The new rules emphasis on Freedom of Movement seems to have some coaches in a tizzy as they try to find a way to get their teams to be able to play defense without fouling.
That lack of contact isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The NBA made some changes to their rules after the Detroit Pistons started playing rugby to win titles, and that has allowed Stephen Curry a chance to thrive.
But compared to the first ever basketball game, we already had Freedom of Movement.
Kansas managed to dig up an audio recording of a radio interview that Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, did back in January of 1939 — it’s awesome, by the way, give it a listen right here — and here is how he described the first ever game of basketball back in 1891:
Well, I didn’t have enough [rules]. And that’s where I made my big mistake. The boys tackling, kicking and punching in the clinches. They ended up in a free-for-all in the middle of the gym floor. Before I could pull them apart, one boy was knocked out, several of them had black eyes, and one had a dislocated shoulder. It certainly was murder.
That doesn’t sound like fun.
I wonder if those first coaches pushed back on the new rule changes. “How can we play defense if we’re not allowed to knock people unconscious???”