David Stern has issued a fiat that teams must return to the court for the opening tip no more than 90 seconds after pregame introductions have concluded. If a team isn't on the court on time they get a delay of game warning. This seems like Herr Stern getting a bit heavy handed. If he wants to speed up the game, have his refs stop calling phantom fouls on players or maybe cut out a couple of their TV timeouts for commercials. Most of the teams have their own pre-game rituals and those rituals mean a lot to them. For players who are superstitious, this may just ruin their season.
Remember back to the Celtics' championship season? It was a comfort to every Celtics fan to see each starter stop by James "Nails" Posey to get their hug and words of encouragement. That would be against Herr Stern's new rules. Kevin Garnett has his own ritual where he talks to the basket stanchion for a bit and then bangs his head on it. He also has a ritual where he throws up powder over the announcers. And LeBron James has his own powder throwing ritual. Other teams have their set handshakes, perhaps none better than the OKC Thunder
Kevin Durant is not very happy about the new rules. As a young team and a young franchise, their rituals are part of their makeup and now they are going to have to curtail or stop them. Here is what Durant had to say.
“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.”
I don't see KG being all that much in favor of it either. For 16 years you go through the same routine. And now a power hungry dictator tells you that now you have only 90 seconds to get it done and get out there for the tip. I don't see the purpose of it but then again, I don't see the purpose of a lot of the things David Stern decides to make law.