How Many Technicals Does It Take To…

How Many Technicals Does It Take To…

words_Nick Engvall

…change a rule?

As a fan of NBA Basketball, and more specifically a fan of the Sacramento Kings, I’ve had all too much experience with foul calling. Not to say that we got cheated back in 2002 against the Los Angeles Lakers but it seems to be the turning point for us. Bitter or not I, along with just about every fan that has watched a pre-season game so far, seem to be wondering what’s up with all these technical fouls.

Kevin Garnett is the latest to feel the wrath of the new NBA officiating approach. Image courtesy Yahoo.The one thing that personally I find disappointing about the timing of this new rule from the overseer of all things NBA, is that it happened AFTER Rasheed Wallace decided to step away from the game. I would imagine that if Wallace was playing this year under this new iron thumb whistle approach, he would have silently raised his eyebrows one too many times already and would be working on a long-term suspension by now anyhow. you can bet that it would have been entertaining for the few minutes it may have lasted though.

Under the new rules, officials seem to be instructed to T-up anyone who complains too long or even gestures. That means body language, emotion, passion, along with everything we love about watching our favorite players get in the zone, could be called a technical foul. Could you imagine the flip side to this, if Michael Jordan was given a technical for “the shrug,” or if LeBron’s “picture taking” fun with the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers was called a technical foul?

Passion is a large part of what separates the good players from the great ones. If we take out that passion from any “bad” we might see in Kobe Bryant or Kevin Garnett “politely disagreeing” with a call that didn’t go their way then it will eventually take the passion out of the things we love about watching these guys play basketball.

If you haven’t caught any of the games where this new approach to “appease the fans” with stricter enforcing of the no whining in basketball referees, then here is the highlight of the pre-season whistle blowing. KG made a quick exit from Tuesday’s Boston Celtics game for talking a bit too much about a call that Jermaine O’Neal received a technical foul on just seconds prior (his second in consecutive games). KG’s second technical came from laughing at the absurdity of his first. Could just be a bad night for the officials, right?

You could say that, if you didn’t see Reggie Evans and Grant Hill get tossed last week for patting each other on the backside in the Phoenix Suns versus Toronto Raptors game.

So, while I’m not usually one to complain, it seems that something will have to change.

Is this stricter officiating going to make the game better for the fans?

How Many Technicals Does It Take To…

Opinion: What Makes A Hoops Shoe Great?

words & images_Zac Dubasik

I’ll openly admit that I’ve been extremely fortunate to get the opportunity to play in so many shoes, and for the past few seasons, it seems like there have been more and more pairs falling into the “good” and “really good” categories. With so much to choose from though, what sets a shoe apart? What takes if from being another really good pair of hoops kicks, and makes it great? As I was thinking about this, the answer became really obvious, and it really comes down to one question, “What shoe do I just simply want to play in?”

When all of my other testing is done, and I’m waiting to start the next pair, which ones do I want to play in just because I love playing in them? Two seasons ago, that was the Zoom LeBron V. It fit great, had phenomenal stability, responsive cushioning, killer traction and, above all, it had that X-factor – I just wanted to play in them. Last season was another easy choice. I logged countless games in the Zoom Kobe IV, even long after its forefoot cushioning had bit the dust (meaning every wearing after the first two). But I still reached for them every time I didn’t have another shoe to review.

This season, I thought the Air Jordan 2010 and Zoom LeBron VII PS were exceptional shoes. I could have made an argument in my head for either of them being my favorite of the year. When I look back, though, I haven’t worn either of those shoes upwards of 30 times after I finished testing them. The shoe I have worn day in and day out as my go-to pair this year? The Zoom KD II. All $85 of it. The shoe that doesn’t even have an Air cushioning unit in the heel. The shoe that didn’t even have a new tooling from the prior year’s model. After playing in it now probably close to 40 times, I like them just as much as the first time I tried them on.

It was a bit surprising that I’d like a shoe costing only $85 as much as I did, but it wasn’t a total shock. Getting to play in the luxuries offered in more expensive shoes, I’ve learned that they don’t always necessarily translate to better on-court performance. What did shock me was that even after wearing them all this time, they haven’t considerably broken down, and I’m still as big of a fan of them as I was when I was just a few wearings in. I’ve talked at length in my Kicksology review, and in my season-end performance picks, about how much I liked the Zoom KD II, but it only recently struck me that I had now given them the highest acclaim I personally feel I can give a shoe. I just want to play in it, and that’s what makes a shoe great.