent.

Big players like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade would follow Miller’s style to draw fouls. Of course, the NBA would not let this one pass, so they made a change in the rulebook: A player shooting cannot extend his leg out after releasing the ball or during the course of the shot. A violation of this rule will result in the shooter being charged with an offensive foul.

2. Charles Barkley is one of the only four players in league history that have compiled at least 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 4,000 assists, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt, and Karl Malone.

Despite being undersized compared to the towering players of the NBA, Barkley dominated on rebounds which earned him the moniker ‘Round Mound of Rebound.’

Barkley is also noted for dominating on the Low Post by backing his defender up all the way to the basket for a long time and scoring on him. This was not fair for the association, so they simply restricted what he was exactly doing: The player on the Low Post cannot back up and hold the ball for more than five seconds.

1. Shaquille O’Neal is undoubtedly the most dominant center during his entire career. He was notable for his brutal and merciless play on either offense or defense. He also made the league change the materials of the backboards after Dawkins forced them before him.

O’Neal also popularize the eponymous Hack-a-Shaq defensive strategy used to lower the opponents’ scoring by committing intentional fouls. This does not seemed a nice tactic for the NBA, so they enforced a rule: Players could not intentionally foul opposing players that did not have the ball in their hands during the last two minutes of the game. A violation of this rule would reward the opposing teams with two free throws and the ball.

This towering giant could also put 30 points at 4 swats with great ease as if he was just playing with children. For his stature, he earned a lot of nicknames such as The Big Aristotle and The Diesel.

Clearly, one man is not enough to guard the Shaq. People just could not handle him so the NBA stepped up to limit his power, and made Zone Defense legal.

Big Aristotle was not happy with the decision and remarked that basketball is a man’s game and the defense was called Man-to-Man for a reason.

By @FitsEly

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