by July 13, 2006

Originally published in SLAM 3

The 6th Man: Change. Sometimes it’s good. SLAM, for instance, is six times a year now. Six issues of non-stop action from cover-to-cover, coast-to-coast, and court-to-court.

That’s good change.

But the NBA shortening the three-point line to make the game “more exciting”? Now that’s bad change. Moving the three-point line in for the sake of pumping scores up is akin to offering classes like “Theories of Basketball” so athletes can “earn” diplomas. It’s flat-out wack.

Bad enough is it that any basket made by easy-money-from-twenty-feet Reggie Miller is worth three points, but to make a 22-foot jay from the top of the arc a trey is…well, it’s against everything that I, a fierce Knicks fan, stand for.

As if this game needs any more thrills a minute anyway. For the first time in years, the draft was deep. (When Wesley Person lasts until the 23rd pick, there’s talent to go around.) And the NBA’s crown jewels-Shaq, Barkley, Zo, Webber, Kemp, Penny and on and on-combine more than enough skill and personality to keep arenas jumpin’ for years to come.

Memo to NBA Competition Committee: Forget what you’ve read about football or hockey (or any sport where you gotta wear stupid helmets and pads) because NBA hoops is still the best, most exciting pro game in any town, anywhere, and at any time. And that’s not gonna change, guys.

So chill on the rules, huh?

Tony Gervino

Issue 3 Shaq