The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Hoops fans said goodbye to any serious notion of defense 50 years ago today, when the 24-second shot clock was demonstrated during an informal pickup game at Vocational High School in Syracuse. The then-fledgling NBA adopted it the following season, and the rest is history.

Well, not quite. The article makes it sound like the NBA caught on right away once the scoring shot way up. In reality, the league floundered for the next couple of decades, until it really started taking off in the 1970s. You could even argue that pro basketball didn't achieve big-league status until the '80s, with the coming of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, and later Michael Jordan.

The shot clock really did transform basketball, helping to turn it from a game that was originally conceived to be played on the floor to one that's now played through the air. The players obviously had a lot to do with that, too.

The idea of applying the shot clock to baseball (for pitchers) and hockey crops up every so often. The feeling is that an accelerated timeframe works (or used to) for hoops, so it should work wonders on those other two sports, which become plagued with low scoring and drawn-out gametimes. Thankfully, it never gets off the ground. (Football, of course, has it's own version of the shot clock--the play clock.)