- If you haven't been paying attention, the NBA gets weird on a nightly basis. Like, really weird.
- With the 2018-19 NBA season tipping off on Tuesday, Rob Perez details all the quirks that make the Association so captivating.
Basketball is X’s and O’s. It’s Mike Breen “BANG!”s. It’s drama on and off the court. It’s pulling up from 30 and knowing it’s going in before it even leaves the finger tips.
We could go on forever, we know all of this.
As the 2018-19 campaign tips off on Tuesday, it’s important to take a moment to appreciate the game we love and why we love it.
There is no right or wrong answer here, however, for me — it’s easy. This sport is so weird. Like, so damn weird.
I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been religiously watching/playing for upwards of two decades, but there are so many little intricacies that occur every night we see but we don’t see and now I am seeing them like I’ve been spoken to by a divine basketball being looking to spread the word of #WeirdNBA.
I know how ludicrous that sounds, so let me explain and illustrate because the list has gotten so long, I feel compelled to share it so you can indulge in the experience during the upcoming season.
Join me down the rabbit hole. This is the Weird NBA Encyclopedia.
The Ballbonic Plague
The disease that has spread rampant across the league like a scene out of “The Walking Dead,” it’s rare to go a full night without witnessing the strangest NBA subtlety in the wild.
Here’s how it works: When the game is over but the clock hasn’t hit zero yet, the winning team, more often than not, dribbles out the final seconds.
It’s disrespectful to score on an opponent that has surrendered so you’d think the player with the ball will just hand it to the ref and that’ll be that.
Negative. You see, the shot clock might still be on and if it is, that means it is going to expire before the game clock.
What happens next is called The Ballbonic Plague: Players will pass it around to each other like a game of hot potato so that they’re not the ones holding it when the buzzer goes off.
Why does this happen? I have absolutely no idea.
Do the players think they will get a shot clock violation turnover added to their statistics if they are the ones holding it when the clock hits zero? Because that’s not the case; it is recorded as a team turnover. So weird.
The perfect dunk. It doesn’t need to be a posterization, but when a defender is standing in the right spot at the right time after getting yammed on … DOINK!!! Right off the dome!
When players are synced up like an NBA2K animation screen but in real life…
Opening Tip Rituals
The NBA’s version of a touchdown dance, but after winning the opening tip.
The founder of the movement: Rajon Rondo
The Vice Presidents: Eric Bledsoe and Giannis Antetokounmpo
Free Throw Trolling
You’d figure free throws are as simple as a player stepping up to the line and shooting wide open 15-foot jump shots. Negative.
Opposing players will do whatever they can to break the free throw shooter’s concentration.
Especially with the game on the line … sometimes you want to double-check and make sure everyone is lined up properly just as the ref is about to pass the player the ball.
Steven Adams Scratching Post
For completely unknown reasons, Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams regularly uses opposing players as scratching posts.
I’m as confused as you are.
Gamblers already know about The Moose. Long story short for those who don’t: It’s a very bad gambling beat that hits you in the final seconds. Sometimes, however, you avoid the moose!
And in the NBA where some fans sit only inches from the action, we get amazing reactions at the end of games.
Every once and a while, a defender will get crossed up or dunked into oblivion. If you are sitting on the bench when this occurs, you have a role to act out once the play is complete.
We have towel wavers and mimes, along with the guys who run into the tunnel or hold everyone back or fall on the floor and pretend you’re dead guy.
Every team has its own version of a bench mob with specific taunts and celebrations to overhype up what just happened on the court.
Al Horford Rebound Flinching
Like WWE wrestlers and their finishing moves, certain NBA stars have their own rituals when they throw one down.
James Harden and his nosebleed continues to be the most electrifying move in sports entertainment today.
The Field Goal Percentage Savings Club
One of the best things in the NBA is watching players pretend like they tried their hardest to get the full-court heave off before the buzzer, only to make sure they launch it milliseconds after the clock hits zero so the hail mary doesn’t count against their field goal percentage.
The moment this happens, the player is inducted into “The Field Goal Percentage Savings Club.”
The basketball gods do not take kindly to this act of treachery. Many times, they will punish the offender with the torture of knowing they should have taken one for the team and gotten it off before clock expiration because it would have counted.
Alas, after years of documentation and investigation, we Savings Club shoppers were vindicated by JJ Redick this preseason, when he admitted to the mindset we have been attempting to expose for so long:
This is always great entertainment, watching players navigate the waters of membership. And the best part: It can happen up to four times a game.
Once you notice it, you cannot unsee it.
League Pass After Dark
Things get strange fast when you have access to the NBA League Pass Jumbotron feed during TV timeouts.
Originated by guys on The Starters, whenever a ball gets wedged between the rim and the backboard or perfectly lays on top of the basket — we have a ledgie/wedgie/pigeon!
Enemy at the Gates
There are spies everywhere. Like a game of poker, make sure you cover your cards. You never know who’s looking.
Every blue moon, a mascot will interrupt play for a variety of reasons. It is usually nothing short of glorious.
Pretty Much Anything Involving Boban
No explanation needed
If you made it all the way to the point of reading this, I can guarantee one thing: You will never watch the NBA the same way again.