Dunk Now, While You Can, White Man

Tom Newell, son of legendary basketball big man coach Pete Newell, has a vision, and his vision would piss off the people who put together the SportsCenter highlight packages. He sees an NBA and an NCAA with 11-foot rims.

And hey, why not? The original decision to put the baskets 10 feet off the ground was not some agonized-over decision. In Dr. James Naismith's gym, the balconies happened to be 10 feet up, so that's where they nailed the peach baskets. Engineers and physicists were not involved in the decision.

And somewhere along the way, basketball players got bigger, and the game relied on sheer size and athleticism more than anything else. Tom Newell doesn't care for this. He'd rather see the emphasis on teamwork, spacing, passing, and working for open shots.

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Eleven-foot rims, in theory, would help. Settling for a quick three would be a worse decision (to everyone but Larry Hughes, I assume), and no longer would blowing by your man for an easy dunk be so ... well, easy. So they played a game yesterday in Washington on 11-foot rims to see what would happen.

Sixty-five percent of the fans polled said they'd like to see the switch made ... but I'd imagine that many of people who would vote against just stayed home dunked on their 8-foot rims. It sounds appealing to me, but I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to basketball. All I can tell you is that if someday, someone says to David Stern, "Hey, we have an idea that will decrease highlight dunks and three-point shots," I don't think his reaction will be a positive one.

(Photo: Dean Rutz, Seattle Times)

11-Foot Rims | Taking hoops to new heights [Seattle Times]
Making Useless Unnecessary Changes 101 [The Angry T]
More On 11-foot Hoops [Seattle Times]
Taller rims top trash-can dunks [The News Tribune]