Lost amidst storylines of the USA reasserting its dominance over the world with a 2nd tier team, and the early exits of "powerhouses" Spain and Argentina, FIBA officials sat down with a few journalists at the FIBA World Championships to discuss rules changes to the international game. Admittedly, as developments go, this one tips the Richter scale less than my post coffee-break flatulence, but there was one tidbit that's good for a laugh in these basketball deprived times.
A small sample of the topics discussed: FIBA will now force the people who paint their basketball courts to learn how to paint in a straight line (removing the weird trapezoidal lane), and they've decided to make the 3 point shot more difficult than a layup, by moving the line back more than 18 inches. Oh, and they'd like the NBA to adopt their rules regarding goaltending, too.
Wait, run that last one by me again? FIBA wants the NBA to change some of their rules to follow the model of the international game? Seriously?!?
Look here, FIBA, I like the international game and all. It's a welcome distraction during an otherwise dead period in the basketball landscape. Aside from unavoidably inconvenient start times, the product doesn't suck, and I even enjoy the quirky rules, because they provide a competitive advantage which allows other nations to (sometimes) avoid getting flattened by the Americans like an anthill standing up against a steamroller. But any attempts you make at dictating, or even suggesting, that the NBA makes changes to fall in line with how you play the game are only going to get you laughed at.
This ain't track and field, or some other fringe sport where the international game is pretty much the only game in town. It's not even soccer, where the international game and the professional game meet as equals before getting into fisticuffs over the fact that clubs foot the bill for months and months of player salaries even when those players miss six months due to an injury picked up playing for their country. This is basketball, and basketball's totem pole has a pretty clear pecking order: The NBA, and then everybody else. Even if you are 2nd on said totem pole (and that is a big if, I'd venture that NCAA basketball and some of the better Euro leages outrank FIBA in terms of importance, if not necessarily quality of product), all that indicates is that you get to be first in line to bow at the feet of the NBA and kiss David Stern's ring.
The fact that I'm mildly intrigued by the concept of an NBA that allows goaltending after the ball has touched the rim is irrelevant. I may be the founder and president of the New Brunswick chapter of Conservatives for Communism, but you don't see me sending memos to Fidel Castro suggesting changes for the future benefit of the Communist regime (if only I had his mailing address ...). If you want the NBA version of basketball to look more like the international version of basketball, FIBA, then maybe you should start modeling your game after the NBA version of basketball.