David Stern has been the NBA Commissioner for as long as I can remember watching basketball and soon he'll be handing the reigns over to Adam Silver in a presumably ritualistic ceremony that will rival the likes of a grandiose papal inauguration.
But what if I, your humble messenger of all news and notes about the Miami Heat, could have the power to rule the NBA with an iron fist for one day? SB Nation NBA is bringing back Theme Day again this year and we're kicking it off with this hypothetical scenario. Since it's just one day, I'm not sure we'd have time to make major changes (and I hear the NBA is doing quite well without my interfering) so we'll stick to some annoyances that bother ME that I would personally like to see get changed. So here goes nothing...
- Joey Crawford "encouraged" to retire, effective immediately. No really, here's your cardboard box to put your personal belongings in, clean out your...um...referee desk and pack your things up. Thanks for everything, and I truly mean that from the bottom of my heart. We'll always fondly remember your repeated attempts to hijack high profile games with your antics, even though no one tuned in or spent money on a game ticket to see you. I think Tim Duncan just showed up to give you a special commemorative retirement watch in honor of your service.
- It's time to get to work, alternate referees. I'm still not quite sure what exactly you do during games but here's a gorgeous 4K display so you can see the game in crystal-clear definition in real time on the arena premises so you can communicate wirelessly with the referees on the court about anything they missed or simply got wrong. No, it doesn't mean you interrupt them at every stoppage of play but any egregious errors, flops, etc should be addressed quickly and efficiently. No one wants to wait around while an arena worker tries to flip a wired display around at half court for the main referees to stop everything and squint at a 24" monitor to get a call right. If an NBA fan sitting at home in his boxers eating nachos can clearly see the refs have it wrong or they missed something obvious, then you - the alternate NBA referee that knows all the rules of this beautiful game - should be able to catch it as well. We'll even give you a remote control so you can rewind and replay to your heart's content! Yes, you can eat nachos too. No, you can't just wear boxers.
- Why are there so many photographers at every game? Do they all have a distinct style that we can't live without? Much like any music concert you've been to, all photographers can show up take pics beforehand and for the first few minutes of game action. After that, only a few photographers are permitted to stick around for the rest of the game to capture any potentially important moments (if any) and that's more than enough with the advent of digital photography. where they can fire away endlessly. You've seen one NBA pic of a random game and you've seen them all, with virtually no sense of what time during the game it was taken. Marquee match-ups, All-Star events and playoff games are permitted a few more photographers during the entire game and that's it. No more players twisting their ankles falling over a middle-aged guy sitting cross-legged inches away from the baseline. Because I said so.
- Speakings of lines, do we really need to take away three-pointers because the edge of a player's size 20 shoe grazed it? Close enough, give them three points and let's move on. Of course, a player's foot planted in the middle of the line would still count as two points. Let's speed this game up!
- Another great way to speed up the game: importing the law of advantage from soccer. I know it's not really fun when an opposing player lunges at LeBron James and bear hugs him to prevent a fast break opportunity. We can't do much about stopping that, unless you want me to institute a rule that mandates a tech for intentional fouls (if only I had at least a week to run this league so we can tackle all of these pressing issues). I'm talking more about that weak attempt to grab LeBron but only succeeds in tapping his arm as he flies down the court for a crowd-pleasing dunk. Are we really going to stop the action, hurt the team with the "advantage" that robs them of an easy basket just so minutes later the refs can determine if it was a clear path to the basket or not? That's really entertaining. No earth-shattering dunk but hey, we get to hear Reggie Miller's opinion of the play while the refs talk it over! Not in my league. The play continues and while LeBron is high-fiving Dwyane Wade, the opposing player gets called for the foul anyway. No foul shots, just move on with the game. If the refs determine a stoppage of play is needed after a "normal" foul is spotted during a normal basketball play, then foul shots are given as always. I'm taking more about those ticky tack fouls that no one cares if they're called or not. If it doesn't hamper the team from continuing their play, just let it go and give the whistle a break.
- An extra foul for each player for every overtime period. It's not fair to make these players play more minutes but can still only commit 6 fouls. It doesn't make any sense. Maybe none of these ideas make sense to you, but they're my ideas and I'm the commissioner, remember?
I could go on and on but now it's your turn. Like my suggestions? Of course you do, but do you have any more ideas to add? Any other referees you'd like me to "phase out"? The suggestion box is right down there on the comments below. Hurry, I only have so many hours to go today.
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