With UCLA playing in the Sweet 16 tonight, it’s a fitting time to bring up the story of the time that the association banned dunking.
It was in 1967, and it was because there was a kid named Lew Alcindor (who would change his name to Kareem Abdul Jabbar) at UCLA who led the Bruins to a 30-0 record and a national title.
And just think, that rule change, which lasted until 1976, kept some of the game’s greatest dunkers from showing what they could really do in college. Imagine David Thompson rattling rims, rather than his assortment of finger-rolls and layups. Dr. J soared at UMass, but never like Dr. J really could. And so on.
So as you’re watching the rest of the NCAA tournament, thank the rule-makers who brought the dunk back. We’re better for it.