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This is off topic but at the same time related.

Seems to be happening everywhere, this head-in-the-sand attitude by officials when rules start to get bent.

The dribble and travel rule in basketball seem to be evolving, just like cricket's chucking... erm, I mean... bowling rule.

By Gregg Easterbrook from here: http://www.tienmao.com/archives/000483.html

"The Customary Five Steps: At this point, traveling has become so common in the NBA that it might as well be legalized. Four and five steps are standard; unlimited steps seem to be allowed so long as you dunk the ball. Announcers don't even bother to mention traveling anymore. Purists like TMQ think one reason for the decline of NBA quality is the lower standards on this rule. But if traveling is going to be legal, let's make it official and change the rule.


This year, up-and-down has become legal as well. On Sunday night, Jason Kidd drove the lane, took the customary four or five steps, leapt into the air, came down on both feet, paused, then jumped for a basket. No whistle, no comment from the announcers. Kobe Bryant and other NBA players have used this up-and-down lane drive this season -- to my knowledge, no whistle has sounded. In the Lakers-Spurs series, Shaq drove the lane, took the customary four or five steps, jumped up to fake, came back down with both feet, paused, then jumped to slam. "What a shot!" Marv Alpert thundered, not mentioning that what made it so distinctive was being illegal. In the Philadelphia-Detroit series, on the final Pistons' possession of regulation, Tayshaun Prince drove the lane, took the customary five steps, stopped, jumped with both feet, came down with both feet, took another three steps and scored the basket that forced overtime, which Detroit won. "I've never seen a move like that!" TMQ heard one highlight-reel type rave. TMQ hopes you've never seen a move like that, and hopes you never see it again."


BTW. And this *is* getting off topic...

Gregg Easterbrook wrote one of my favourite sporting columns - called Tuesday Morning Quarterback, which featured on ESPN’s site.

It was a hoot of a read. And I don't even follow American sport!

To cut a long story short he got the sack from ESPN for criticising a movie in his column and they did something really creepy - if you search for his name on their website it re directs you to the main page as if the search never happened and it's impossible to find his old articles.

It's like he never existed there.

This is exactly the sort of "creeping cheating" that the officials in a game (in cricket's case, the ICC) can foster if they are complacent in their duties.

I was once a huge fan of the NBA, and still barrack for my New York Knicks when I can, but I find watching the NBA is no longer enjoyable because of the blatent cheating when it comes to travelling.

There is/was a great book by Pulitizer Prize-nominated sports journo Terry Pluto called Falling from Grace, which was written in 1995 and talks about the fall of the NBA. Reading it now is like reading history foretold.

Anyway, one of the chapters talks about "the Pro Call", where great players can get away with all sorts of illegalities with their signature moves because the refs simply don't call them for them - they don't want to upset the crowd, they don't want to stop the game, and, most tellingly, THE PLAYER HAS DONE IT FOR YEARS, WHO AM I TO NOW SAY IT IS ILLEGAL?

And all NBA teams have/had players guilty of this - as a Knicks fan, the great Patrick Ewing always travelled on his signature move in the lane, and commentator Marv Albert always rejoiced when the basket was scored ("Yes, and it counts," etc)

Travelling is one of the most contentious areas talked about in this chapter of Falling From Grace, with the conclusion along the lines of - well, it has to be cleaned up or else everyone coming into the league will think they can get away with it.

It hasn't been cleaned up, and Big Ramifications' two posts previous to this one show what happens when problems with rules central to the playing of a sport are not addressed.

Dare we say it, but the same thing goes with Murali and his chucking, with the officials
(not umpires, the ICC) complicit in the deceit.

I'm on the hunt for Easterbrook now.

Travelling sounds very similar to the gradual erosion of the fabric of cricket, Big and Chris. And I'd include handball in that.

My all time fave American sports journo was Mike Royko. He used to rant about the stupid names of black American sportsmen, got him in all sorts of trouble. With that in mind, Tayshaun Prince? Puh ... leeeeeze?!?

PS: I barrack for the Clippers. For the theatre, you understand.

Oh yeah, and I'm off to order Falling From Grace. Good tip, Chris. Come to think of it, I used to love NBA, now I hardly ever watch. Although that may tie in with the Clips.


Correction:

Easterbrook made the inflamatory comments in his blog, not in his ESPN column.

He's got a blog? I better find it.

If you want "creeping cheating" have a look at rugby league - when was the last time a scrum was formed, packed or fed corrctly? Also, how far can you carry the ball in aussie rules these days? Players only seem to bounce it when they get bored.

Never actually saw the point of the scrum in League, Dirk. Apparently it's only used to set the players in the right positions on the field while making sure the non-penalised side gets the ball back. And if they don't they're incompetant and don't deserve it back.


Tony:

http://www.tnr.com/easterbrook.mhtml

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