There are nothing like rules changes to cause a little controversy. As the ‘53 season approached, two issues were burning in fans’ minds. The first was a change in free throw rules. No longer was a team allowed to turn down the opportunity to take a free throw after a foul. (Yes, free throw is singular on purpose. The penalty for a foul was one shot.) In ‘53, teams were now required to shoot. As a compromise, the reverse bonus rule was instituted – if you missed the free throw, you’d get a second chance. Apparently, scoring just one point on a possession was a big deal then. Fouls in the last three minutes of the game were worth a two shot guarantee.
The more interesting section is the one on coaching behavior. Of course, this is a topic that is still discussed today. In ‘53, the game was still adjusting to less stringent restrictions on coaching behavior. Gone were the days when a coach could only communicate to his players during a timeout. “Coaching from the bench” was born. It’s almost like the author pines for the days before substitutions and time outs were allowed. (I’m with him on timeouts.) Oswald Tower (born in 1883, eight years before the sport was invented) is pretty much the 1953 version of the guy that laments shorts extending below the knees today.
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