With the National Basketball Association playoffs underway, there comes a renewed focus on the most tedious part of basketball: the last two minutes of a game. Fouls, commercials, time-outs, more commercials, substitutions, replay reviews, even more commercials—it’s a seemingly endless slog, one that feels longer and longer each year.
“I’d like to be a little more forward-thinking about the attention span of the people we’re trying to capture right now,” former NBA coach and current ESPN and ABC commentator Jeff Van Gundy told VICE Sports. “I don’t even know why we just don’t play 48 straight minutes. These guys are some of the most highly conditioned athletes in the world. Let’s go. Let’s play. Let them get into a rhythm.”
Forty-eight straight minutes? Sounds pretty good for viewers, but not so great for the record books and the advertising-funded television networks that Van Gundy works for. Of course, angst over basketball’s last two minutes is nothing new. In fact, there has been a recent, remarkable shift: Once upon a time, those same 120 seconds weren’t considered too dull.
They were considered too exciting.
Remember when everyone agreed that “you only have to watch the last two minutes of an NBA game”? Complaints about the last two minutes are almost as old as basketball, but it took African-American domination of the sport to make those minutes especially compelling—and to make that excitement a bad thing.
The last two minutes had their first crisis in the late 1940s. Commercials and replays weren’t a concern, but fans from that era certainly were familiar with a parade of fouls. “Donnybrooks,” the Los Angeles Times called the ends of games in 1948. With no shot clock, teams played keep-away at the end, producing frantic scrambles and whistles.
That year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association decided to solve the problem by allowing teams to waive a free throw in the final two minutes and just take the ball out of bounds, a rule the NBA mulled as well. But this didn’t stop the fouls, so the next year the NCAA made violations occurring in the last two minutes function as technicals. This proved even worse.
“That durned rule ruined us,” University of Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp fumed after St. John’s University turned a five-point lead into an 11-point win by keeping uninterrupted possession for the last two minutes. “You can’t win when you’re behind.”
By mid-season, some conferences abandoned the rule and began tinkering with alternatives, like having a jump ball after each made free throw in the last two minutes. Soon, anarchy reigned, with every conference doing its own thing. A New York Herald Tribune story headline from 1950 asked, “Which Rules Tonight?” One critic was certain that unless the college game found a way to standardize the rules, “the basketball fan is going to throw up his hands with an ‘Aw, nuts’ and go out to a movie, or maybe stay home and look at television.”
The NBA was tinkering with the last few minutes as well, trying to cut down on the fouls. For a while, players were allowed no more than two fouls per quarter, but this didn’t fix anything. The league also tried mandating jump balls between the shooter and fouler after every made free throw in the last five minutes, a plan successful enough to last about four years.
In 1954, the NBA dropped the jump balls and adopted the shot clock, and the last two minutes in college and pro games began to look a lot different. The NBA sped up, and college gradually slowed down. In a 1968 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament game, for instance, North Carolina State beat Duke University 12-10. One of the referees, Otis Allmond, complained to the Washington Post that “nobody does anything for 38 minutes and all the action comes in the last two minutes.” He said he only blew his whistle about three times all game, lamenting that “with the do-nothing game, that one call can win or lose it.” At one point during play, he added, “I got caught in front of the TV camera and Bones McKinney, one of the television men, and I chewed the fat for a while.”
Not all games were like this. The previous year, University of California, Los Angeles coach John Wooden had told the Post that most coaches “think too much of college basketball” to stall. Even so, Wooden advocated for a shot clock and staged a “freeze” of his own to protest the practice. Some coaches wanted a shot clock just for the last few minutes, while yet more said that was the only time it shouldn’t be allowed: “In the last two minutes,” Coach Al Kyber of American University said, “stall ball is part of the game.” Georgetown’s Jack Magee went further. While acknowledging that the stall might not be “for the run-of-the-mill fan,” he insisted it was one of many strategic elements the pros lacked, and to put in a shot clock would be “to take something away from the coach. The premium would be placed on recruiting rather than coaching.”
Changing the college game, Magee added, would be tampering with “the American way of life.”
NBA Games got less and less American
If that was the case, then the NBA just kept getting less and less American. The first instance of the modern complaint about the end of professional games came in 1960, when the Boston Celtics’ Bill Sharman complained that things had just gotten too easy: “There’s really nothing for the fans to get excited about until the final two minutes of a close game. But if the teams scored only 50 or 60 points a game, then a basket would mean something again.” To people who learned the game before the shot clock and fast break, modern scores just didn’t look like basketball numbers. Even though they featured Bill Russell, Sharman’s Celtics were giving up 116 a night. The game had evolved dramatically. It was “just run-and-shoot, run-and-shoot, run-and-shoot,” a critic wrote in 1967. “An occasional slowdown, or a 40-35 game, would be nice for a change.”
But if it was true—as a columnist agreed with Sharman—that scoring had made the pros such a “colossal bore” that “a man can’t get steamed up until the final minutes of a game,” it took until the 1970s for this complaint to harden into conventional wisdom. The game was dull and easy, and would only get worse, as shown in a Hartford Courant columnist’s 1971 attempt to describe the sport’s future: “Seems the television networks refused to carry the game, even the pros, because advertisers wouldn’t buy time unless their commercials were shown in the last two minutes which is all any viewer would watch anyway.”
What could be killing the sport? As the 1970s began, the NBA was 60 percent African-American; by the end of the decade, that figure had grown to 75 percent. The “last two minutes” meme grew in tandem. All the while, the league’s popularity declined.
Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison argued recently that she wouldn’t consider racism in America as resolved until she sees a police officer shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back.
“People keep saying, ‘We need to have a conversation about race,” the 84-year-old told The Telegraph in an interview published Sunday.
“This is the conversation: I want to see a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back,” Ms. Morrison said. “And I want to see a white man convicted for raping a black woman. Then when you ask me, ‘Is it over?’, I will say yes.”
Toni Morrison on the relationship between economics and racism
She also spoke about the relationship between economics and racism.
“Race is the classification of a species,” she told The Telegraph. “And we are the human race, period. But the other thing — the hostility, the racism — is the money-maker. And it also has some emotional satisfaction for people who need it.
“They don’t stop and frisk on Wall Street, which is where they should really go,” she added.
Toni Morrison won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for “Beloved” and the Nobel Prize in 1993. In 2012, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.
Istanbul – Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Pope Francis remarks describing Armenians as the victims of “the first genocide of the 20th century” are wrong and encourage racism in Europe.
Pope Francis made the comments at a special remembrance mass in St Peter’s Basilica on Sunday. Turkey immediately recalled its ambassador to the Vatican for consultations in Ankara.
Turkey denies that the mass deportation and killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I was genocide. Armenians say up to 1.5 million people were killed.
The pope’s remarks were “false and nonsensical” and would “contribute to rising racism in Europe,” Davutoglu said late on Sunday, also accusing the Catholic leader of focusing only one side’s suffering.
Turkey, the successor state to the Ottoman Empire, says both Turks and Armenians were killed in unrest during the war and accuses Armenia of inflating the number of people who died. The deportations were said to be for security reasons.
Football’s anti-discrimination group Kick It Out has launched a major exercise to tackle abuse at grass-roots level.
According to The Guardian, the campaign will see a three-month consultation exercise with players, coaches, parents and referees about their experiences of discrimination in grass-roots football, and about the reporting process for cases and how incidents are handled.
The new initiative comes after Kick It Out last month announced a 35 per cent increase in all reports of discrimination in professional football received at the halfway point of the current season.
The number of complaints raised at grass-roots level has remained relatively low however.
Roisin Wood, director of Kick It Out, said: “We are delighted to be launching our grass-roots consultation.
“It is important that people are aware of discrimination and its effects across all levels of the game and this consultation will help us better deliver our messages of equality and inclusion.
“We want to get a greater understanding of how Kick It Out can interact with the hundreds of thousands of people who give up their time to get involved with football at the grass-roots level and help remove discrimination from the game.”
Kick It Out is also looking for volunteers to take part in a three-month pilot scheme at grass-roots level in Birmingham, Essex and West Yorkshire from August.
Anti-Racism Causes Racism
It can be argued that zealous and fanatical anti-racism is doing more than almost anything else to contribute to racism in the United Kingdom and United States. To put that in very basic terms, one of the biggest contributors to racism today may very well be anti-racism policies and statements.
Almost every single day someone or other is put before an anti-racist inquisition or a new — even stricter — law is decreed to fight racism.
Anti-racism has now become another revolution that’s eating its own children.
What we have with much of today’s anti-racism is the same kind of absurdity and extremity which often happened during various historical inquisitions. More specifically, anti-racism is just like the many other political movements that, in time, became corrupted.
Many anti-racists also feel the need to justify their existence and legitimacy by becoming more and more pure (i.e. extreme). And, as a consequence, they will also need to find new targets — more evil racists — to reprimand or even punish.
What partly contributes to all this is that a minority of Leftist activists (though often highly-influential people in the law, councils, academia, etc.) are attempting to create a “revolutionary situation” by deliberately making anti-racism policies and actions more extreme. Thus, in the process, these Leftists — along with their words and actions — are alienating people who aren’t otherwise racist. Such Leftists think that the violence, turmoil or even civil conflict that their words and policies create may be utilized to benefit their own primary cause: revolutionary socialism or the “progressive future”. Thus they see what they’re doing as tapping into anti-racism’s revolutionary/radical potential. (These very same Leftists also — to use their own words — “tap into the
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/01/antiracism_causes_racism.html#ixzz3WSsIIe5Z
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