The Elam Ending has become NBA corporate jargon to throw out there as a salve for everything. All-Star Game lost its appeal? Elam Ending fixes that. Low ratings? ELAM ENDING! Superstars sitting out games? E-LAM END-ING!!! The latest rumored implementation of “Playing to a number” comes as a fix for lengthy, not-at-all thrilling overtime games.
The league office really is panicking if it just had the game of the year — a 176-175 double OT points bonanza between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Clippers — and their response was, “Let’s try to prevent that from ever happening again.”
Overtimes aren’t the problem
Basketball might be the only extra period in America’s four major sports leagues that no one really has an issue with. It’s not like baseball where pitching turned marathons into whatever is longer than a marathon, or football where we debate who should get the ball and how many times, or hockey where they changed overtime to get rid of ties that purists may not have had an issue with.
Honestly, I don’t know how Adam Silver looks at Roger Goodell, Gary Bettman, or Rob Manfred, and says, “Let’s be more like them.” The NFL is too popular to fail, MLB is flailing to get out of its existential crisis, and the NHL is what it is.
There’s not much better in pro sports like two teams trading clutch buckets, and the crowd growing more delirious with every make. Add in a couple of great players, and it’s some of the most riveting regular season hoops all season. The Cavs-Celtics overtime game in November was one of the best contests of the year.
Also, when overtime is shitty, it can’t end fast enough. Have you ever seen an extra period where one or both teams don’t have it? A first-to-15 rule could take longer than the allotted five minutes, and there’s no guarantee of a shorter OT when IT’S NOT TIMED.
The NBA knows how to fix this, they just don’t want to
Shortening the season is the only solution, but team owners are treating it as if somebody just pitched them the final solution. I don’t want to go too in-depth here, because you can find a “Shorten the NBA season” rant on every sports outlet.
So I’ll end on this: The league has to compromise because all of this other shit — a midseason tournament, Elam Ending OTs, etc. — is only going to lead to another set of problems, and more whining.