Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 at 10:30 am  |  91 responses

NBA Wants Players to Shorten Pregame Handshake Rituals

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

The NBA’s No Fun Police is at it again.

The League’s latest rule is that pregame handshakes can’t last longer than 90 seconds. This may not seem like a big deal, but for young teams like the OKC Thunder (who stage an elaborate, amusing pregame routine of hugs and handshakes every night), it sure is annoying.

Count Kevin Durant among those who aren’t fans of the new regulation.

Per the Oklahoman:

Before Tuesday night’s preseason game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Thunder players noticeably rushed their routines before stepping onto the court in time for the tip. Three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant was in the middle of his on-court greetings with teammates when the ball was put in play.

“I personally don’t like it,” Durant said of the 90-second rule. “Every player in this league has routines they do with their teammates, rituals they do before the game and before they walk on the floor. The fans like it. The fans enjoy it. You see the fans mimicking the guys who do their stuff before the game. To cut that down really don’t make no sense. Why would you do it? I really don’t agree with it, but I don’t make the rules.” What adjustments will Durant make? “Maybe I’ve got to go a little quicker,” Durant said. “I’ve got to make sure I acknowledge all my teammates before I walk out on the floor. That’s just how I am. That’s how we are as a team, guys do their thing, their handshakes. I do the tying (of) the shoes, the praying. I’ve just got to speed it up.”


The long pregame handshake ritual is dead; long live the pregame handshake ritual.

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    What is wrong with handshakes? This is a bond players make with each other. A ritual that creates team unity. I dont like this nonsense at all

  • tomtom

    Oh FFS how pathetic. Is there nothing else to worry about…

  • i_ball

    Well… That is stupid

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Verified Account

    This rule is very unnecessary

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Nothing else to concern themselves with? No armbands above the elbow (for no good reason), let’s just introduce a new ball that no one wants, no leg sleeves unless they’re for injuries. Now this.

  • Max

    WHat the F*ck Sternbot, why would you get rid of something if the fans like it?
    Big FY

  • Caboose

    Ok, while this rule seems unnecessary, there’s gotta be a reason for it. My bet is that the NBA is sick of 7:30 games starting closer to 8:00. Plus, it’s not like Durant can’t acknowledge all of his teammates before a game. They have like 30 minutes for a shootaround; can he really not take 3 minutes of his shooting time to do whatever the hell he feels he needs to do with his team? This is not a difficult rule to follow.

  • snasty10

    Way to be a fun sponge NBA

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Verified Account

    It’s taking some of the spirit away. And the crowds fun too. I personally wnt care. But there’s fans out there that enjoy seeing teammates getting super chummy out there

  • MadRapper

    David Stern is such a Jew. This rule is bullshit.

  • Lin-dication

    Hahaha first the NBA tells its players how to dress and then they tell them they cant trash talk or hang on the rim? Now they’re telling them they can’t chest bump their teammates before tip-off? Mommy Stern is trying to make the NBA into a Nanny State. I can get why Stern tried to get NBA players into suits and why Stern cut back on trash talking because he was probably trying to make the game appear “safer” for white folks in places like Oklahoma City or Indiana, especially after the Ron Artest debacle. But pre-game rituals? Really?

  • bike

    So what’s the punishment if it goes past 90 seconds? A fine? Wedgies all around?


    I personally enjoy watching teams do these things. The Cleveland Cav Lebron James days were awesome. That stuff makes for better basketball. Teammates work hard for each other when they actually feel like a unit fighting together!

  • Albus

    Yes because us “White Folks” feel extremley unsafe around all those black people. Especially at night. Thank God Stearn is doing the right thing and thinking of the emotional needs of the “White man”.

    P.S. your an Id*&t Lin-Dication

  • Hello Kitty

    How about no excessive TATS?

  • danpowers

    unnecessary rule but will let some guys look a little less like idiots before games.

  • Troy

    How would they enforce the rule? A delay of game foul before tip-off?

  • pablo

    stern is trying to turn nba into some sterile robot emotionless type of sh!t

  • 23

    Agree 100% , it is nice to see the youthfulness come out of nba players. People complain that players don’t play with passion, well stern is sucking the fun out of everyone. If I was a player I would ignore this rule, I would dare the nba to fine me over a 93 second pre game routine.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Stern continues to make himself look bad for the last year and a half. First the lockout, then the Chris Paul deal, and now this. Handshakes are fun for most fans especially the kids. It builds chemistry. The best commissioner for the NBA would be a former player who has smart, business people around him or who has business experience himself. But he/she needs to understand the players. Someone like a Magic Johnson.

  • justin05

    Gettin smarter verified account, good for you. I don’t see why this rule will make the NBA better or more efficient. Is Stern trying to make the NBA more professional? If so then they shouldn’t have brands on their jerseys either. It’s all about the $$$ at the end of the day.

  • justin05

    What is Stern going to think up next though? He’ll have the NBA players by the balls soon enough.

  • Conor

    They should instill public reviews & fines for officials who blunder during games. That would be a worthwhile rule.

  • chris

    He has to pray? Quit talking to your imaginary friend and get on the court

  • Caboose

    He already has them by the balls now, unfortunately

  • JB

    The NBA will become just as bad as the NCAA. Time for a new commish.

  • MadRapperisignorantmoron

    WTF does religion have to do with this, and I’m Catholic! Do you know how many of you’re NBA superstars are Muslim? Are they terrorists? Just be very careful, cause tornados often hit trailer parks and we wouldn’t want to lose your brilliant insights!

  • Coach

    OK, but what’s big deal about it. Who cares if they shake hands longer? NBA is spectacle and have to remain spectacle. No necessary rules needed.


  • Brahsef

    The deblackification of the NBA. Have too much fun and they take it away. Word to Paul Mooney

  • Jerome

    Should get rid of pre-game announcements too. And warm-up.

  • pposse

    “to cut that down dont really make no sense” – makes no sense

  • Dutch Rich

    Ka mate Ka mate
    Ka ora Ka ora

    Ka mate Ka mate

    Ka ora Ka ora

    Tenei Te Tangata Puhuruhuru

    Nana i tiki mai whakawhiti te ra

    Upane Upane

    Whiti te ra

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    LeBron James on his 95 second handshake controversy
    “it was a crab-handshake”

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    in your own opinion, does it really prove anything to say that?
    people in trailer parks aren’t anti-semitic by default. you are no better than him.

  • 1982

    I bet you someone gets fined for this before any floppings.

  • 1982

    I wanna see a ref standing next to two players getting pumped for the game while doing the countdown they do for crossing half court. As the players dap and chest bump he’s counting up to 90 seconds on his fingers.

  • shutup

    At least we don’t have to see Dwight’s pseudo dream shake pre-game anymore.

  • Junior Taylor

    Good one. How long did it take you to come up with such a gem? Jokes!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lol it was the third joke i came up with on twitter, so however long it took to type i guess? or do the first two count? if they do, maybe 30 seconds? which, if it were a handshake would not result in a technical. so the joke is valid.

  • spit hot fiyah

    maybe they r just helping players get rid of their OCDs

  • alex80

    nice, since they abused that handshake thing , now it’ll be controled and regulated.
    John Stockton best handshake ever.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    calm down he’s using the phrase “white folks” as in the stereotype…quit getting so butthurt

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    wow that’s very ignorant of you to assume he is from a trailer park…or to assume that someone that would make that type of comment would come from a trailer park….effin jews…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    in all honesty…the hornets got a much better deal then they would have with the original chris paul deal

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    people already have to cover certain tats up with arm sleeves

  • LakeShow

    I’m fine with this. I don’t like all the high fives followed by low fives followed by even higher fives, followed by 3 point shot made gesture that looks as much like a gang sign as anything else, it’s just dumb IMO.

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    Unfortunately, the public wouldn’t view it as that, but rather as the NBA controlling the movements of players. But as a Hornets fan, I am personally grinning ear to freakin’ ear.

  • theDankerNuggets

    SternBot strikes again, no personality to the game allowed!

  • Onions Baby Onions

    “Upon review, the chalk dust cloud from LeBron’s hands had not fully been formed as the timer hit 91 seconds, and he appeared to be reaching in for a high five with DWade; technical foul” …..


    Stern is going senile

  • Jer dawg

    F the nba! These pre game things don’t affect any outcome on games! They are few extra minutes! Why go public with this? A simple note by league office to the coaches and owners will do the trick! This is bunch of Morons who wants control over people. This puts me off. It’s PRE GAME. Few extra minutes never killed anyone. Smdh

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Nick Tha Quick

    Lol I’m sure lots of folks won’t get this.

  • Blakos

    F**ken shorten the number of timeouts and stoppages especially end game, instead of worrying about Pre-game rituals

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    The fact that he actually took the power away from the GM of the Hornets stood out the most to me. That and the fact that Kobe and Chris were already planning on what to do when he arrived from New Orleans and everyone including the 3 organizations involved in the trade thought it was done only to find out that Stern stopped it. Regardless of what kind of deal it was, he had control over the destination of a player himself…the commissioner of the league controlled where a player went. That’s wild any way you look at it. Plus, the argument that he didn’t want a powerhouse team in the Lakers looks really silly now that Nash and Dwight are Lakers. The reasoning behind the lockout that was given by the league now looks silly altogether.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    What the league should be looking at more than ridiculous things like this is the length of the season. 66 games a season starting in late November or early December would probably be better than the current 82 game schedule they play.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    blah blah blah, if your squad didn’t magically end up with the #1 pick in the draft (right as the team was being sold) you wouldn’t be happy at all. considering of course, that Eric Gordon would have forced his way out of town.

  • James aka…

    Lomu! When I was in high school, I thought this would have been a great thing to do to start of a basketball game.

  • danpowers


  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Let’s also remember that if he had had his way, Gordon would be in Phoenix right now. Conspiracy theorists found it funny that they wound up with that 1st pick along with the 10th pick. They don’t really have a case, but I must admit that I did laugh a little after seeing those ping pong balls bounce their way like that.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Verified Account

    Jeeeze, don’t even get me started on those damn advertisements on the damn jerseys.. Smh.. But anywho… It’s kinda like sucking part of the experience away from the fans, alot of people enjoy the player introductions

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Verified Account

    Yep. And for a young OKC team.. The pre game intros are big deals.. And sometimes espn airs some of it too.. Lol like when John wall does the dougie lol

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it’s a pretty good case for this years lottery, you know, considering the Hornets were purchased for more than they were worth and all that noise.

  • Carla Jacobs

    it doesn’t really matter where you’re from or where/how you live, there are creeps (and good people) everywhere. unfortunately for the rest of us, you and madrapper are in the former (creeps) category! grow up and use your brain before you spew your toxic waste…

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    Yeah I know the draft was sketchy, but it takes a lot outta you being a Horneys fan :P , not as much as a Charotte or Washington fan mind you, but small victories (if manipulated drafts count) here and there are a welcomed blessing.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Lol touché


  • shockexchange

    David Stern is correct. If these guys danced and did their pre-game rituals like a man then it wouldn’t take so long … way too much estrogen in the L.

  • Yes

    It was so funny seeing the other team ready to tip off while the Thunder guys were doing all their handshake stuff. Seriously going to miss those laughs. Never got old!

  • roscoe

    Who cares? Just start the fun stuff earlier.

  • mikegilbert

    Yep, “butthurt” is officially the most annoying word ever coined… surpassing such gems as “scatology” and “mikegilbert.”

  • robb

    seriously??? are they wasting their time discussing how to shorten pre game rituals???


  • kantankruz

    Just sponsor the handshakes. While they are going on just have the big screen cranked and the PA guy read “This handshake is bought to you by the good people at Taco Bell.” Money made, problem gone!

  • shockexchange

    The Shock Exchange knows this is only going to encourage your recklessness, but this is %$#%?# hilarious.

  • Yi-Cheng Chen

    now that they have shorten pregame handshakes, maybe next time they shorten celebration of NBA championship. ‘NBA champions should not celebrate exceed over 30 minutes after winning at the arena.’ At the end of the day, fans get all the $hit.

  • danpowers


  • danpowers

    the good ol’ haka. would just get a bit ludicrous if only one player who did it would flop http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g3QbH_i2VU&feature=related

  • danpowers

    antisemitism is no joke kid.

  • redoct31

    Rules for entertainment, its a league, they have rules, players get compensated and of story. Its still a job no matter how much fun it may appear to be on TV. More dunks in the warms less handshakes in the pre-game rituals, that will put the fans in the seats.

  • Dacre

    Might as well go and make the lay up lines include ONLY guys that get court time. . . Sillyness.

  • VanCityBBall

    this is one of the stupidest…. anythings, ive ever heared in my life!!! maybe they should tell the announcers to not stretch the names of the players/teams to near akwardness before the games instead of simple pregame rituals

  • TV63

    NOt a good idea. This shows good sportsmanship to our youth. What is the big deal Stern? How could this possibly screw you out of money?

  • danpowers

    that was an instant classic lol

  • zogs19994


  • Dutch Rich

    Technical fouls on prolonged ritual, flopping and delay of game. Lol. Plus possession to the other team.

  • danpowers

    cosign that ;)

  • nhm

    i wanna see some sort of pre game handshakes/bodyslam/hugs that somehow interferes with the NBA from generating money

  • http://www.facebook.com/nwanko.mblesse Nwanko Mblesse

    90 seconds? jesus just go and play the game.

  • Comment_System

    it’s alright mad rapper, I can distinguish between a joke and a racist rant.

  • Comment_System

    I can’t believe that out of all of the league commissioners, bud selig is the best one. Jesus Christ.

  • Comment_System

    nope, YOLO is still the reigning champ.

  • Comment_System

    loved the doing haka before my football games

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    jokes can be racist.

  • EP

    Here’s what the league should really get rid of: having guys high-5 teammates who just missed a free throw. Back in the 90′s NBA, nobody on your team was giving you props for missing the easiest shot in sports. In 2012, you get a fist bump for tying your shoes.