But no more. The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) took the giant leap yesterday at its meetings in Beijing, when its highest executive body - the FIBA Central Board - announced a number of rule changes, which in effect, will make the international and NBA game virtually the same.
Even FIBA's press release referred to "historical changes", and indeed in one fell swoop, FIBA did a "copy and paste" from the NBA rule book to its own:
- Beginning October 1, 2010, you can forget about the "funny-looking" international court with the trapezoid 3-second area: it will be a rectangle just like the NBA's
- 3-point line will go from 6.25 m (20'6") to 6.75 m (22'2"); the NBA line is 6.71 m (22'0") from the baseline to the foul line, and 7.24 m (23'7") on the arc connecting the 2 lines
- Time-outs in the last 2 minutes of the game and in overtime: the ball will be taken out in the frontcourt at a point opposite the top of the 3-point arc (sound familiar?)
- Ball knocked out of bounds by the defensive team in backcourt: the offensive team will get a new 24-second clock; if in frontcourt and there is more than 14 seconds, the 24-second clock will stay as is; if 13 seconds or less, the 24-second clock will be reset to 14 seconds (sound familiar?)
- There will be a restricted circle underneath the basket where in most circumstances an offsenive foul cannot be called (also sound familiar?)
- No t-shirts under uniforms in any circumstances
- A player who falls on the floor and slides while holding the ball will no longer be called for travelling
- A player won't be deemed to be in frontcourt until two feet and the ball are in contact with the frontcourt (another direct steal from US rules - NBA and NCAA)
- A technical foul can be called on a player for excessively swinging his elbows, even if no contact was made (another NBA rule)
The ONLY major difference that remains, as far as I can tell from the FIBA release, is that there is still no concept of a "cylinder" in international basketball, i.e. once the ball hits the rim, it's a free ball.
Given the innumerable Americans playing on teams in every league in almost every country around the world, this will certainly smooth the transition for everyone, and will also hasten the day coming soon when the NBA begins expanding globally.For those who want to take a look at the FIBA press release: http://www.fiba.com/pages/eng/fc/news/lateNews/p/newsid/24352/arti.html