The NBA Should Put Together an Exhibition Game Played Under Dr. James Naismith's Original Rules
Skepticism is growing around the idea that the NBA will be playing any more meaningful basketball games this year. They are trying to keep the league in the front of people's minds with video game tournaments and H-O-R-S-E competitions. And that's all well and good. But if the NBA really wanted to create a buzz for the future, they'd look to the past. Way back into the past, to 1891, when Dr. James Naismith dreamed up this crazy sport.
Tell me you wouldn't be interested in watching a bunch of players -- ideally the ones who have successfully beaten coronavirus off already -- get together and put on some long pants with belts and play an exhibition under the original rules with peach baskets.
Those rules, originally published in the January 15, 1892 edition of Springfield College's student newspaper, are as follows:
1. The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
2. The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands (never with the fist).
3. A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball when running at a good speed if he tries to stop.
4. The ball must be held in or between the hands; the arms or body must not be used for holding it.
5. No shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping, or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed; the first infringement of this rule by any player shall count as a foul, the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made, or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game, no substitute allowed.
6. A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violation of Rules 3,4, and such as described in Rule 5.
7. If either side makes three consecutive fouls, it shall count a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the mean time making a foul).
8. A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edges, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal.
9. When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field of play by the person first touching it. In case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds; if he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on that side.
10. The umpire shall be judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify men according to Rule 5.
11. The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made, and keep account of the goals with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.
12. The time shall be two 15-minute halves, with five minutes' rest between.
13. The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner. In case of a draw, the game may, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.
This would be truly incredible. World-class athletes would be reduced to being unsure of what to do once they touched the basketball. Announcers becoming increasingly exasperated trying to describe the rules in real time.
The NBA could even create a control group of G-Leaguers who get to practice playing this way for a month while the big leaguers have to learn on the fly. There's so many ways to go.
Again, just another free idea from my brain. Not seeking any compensation, just entertainment.