Sunday , Jan , 30 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

NBA Trash Talk: Volume IX

Hi, all. I’ll get right into it by responding to the comments made on the last column.

Robin writes:

Hey chuck can you talk about the Pistons in your next edition. I would like to know your opinion about the defending champs. Thanks

Tom from New Jersey writes:

Me I would like to have your opinion about referees. I believe they have changed a lot since the fight in Detroit. I guess they are following the NBAs instructions. What do you think



<b><noscript><img class=check out my article on the events here), it does seem as if officials have been taking a tougher stance when it comes to physical contact of any type on the floor. What was considered a hard foul before is now a flagrant and technicals are being awarded like they’re going out of style.

Word is that Dave (David Stern, NBA commissioner, if you didn’t know) and his boys sent a message to the officials advising tighter calls with regards to on-court violence and any sort of behaviour that could further harm the league’s image shortly after the scrap. Here’s an excerpt from the piece I linked to above:

You have to remember that the NBA is a business and that David Stern is a salesman. His job is to attract and retain as many fans as possible, in particular those who are likely to purchase NBA merchandise. Accordingly, his focus demographic is families with children, exactly the sort of people likely to be dissuaded from buying the NBA product if they associate such violence with the league.

Dave has to protect his assets, so it’s only natural that he’d ask the officials to keep a closer eye on things after such a publicity disaster as the mêlée at Auburn Hills. Is it hurting the game? Possibly, but I’d be biased, having become accustomed to the more physical style of play common to European basketball.

If there is one thing the referees get horribly wrong very frequently in the NBA, it’s the travelling call. Players routinely take three, sometimes four, steps on the way to the hoop without a whistle. Amazing though he may be, LeBron is one of the worst offenders, often catching the ball out on the break and running straight to the goal with no thought of dribbling the ball. Over here, the call is very rarely missed and players are often whistled for a first-step travel unfairly.

For an example of one of the worst missed calls I’ve ever seen, go here: http://www.nba.com/sprite and open the video called “Steve Francis passes to himself”. Sure, it’s an adventurous play and a superb display of athleticism, but it’s also one of the most obvious travelling violations I have ever seen. He takes four (perhaps five) steps without dribbling in full view of the referee and still no call was made. If there’s a reason that’s not a travel, I’d like to hear it.

Anyway, I’ve kept you all long enough for one week. If his performance against the Lakers was anything to go by, Vince Carter is the man to keep your eye on until we next meet. As usual, if you have comments, questions or anything you’d like me to cover, use the box below or email (8charles@gmail.com) to get at me. So, until next week, keep your eyes on your team as the season really starts to take shape in the run-up to All-Star break.

Take it easy now,

Chuck.