The Handshake of Doom: league to reduce teams' pre-game ritual time

Christian Petersen - Getty Images

The NBA is instituting a new rule that will limit the amount of pre-game ritual time for players. Is this a smart move?

The NBA has announced that at the beginning of the 2012-13 season, a new guideline will be put in place that severely limits the amount of player interaction before the game begins.

NBA Wants Faster Start to Games | ESPN

The guideline to be instituted will limit the amount of time between the end of player introductions and opening tipoff. How much time will the players have? 90 seconds.

It is going to be hard to get all of this into 90 seconds:

The Thunder are one of the teams with which the league likely took issue, since as you can see above, the players have numerous elaborate handshakes and there is not a great deal of urgency in their activity.

To which I have to ask...is this really a concern worth regulating?

The NBA has instituted a number of controversial rules over the years, ranging from the introduction of minimum age requirements to requiring that inactive players dress appropriately while on the sidelines. In terms of consequence, with the age limits being a 10 and the dress code hovering somewhere around a 2, this time limit thing is practically subterranean. However, on the other hand it is easy to argue that because this time increment issue is so marginal, why is the NBA trying to regulate it? Players, as you might guess, are not thrilled. Kevin Durant had this to say:

"I personally don't like it. 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."

I think that Durant sums it up well the big picture. Yes, perhaps the elaborate greetings slow things down by a few minutes, but this marginal loss is well offset by the good will that the players build between their teammates, the people working at the games, and most importantly, the fans. When players connect with fans, everybody wins.

Here is Zeb's take:

Yeah, basically, the NBA wants to make more money, and when games go on for 2-3 minutes too long, then viewers might go to bed early in the middle of a fourth quarter battle because 9:23 PM is so much later than 9:20 PM. Gimme a break. Or, worse yet, it's making the NBA cut down on one or two commercials during the game.

Of course, the Thunder are infamous for their pre-game routine. So it's natural that Kevin Durant would be somewhat cheesed about the whole ordeal. And it's worth noting that KD doesn't normally criticize decisions made by higher ups, even casually, so it's clear that this decision struck a certain cord with him.

It's not a huge deal wither way, but it's just another one of those things that the NBA's doing. You know, those things that just make you go, "Why?" I mean, think about it. Has any NBA fan liked the decisions made by the NBA over the past couple of years? How about ads on NBA uniforms? Making it harder to take a charge? Making it so a player has to waste a year playing in college? Locking out the players? Locking out the refs?

Realistically, the NBA is a business, and it's all about making that green. But at the same time, it feels like they're nitpicking the players to death. Sometimes, you just need to step back and let things go, because micro-management never got anybody anywhere.

What do you think?

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