4 NBA Players Who Forced Rule Changes Part 2

Photo: Steven M. Falk/The Philadelphia Inquirer

Player No. 1 Allen Iverson

If you pick out your outfits from head to toe with accessories, you’re most definitely going to be pressed about this next rule change. It’s almost as though the NBA couldn’t respect the amount of drip/swag Iverson would wear on the bench when injured.

Due to Allen Iverson wearing baggy street clothes and accessories on the bench while sideline, the NBA decided in 2005 that they would seek to clean up that image. To solve this “problem”, the NBA installed a series of rules as to what the NBA players cannot wear on the bench when not dressed in uniform. The rules are as follows –

Absolutely no:

  • Chains, pendants or medallions around a player’s neck or clothes unless otherwise for religious purposes
  • Sunglasses 
  • Headgear, unless necessary
  • Headphones, earbuds or any object that can relay separate audio to a player while watching the game
  • Outside jerseys supporting other players, retired players, or even the player’s jersey if he is injured.

Needless to say, the NBA experience a bit of an immediate uprising from the players because of this decision in the mid-2000s. However, the tempers of the players were quickly dealt with and handled – because after all, the players are still able to arrive and leave in their custom fits, which has become a cult following by fashionistas and photographers seeking pre-game/arrival fit/outfit photos.

Player No 2. Dwyane Wade

In today’s NBA, you can assume it’s quite easy to draw transparent contact from another player to ensure a trip to the free-throw line. Prior to James Harden religiously practicing this strategy, Dwyane Wade was in constant criticism about the majority of how his trips to the rim would result in a constant whistle. Wade was known around the league for starting the trend of jumping into players before releasing a close shot to the basket, therefore leaving room and airtime to be able to exaggerate physical contact by the defensive player.

The NBA quickly caught up to the antics of Wade and implemented a pretty straight forward rule in 2011. The offensive player in possession of the ball is not allowed to jump into contact going up for the layup once a defender is already jumping straight up in the air defending the offensive possession. The NBA hoped this would prevent unnecessary contact between smaller guards and more towering forwards when they meet at the hoop, although this hasn’t quite been the outcome – as the rule is more abused than ever as each regular season progresses.

Player No 3. Bob Kurland

Kurland never played a game in the National Basketball League once it began in the 1940/50s which would ultimately develop into the modern-day National Basketball Association. However, the lasting impact he would have on the NBA has continued and will continue into every single season going forward. Goal-tending.

A two time NCAA champion at Oklahoma State, Kurland was known for using his lanky 7-foot figure to roam the paint. He would wait until the offensive player released a shot from anywhere on the floor, just to swat it away from the basket before it had a chance to touch the rim or ultimately put points on the scoreboard. Opposing players became so incredibly frustrated with Kurland that opposing teams and head coaches begged the NCAA for an immediate rule change. They asked and ultimately received.

In 1945, the NCAA would implement the first goal-tending rule, allowing no player to alter the course of the ball in the air once it is in a downwards arc after release. Kurland would never join the National Basketball League, rather electing to play for a separate amateur league called the Phillip’s Petroleum’s of the Athletic Amateur Union (AAU) – called the Oilers. All leagues however, would choose to adopt the goal-tending rule. As all leagues deemed it essential to prevent genetically tall and dominant players from changing the course of the game because of their ancestral genes. 

Player No 4. Reggie Miller

The sharp-shooter. The kid from Cali. The man who scored 8 points in 9 seconds. Reggie Miller was a premier NBA three-point threat and a founding father of the excessive use and attempt of the three-point shot. Reggie realized early on in his NBA career how easily he was able to draw a foul off of a pump fake jump shot, so he decided to create his own spin on the loophole.

Why settle for taking two free-throws when you could possibly add one more attempt while you’re at the line already? Why not make it three right? Reggie Miller developed his excessive use of the leg kick. Whenever a defender was close to Miller while defending a shot on the perimeter, Miller would casually pump fake to get his defender airborne. Just before the defender would touch back onto the court again, Miller would throw up an absurd shot while kicking his feet out from underneath him.

Casually to every fan in the area, anyone could make the argument as to how obvious it was that the defender fouled him on the way up while coming off of the pump fake. The NBA dealt with the frustration of the use of this strategy by ensuring that no player would take to the foul line has extended any feet out of its normal course in the motion of a jump shot.