Sweet Jesus, I miss basketball.
I can only watch the same March Madness highlights and Gus Johnson compilation videos so many times before I need some new source of life. I even watched the entirety of the 2005 Illinois-Arizona game just because of the One Shining Podcast episode on it. There’s nothing else to do but think about ways that basketball arenas can become more unique.
This is the proverbial step up to LSD.
One of the most interesting concepts about baseball to sports fans is the lack of consistency in the stadium dimension. Fenway Park and the Polo Grounds were specifically built to fit within the street layouts of their cities, Yankee Stadium is built for whiny left-handers who want to artificially inflate their home run totals, Minute Maid Park was probably designed by a 6 year old (it has a train, after all), etc., etc., you get the idea. What was born from the fertile grounds of necessity blossomed into a beautiful tradition we see across the globe. No other sports can boast that, and I think basketball should wiggle its way into that market.
In some way they already do. For years and years, (L)isconsin cheated their way into a home court advantage by using balls that no one else did. Vanderbilt basically has the Grand Canyon hanging off the edge of their court, not to mention the benches are on the end lines for whatever Godforsaken reason. The rims in Maui are softer than James Breeding after his Sunday bath.
To shake things up, I’m going to present ways that basketball arenas can change their stadiums and equipment to make the game its own experience. These aren’t requirements, but schools can pick and choose which ones they want to implement.
1. Allow Teams To Move Back (Or Forward) Their Three Point Lines
Probably the easiest one to implement. Just as simple as drawing a new line to fit the style you want your team to play. Al Skinner, for example, would request that the line be moved to the half court line, while Jay Wright would simply replace the charge circle with it.
We could even implement it for other dimensioned features like the sidelines, the free throw line, the lane, hell, even the height of the hoop. Change anything you want, who gives a shit? The only thing I would request is that coaches don’t request certain dimensions on a yearly basis just to fit the team they have at the time. Lock them down for 8 years and let them go nuts.
“Wait”, you say. “Didn’t you just cover everything that can be changed in that one point?”
Oh, baby, go throw a log on that fire. We’re just getting started.
2. Put Water In the Basketballs If You Want
In this scenario, teams can decide how much water they want put in the balls (heh). This was prompted by a question I asked the fine folks/our mortal enemies at the Scrambled Eggs podcast about strategy dynamics involving water-filled basketballs. As a mechanical engineering major for 2 years (civil gang whaddup), my one mechanics class told me that things gets real kooky when you try and predict the movement of asymmetrical objects. Imagine if you had even one-quarter of a cup of water sloshing around in there. A simple outlet pass would jerk around enough to give Tim Wakefield a heart attack. Players would have no idea if the ball would bounce normally or if the weight of the water would halt the spring action necessary to keep the balls bouncy.
Just imagine being in an packed, yet silent, Fiserv Forum watching Markus Howard attempt two free throws for a chance to win the Big East title and hearing a faint splashing or swishing noise. Everyone would get the giggles, and isn’t that what we’re really here for?
3. Change The Hardwood To Those Carpeted Floors You Played On In First Grade
Not much would change. Players wouldn’t dive for the ball much anymore (carpet burn is bad, mmmkay), but that means Dan Dakich would be mad at people younger than him more than usual so it’s a win-win. The only other notable difference is that dribbling wouldn’t sound like bep-bep-bep anymore. It’d be more of a fump-fump-fump type of thing. Oh, and I suppose the sound of shoes squeaking on the floor would be a thing of the past, too.
4. Walls Surrounding The Court
I’m actually half-serious here. I like the added element of the wall for sports like indoor soccer and hockey, despite not actively watching either of those sports. I wouldn’t let players use the wall for dribbling purposes, but if they’re trapped at the half court line and want to use it to ricochet a pass, let them have it. If they want to do a sick wall jump like they’re in NFL Street (HEAVILY underrated sports game), more power to them.
5. Tal’s Hill
Remember that thing out in center field at Minute Maid Park? Lance Berkman had that one catch on it. It’s gone now, but I’m sure the remnants are somewhere. Give one lucky team the chance to put it anywhere on the court, flagpole included.
6. Non-Mandatory Scoreboard Placement
Again, not entirely kidding about this one. I’m sure there’s an existing rule that arenas need to have a certain amount of scoreboards in each gym, so let’s get rid of it. Imagine an important game against Villanova in which no one on either team knew what the score was. I’d still make them keep the shot clock above the backboards, but that’s it. If any coaches or players are found with a stopwatch or a personal score tally, they’re banned for life. Everything is left to the intuition of the coaches. Foul Fests at the end of games would be nonexistent and the image of a crowd of drunk fans at a bar who know the score trying to yell at a group of players that don’t know the score is exhilarating. Mick Cronin would lose half of his games simply because he thought his team was winning by double digits the whole time.
7. Trapezoidal Court
Haven’t thought this one through yet, but I really like a rhombus.
8. Zero Gravity Basketball
Ask Alex Sindelar about it.
9. You Know How Subs In Soccer Have The Weird Tablet That Shows What Player They’re Subbing For Instead Of Just Pointing To The Guy As They Run On The Field?
Yeah, that, except with Brian O’Connell trying to operate it.
10. There Is No Tenth Option Just To Fulfill Your Desire Of A Complete List That Is Solely Due To The Fact That Our Number System Is Based On The Number Ten. Also I Ran Out Of Ideas.
You can put your own idea in the comments section, because that’s how internet websites work. Or even multiple ideas if you want. It’s a free comments section.