Out to separate fact from fiction
NBA hopes to dispel officiating myths
By JONATHAN FEIGEN
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
NEW YORK -- Jeff Van Gundy is wrong.
But he is in good company. The NBA director of officiating and the league's vice president for basketball operations believe Phil Jackson is wrong, too. So is Rick Adelman. And especially Mark Cuban.
There are myths about officiating that Ronnie Nunn and Stu Jackson want to end. Getting rid of myths was a motivating factor for Friday's NBA media seminar on the extensive daily review process of referees.
Van Gundy's myth -- and he might prefer that Yao Ming still believe it -- is that "men of size" must accept that they will receive more contact than other players.
"That's a myth, and I want to remove that myth," said Nunn, who was an NBA official 19 years before becoming director of officials this season to help lead the increasingly intense and involved training process. "They deserve at 7-6 what people deserve at 5-6. Sometimes, there's a natural tendency to put certain contact into an incidental area where maybe it wasn't.
"You have to work with people with size and give them the same due process you do with people that are smaller."
There are myths that come up much more often. The reviews of every whistle -- first by "standard observers" in the arena, then on tape that night and again on tape the next day by the officials and the league staff -- offer chances to separate fact from fiction.
"Conspiracy theories," Jackson said of the myths he would like to end.
"Big market, small market.
"That the referees have an agenda going into a game against a team or a player. Those are the strongest myths we wish would go away."
Nunn argued that a late whistle is usually the sign of a good official.
"You don't want a quicker whistle on any contact in the NBA," Nunn said. "You want to absorb the play. Late whistles are good. A great official always has a later whistle.
"Sometimes people look like they're grabbed for a moment, and they're not. And we think, `was the grab that strong?' We call it the `RSBQ.' If it doesn't change a player's rhythm, speed, balance, quickness, we will let it go."
But most of all, the two-hour session was to dispute the notion there is no accountability for NBA officials...
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