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“Hack A Shaq”- Should It Be Banned?

The NBA has often been and continues to be a fast paced game.  The up and down action is an exciting brand of basketball.  The world’s greatest athletes are on display and showcase their abilities at the highest level.  Some times the game gets slowed down when teams start to foul.  The clock freezes.  Teams who are trailing late in the game often foul to stop the clock so that the team with the lead doesn’t simply run out the game clock.  With that said, defenses don’t only foul late in the game, but they will foul one of the teams atrocious free throw shooters in order to slow down the game, stop the clock, and prevent the team from scoring.  One of the games greats in Shaquille O’neal was the first victim of this strategy and it started in his college days at Louisiana State University (LSU).  Shaq was one of the most dominant basketball players to ever lace up a pair of sneakers.  His major weakness was his foul shooting.  Teams would foul him intentionally to prevent him from scoring.  More times than not, Shaq would only make one free throw or maybe even miss both shots.  This similar strategy is still practiced to this day on poor free throw shooters such as the Rockets Dwight Howard, but mainly on the Clippers Deandre Jordan.  The NBA has talked about possibly banning this strategy, but I think that is a bad idea.

The NBA should not ban the “Hack A Shaq” strategy.  Banning this strategy would bail out the poor free throw shooters.  When you have something that is a weakness, you are supposed to work on that weakness and try to make it a strength or at least a respectable attribute to your skill set.  The league would be sending the message that it is okay to not practice your weaknesses and just push it aside.  In life, we all need to practice our weaknesses.  If you work in retail say as a footwear salesman like myself, if one of your weaknesses is the inability to  find similar products and alternatives to what the customer is looking for, you need to do research and find out different products that are similar to each other, that way if it happens again you can better assist that person.  The customer usually doesn’t bail you out.  You aren’t the only one who sells footwear.  They will more than likely take their money and go somewhere else.  As a fan, it does get annoying at times to see the teams fouling, but there are many benefits to doing so.

As I previously mentioned, fouling a poor free throw shooter forces the shooter to step up to the line and knock down free throws.  Doing this also stops the game clock and prevents the player from getting an easier bucket.  It can also be used to stop an opponents momentum and can cause for a change of pace in the game.  If guys like Dwight Howard and Deandre Jordan could at least improve their free throw percentages to around 60-65%,  teams will start to think twice about fouling them as as a strategy.  For those who are in favor of banning the “Hack A Shaq” strategy, here is some possible penalties that the league could enforce on these teams.

The league could penalize any team that uses the “Hack A Shaq” strategy by treating it like a flagrant foul and giving the player who was fouled two free throws and the possession.  That could be a huge swing in the favor of the team that is falling victim to this strategy.  The league could then give the team a technical foul if it happens more than once a game.  If it happens three times in a game, the league could hand out fines.  Money talks and your wallet cries when it is losing money.

I believe that the “Hack A Shaq” strategy should continue to be allowed.  The poor free throw shooters should continue to practice their free throws and become respectable shooters.  Shooting free throws isn’t always a fundamental thing, it is often a mental thing.  You are all alone and there is no hand in your face.  You are often out of breath and gassed from running up and down the court.  You have thousands of fans waiting in anticipation and the spotlight is on you.  If you are in another teams building, you hear fans booing and screaming.  You hear fans taunting you and making fun of you.  Most people would be lying if they say those factors don’t effect them in some way, shape, or form.


Author: Nick Eberhardt

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Image Courtesy:  Jonathan Daniel/AllSport



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