NBA officials made the rounds this week, talking to media and the players about points of emphasis for the upcoming season. They discussed the flopping rule and reviewed flagrant fouls, but there's one little tidbit that is causing a bit of a kerfuffle.
The league is telling players that when the 90-second clock runs out and the buzzer sounds to start the game, the ball is going in the air. They have until the clock expires to do all of their pregame stuff. Handshakes, sneaker-wipes, headbutt the stanchion, salute the crowd, chalk toss, dance the jitterbug, do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight, whatever.
But when the buzzer sounds, they're going to jump it up. If you're not ready, they're going to issue a delay of game warning. It seems like a pretty reasonable request.
So of course, the players don't like it, including Kevin Durant. From the Oklahoman.
“I personally don't like it,” Durant said of the 90-second rule. “Every player in this league has routines they do with their teammates, rituals they do before the game and before they walk on the floor. The fans like it. The fans enjoy it. You see the fans mimicking the guys who do their stuff before the game. To cut that down really don't make no sense. Why would you do it? I really don't agree with it, but I don't make the rules.”
What adjustments will Durant make?
“Maybe I've got to go a little quicker,” Durant said. “I've got to make sure I acknowledge all my teammates before I walk out on the floor. That's just how I am. That's how we are as a team, guys do their thing, their handshakes. I do the tying (of) the shoes, the praying. I've just got to speed it up.”
via Thunder's pregame ritual now on the clock | NewsOK.com.
The Miami Heat, on the other hand, don't really care. From ESPN:
"I won't change it, I'll be able to work it in," (LeBron) James said. "We'll figure it out."
"I'll have to take something away for sure. I'm always going to make sure I show love to the fans," (Dwyane) Wade said Wednesday in Miami. "There's so many rules, I can't keep up. ... There's no reason to make a big stink. It's their league, it's their rules."
I'm sensitive that players have very specific routines. And I'm sensitive to how important this is for them in preparing for the game. I'm supportive of their handshakes and little things they do. It's part of the game and actually makes it more enjoyable for fans.
But for the love of Russell, you're there for hours before the game. Just do your stuff a little faster. Say hi to the guys a little earlier. Chalk up a bit earlier. Move along from introductions and national anthem and go through your motions a bit quicker.
It comes down to fans show up to watch tipoff. And if you think a few seconds don't matter? Consider the fact that if they waste 10 seconds for every game and you as a fan watch 82 games, that's 820 seconds, that's 13 minutes of your life gone. Now imagine you watch those 82 games for 10 years. You've just lost more than two hours of your life. Yes, you're going to waste a lot of your life anyway. But if you ask me if I want those two hours back? I do.
Just hustle up kids, it'll be fine.