There has been a FIBA travel rule change. Here is the new FIBA traveling rule:
While moving and having one foot on the floor while catching the ball or ending a dribble the next foot or feet to touch the floor is Step 1 and will become the pivot foot.
The purpose of this FIBA travel rule change is to have a common worldwide traveling rule that better reflects the actions on the court. That’s a lot of blah blah but what it really means is that FIBA has now adopted the same traveling rules as the NBA. Therefore, American players who play basketball overseas are now ecstatic.
The people who complain about traveling in the NBA usually complain about a specific type of play: the gather step. Everyone knows and accepts that you can take two steps before passing or releasing the ball, but the NBA sort of gives you a third step. Any strides you take while still in the process of catching the ball don’t count as one of your two. Let’s be perfectly honest here; the NBA has no traveling rules. A player can basically take as many steps as he wants. Traveling violations are practically never called. YouTube is full of viral videos of NBA players walking around with the ball like they are on some promenade. Ignoring traveling violations gives the offensive player a huge advantage, and that’s good for the entertainment. Therefore, also good for business.
All other leagues are more strict about that rule. But not anymore after the new FIBA travel rule change. It is another phase in the transformation of International Basketball to mirror the NBA, where entertainment seems more important than competitiveness. We already noticed the bending of the rules as described in our post The pick and roll propaganda But especially Europe has a different sports culture than the US. In the US (and Asia) sports is entertainment. It’s business. Families go to games, eat hotdogs, and buy souvenirs. They could end up spending hundreds of dollars on a single game. Cha-Ching! The game itself is just part of a night out. There are certainly cultural differences with Europe. Sports there is a metaphor for a tribal war. The clubs often have deep ethnic or regional roots. They are part of the identity of the fans. They don’t care about showboating. The only thing that matters is winning. At all costs.
The FIBA ignores this cultural and historical difference and thinks that they can simply copy the NBA and plant a clone in Athens, Istanbul, Belgrade, and Vilnius. In fact, those cities don’t even fit in the business model of sports as entertainment. Too many rowdy fans and too little potential earnings. Much less than FIBA favorites like London, Singapore, and Dubai. Has the FIBA ever asked the European fans what they want? Disneyland failed in Paris. Due to cultural differences. Maybe the European Basketball fans don’t want “Disney Basketball” or “Circus Basketball” either?