If you ask me to power rank my top four sports to watch it goes: football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Football and baseball are usually 1a and 1b depending on the time of year since seasonal bias is real with the Patriots and Red Sox. Hockey is a firm fourth since, well, I just don’t like watching hockey*. And basketball is the constant middle manager of my sports affinity. But the Elam Ending may change that.
*Sorry to all my friends in Boston that I just offended.
Why Basketball Is Currently A Hard 3
Basketball is firmly in third for me not because I don’t have a team to root for since I’m all in on these young Celtics. And no, I don’t think games are rigged. And no, it has nothing to do with LAbron. What I have a problem with is how close games end. During those games one team sees momentum slipping away, as well as the score, and tries to battle back. And by battle back I mean we get to see this series of unfortunate events:
Team 1 (T1): Inbound and dribbles out
Team 2 (T2): Fouls T1
T1: Free Throws
T2: Inbound and dribbles out
T1: Fouls T2
T2: Free throws
The only fun thing that comes from this is discovering which player is being paid millions of dollars to play a game yet can’t hit a free throw. Sure, if you’re super lucky you might find out which player is bold enough to bust out the statistically more sound granny shot, but that is a rarity.
Seems like a problem without a solution, right? Wrong. If you’ve been watching The Basketball Tournament (TBT), you’ve noticed the Elam Ending in effect. A potential saving grace for basketball viewers like me that don’t love the flow of games now.
What Is An Elam Ending?
To avoid the endless fouling that comes along with the end of a game, fan of the hardcourt and Mensa member, Dr. Nick Elam, created a solution that is now known as the “Elam Ending”:
Due to this structure, teams are no longer incentivized to foul and extend the game. A strategy which, according to Elam, “was only successful about 1.5% of the time.” Pretty crazy to think we’ve watched DeAndre Jordan and Shaq take so many shots for no real reason.
Not only does this speed up the end of the game, the Elam Ending ensures you will always have a walk-off winner since you’re shooting for a target score to the end the game. What! That’s awesome.
— TBT (@thetournament) July 22, 2018
It is even more awesome for TBT since the champion wins $2 million. So, as Jon Mugar, CEO of TBT put it, “On August 3rd, at about 10:50 pm, someone will have to make a shot for $2 million. I can’t wait for that moment.” Same here, Jon. Same here.
Popularity of the Elam Ending
Yes, there are a lot of purists out there will stomp their feet and yell that is isn’t good for the game, but the NBA and NCAA have already taken note of this new ending.
As reported by Yahoo! Sports, “Kiki Vandeweghe, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations, was curious enough about Elam’s idea to have a 30-minute phone conversation with him about it last year. When TBT announced it was going all-in on the Elam Ending this summer, Vandeweghe and NBA senior vice president of basketball strategy and analytics Evan Wasch carved out time to watch as many games as possible and study the results.”
So get to know the Elam Ending folks. It may be around for a while.