Or so he thinks.
As part of commissioner Adam Silver's effort to increase transparency, the NBA released "confidential" memos pertaining to the league's officiating, according to Bleacher Report's Howard Beck. The memos cover a vast array of topics, including further explanation on the Association's "verticality" rule:
The memos—authored by Mike Bantom, the executive vice president of referee operations—cover topics such as delay-of-game penalties, illegal screens and flopping, with hyperlinks to game video to illustrate the league's interpretation of specific plays.
The most recent missive, dated March 31, offers clarification on the so-called "verticality" rule—specifically, how to officiate defenders who turn sideways while rising to contest a shot.
Anyone who has watched Hibbert play knows he embodies vertical defense. He's a master of jumping straight up with both arms in the air as opposing players attack the rim and initiate contact.
Naturally, Hibbert sees the NBA's attempt to create additional transparency as a vendetta against him. He posted the below picture to his Instagram account:
The caption of said photo reads: "Got a league memo out for my a--. My 'Str8 Ups' gotta be on point. I see a lot of bigs doing the str8 ups. I call em 'Disciples.'"
If anyone out there can effectively explain the concept of "humility," feel free to contact Hibbert with a few friendly pointers.
Personally, I've yet to hear any active player cite Hibbert as a defensive inspiration. And while he's most often associated with this type of defense, he's not the author of it. As Pro Basketball Talk's Brett Pollakoff mentions, Hibbert wasn't even included in any of the video samples the league provided.
That's not to say Hibbert shouldn't receive recognition for contesting shots and mid-air exploits. He's one of the best. But his latest conspiracy theory is a bit much, right up there with the NBA rigging the draft lottery.
Hibbert has bigger things to worry about than the NBA cramping a defensive style he most definitely did not invent. His Indiana Pacers have fallen out of first place in the Eastern Conference and are struggling to score and collect victories at the worst possible time.
With the playoffs fast approaching, Hibbert and the Pacers need to get it together. They've lost five of their last seven and have an uber-important, potentially first-place-deciding matchup coming up against Miami on April 11.
If the Pacers still plan on chasing a championship, it's best Hibbert ignore memos that weren't inspired by him and start thinking of ways to fix the team's broken, inconsistent offense.
"Good for them," Hibbert told reporters of Miami sliding into first place, per Pacers.com's Scott Agness. "We don't deserve it."
Kind of like how Hibbert doesn't deserve to be considered the begetter of vertical defense.
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