In NBA caste system, it’s good to be “untouchable”
That’s the title of my latest HoopsHype essay. And here are the opening two grafs:
The NBA is rightfully proud of its missionary role in spreading the game of basketball to the four corners of the earth. But international influence can be a two-way street, and in recent years the NBA has absorbed and replicated, perhaps unwittingly, the worst excesses of one of the world’s worst systems: the caste system of India.
A league that once was an equal-opportunity meritocracy where every player, regardless of position, had a fair shot at greatness, now features a rules regime and style of play that grants privileges to perimeter players while rendering interior players — even Shaquille O’Neal — nothing more than dime-a-dozen, foul-plagued grunts.
Several months ago I penned a related piece, in my capacity as president of the mentoring group "Short People Helping Tall People." In "Starting centers merit more minutes" I explained that most NBA centers lead a life of constant frustration over foul trouble and limited minutes. Most of these guys don’t realize they’re in the same boat, and that’s prevented them from pulling together and advocating some rule changes that will make it as easy for them to stay on the court as it is for their shorter teammates. My essay discusses the modern center’s plight and proposes four such changes.