Old Timey Basketball Rules Were Interestingly Weird

Posted: January 27, 2020 in Fun Facts, Sports, Things I Love
Tags: ,

Basketball rules have changed a lot over the years, even some dramatic ones in the last 30-years or so. Some of these might just surprise you . . .

1900-1901

A dribbler may not shoot for a field goal and may dribble only once, and then with two hands.
Wait. What? What does that even mean?

1908-1909

A dribbler is permitted to shoot. The dribble is defined as the “continuous passage of the ball,” making the double dribble illegal.
Great that they finally allowed the dribblers to shoot, man.

1910-1911

No coaching is allowed during the progress of the game by anybody connected with either team. A warning is given for the first violation and a free throw is awarded after that.
Hear that? NO COACHING ALLOWED. So strange. Then again, maybe they were onto something.

1921-1922

Running with the ball was changed from a foul to a violation.
If traveling was a foul James Harden would be out of games very early.

1923-1924

The player fouled must shoot his own free throws. Before this rule, one person usually shot all the free throws for a team.
Designated free throw shooters, man. Steve Nash would have averaged 50 a game.

1937-1938

The center jump after every made basket is eliminated.
Yes kids, before this rule was changed there was a jump ball after every basket.

1939-1940

Teams have the option of taking a free throw or taking the ball at mid-court.
This would actually lead to some intersting strategy.

1944-1945

Defensive goal tending is banned.

I’m guessing the advancement of player athleticism led to this rule.

1944-1945

Offensive players cannot stand in the free throw lane for more than 3 seconds.
Good rule. Congestion on the court is not a good thing.

1948-1949

Coaches are allowed to speak to players during a timeout.
And thus the modern basketball coach was born.

1956-1957

The free throw lane is increased from 6 feet to 12 feet.
Look at that old 6-foot lane. So damn small.

1956-1957

Grasping the rim is rule unsportsmanlike conduct.
Players be jumpin’ higher!

1967-1968

The dunk is made illegal during the game and during warmup.
Ah, the famous Lew Alcindor rule.

1972-1973

An official can charge a technical foul on a player for unsportsmanlike conduct if the official deems the player ‘flopped’ to get a charging call.
Aaaand flopping is still not called today.
1972-1973
Freshman are now eligible to play varsity basketball.
This is why Alcindor’s UCLA freshman team used to beat the hell of of the varsity all the time.

1973-1974

Officials can now penalize players away from the ball for fouls for acts such as holding, grabbing and illegal screens.
Great rule and hard to believe it took this long to add it.

1976-1977

The dunk is made legal again.
And a nation rejoiced!

1981-1982

The jump ball is eliminated except for the start of the first and second half, and overtime if necessary. An alternating arrow will indicate possession of the ball in jump-ball situations in a game.
And the Possession Arrow was born.

1985-1986

The 45 second shot clock is introduced.
The shot clock is coming to high school basketball as well . . . soon.

1985-1986

If a shooter is intentionally fouled and the basket is missed, the shooter will get two free throws and the team will get possession of the ball.
Hard to fathom that I was coaching before the addition of the intentional foul.

1986-1987

A three point shot was introduced at 19’9″.
And everything began to change . . .
1989-1990
Three free throws are awarded when a shooter is fouled from three point range and misses the shot.
Oddly enough, for a couple years after the advent of the 3-point shot you only got 2 free throws if fouled while shooting it. Dumb.

1993-1994

The shot clock is reduced from 45 seconds to 35 seconds.
Will it get shorter?

1997-1998

Timeouts can be made be players on the court or the head coach.
Seems odd now, but before this coaches could not call timeouts. You had to yell for your players to do it.

So yeah, the game has changed. A lot. I wonder what it will look like in 50-years?

Gimme a holler.

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