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Making Sense of the NBA's 90-Second Pregame Rule

When we think of the improvements that need to be made to the NBA, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Being able to call a timeout after already calling a timeout should be illegal? Receiving a technical after trying to call a timeout when you didn’t have any left should be written off? Or even that a Rasheed Wallace technical foul doesn’t mean free tacos for everyone in attendance? (I agree, America, it’s wrong. We could’ve closed down several Taco Bells by now).

On a serious note, however, the NBA has decided to place a time constraint on something and before you get all excited, I should tell you; it’s not on TV timeouts nor halftime. The league has decided to cut the players’ pregame ritual time to a mere 90 seconds. This means that the starting lineups will have a dwindling minute and a half to slap five, fist bump, toss chalk, chest bump, salute, hug fans, bang their heads on something, do pull-ups on the rim or any other kind of shenanigans that could happen between announcing the starting line up and tip off.

Here’s how it will work: once starting line ups are announced, players will have 90 seconds to do whatever it is they want/need to do prior to tip off and get to their marks around center court before the 90 seconds expires. With 30 seconds remaining, there will be a warning buzzer and, after that, the clock expiration. If players are not to their marks and ready for tip-off at that point, the result will be a delay of game penalty. On the second delay of game mishap, said team will be slapped with a technical foul; a foul I have only seen once in my life time as a freshman in high school when a player on the opposing team decided to kick the ball across the gym after he got called for traveling.

Honestly, I don’t know if I can find a person not related to the NBA front office that saw this coming. This is a move that clearly no one asked for and certainly not the players for that matter. There are a handful of players with pregame rituals they have been practicing for years that fans and themselves have come to love. From Dwayne Wade taking a lap around the arena to greet fans, followed by pull-ups on the rim, to Kevin Garnett’s head bang on the basket, and even LeBron James’ infamous chalk toss, it’s all something fans have grown to anticipate before games and surely not something they want to see go. This new rule has even caused NBA scoring champion, Kevin Durant, to chime in, a rarity since he entered the league in 2007:

Courtesy of 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."

It’s bad enough that we, as fans and media, had to miss some games last season due to the lockout, but now there will be a cut back on the pre game rituals as well? C’mon, Mr. Commish, you’re killing us here. There’s already such an abundance of rules to keep up with and now you’re just expanding the book with nonsense? I understand the NBA is a business. I really do. But cutting back on the pregame festivities that the players love as well? It’s not reasonable in any way to do so.

The only logical explanation in all of this is that David Stern got tired of watching countless custom handshakes he couldn’t interpret and finally said, “To hell with it! No more of that nonsense!” If there were a better, more logical, reason, I would love to hear it. Until then, keep losing fan points, Mr. Stern, Christmas is around the corner and you’re bound to play Scrooge at some point, anyway.

Jeremy Rincon is the youngest scribe of The No-Look Pass so naturally he gets to carry everyone else's bags and buy food for all of the other writers. You can also catch Jeremy at BallIsLife.Com where I assume he's doing the same thing for all the writers over there. Follow him on Twitter at @jermcon.

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