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After Dion Waiters’s Elbow, What Other Players Are Destined to Change the NBA’s Rulebook?

Getty Images
Getty Images

Ken Mauer has been an NBA official since 1986. Previously, according to his Wikipedia page, he was the director of a circus. Yet despite Mauer’s 29 years as a referee, and his past work managing clowns, acrobats, and sword swallowers, life still holds surprises for him. When Dion Waiters carved out space for himself by shoving his elbow into Manu Ginobili’s chest Monday at the end of Game 2 of the Thunder-Spurs playoff series, he combined two basketball plays that happen every game: an inbounds pass and a strategically thrown elbow. In the process, Waiters created a new and, at the moment, baffling species of offensive foul. “It’s a play that we have never seen before, ever,” Mauer said after the game to explain why the whistle never blew. Added the National Basketball Referees Association from its official Twitter account: “We’ll incorporate this in training moving forward.” Thus Dion Waiters joins an elite group of NBA players to have his own rule.

Let’s look to the future to discover other never-before-seen plays and the rule changes they may inspire.

The Bojan Bogdanovic, Bogdan Bogdanovic,* Boban Marjanovic Addendum

If two (2) or more players from the same country or region have similar names, their names may be used interchangeably.

*Rule applies when Bogdan Bogdanovich, the 27th pick in the 2014 draft (PHX), enters the league.

The Tim Duncan Face Rule

If a player never agreed with a single foul call over the course of a career that lasted 18 or more seasons, then his statue or other honorific likeness must depict him as if he were reacting to a whistle.

The Jason Kidd Rule

Any attempt by a coach to illegally halt play using food, drink, or condiments will result in two free throws and possession of the ball for the opponent. The coach must then work the remainder of the game as a member of the custodial staff.

The Hack-a-Shaq Rule

When attempting to intentionally foul during free throws, a player leaping onto another player’s back will result in a flagrant foul. If the leaping player should twirl one hand in the air as if riding in a rodeo, the result will also be a flagrant foul, but everyone will be obliged to admit it was funny.

The Bazzzzzze Gaze Rule

If a player falls asleep on the bench during a playoff game, everyone in the arena must quietly leave, the lights must be turned off, and the doors must be locked. The game will be replayed at a later date.

The “Born Reble” Rule

Players with large tattoos featuring unintentional misspellings must play with the tattoo exposed.

The Chicken Sandwich Rule

Flagrant fouls resulting from taunts over in-arena food promotions will result in payment for all awarded chicken sandwiches coming out of the offending player’s check.

The JaVale McGee/Joel Embiid* Rule

If, by a player’s second contract, his social media presence is more relevant than his playing career, he must change his Twitter avatar to an egg.

*Embiid will share naming ownership of this rule once he signs his second contract.

This piece originally appeared on the Ringer Facebook page on May 5, 2016.