Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The NBA Is Finally Getting Rid Of Hack-A-Player

Too late for Shaq. (Photo credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty)
Too late for Shaq. (Photo credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty)

The NBA acknowledged that having games made unwatchable because of intentional fouls and free throw parades is a bad thing for an entertainment product, and announced a change to how deliberate away-from-play fouls will be called next season. The relevant text from the announcement:

The current rule for away-from-the-play fouls applicable to the last two minutes of the fourth period (and last two minutes of any overtime) – pursuant to which the fouled team is awarded one free throw and retains possession of the ball – will be extended to the last two minutes of each period.

The rule will also apply to fouls committed before the ball is inbounded, and jumping on the back of opponents to commit a foul will be considered a flagrant foul.

For years the NBA looked at the issue, and decided there wasn’t one. Just last October commissioner Adam Silver said the rule wasn’t likely to change, and parroted the,“we shouldn’t reward bad free throw shooters” argument, before reversing himself and saying in February that the rule needed to be changed.


Hack-a-Shaq or Hack-a-Whoever isn’t completely dead yet. The rules only apply in the final two minutes of each quarter, meaning teams can still hack DeAndre Jordan to their heart’s content for the first 10 minutes of each quarter. But for most of that time teams aren’t in the bonus—meaning non-shooting fouls don’t result in free throws—and whatever marginal advantage is gained from hacking isn’t worth putting a team there.

The new rules change almost nothing about how an NBA game is played, and prioritizes good, clean, entertaining basketball over the misguided notion that a rule book that is modified literally every year should remain unchanged on this specific issue. Good for the NBA.

Reporter at the New York Times

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