NBA Releases Memo Regarding Jumping on Players' Backs During Free Throws

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2016

NEW YORK,NY - NOVEMBER 29: Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets shoots a foul shot against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on November 29, 2015 in New York,New York NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The NBA's executive vice president of basketball operations, Kiki VanDeWeghe, issued a memo to the Association's teams and players on Tuesday addressing the recent practice of players deliberately committing fouls by jumping on another player's back.

According to the memo, "The referees have been instructed to evaluate such plays under all applicable playing rules, including the rules relating to flagrant fouls. Players remain free to commit deliberate fouls during free-throw attempts, but such fouls will be assessed as flagrant if they meet the applicable criteria."

The memo also called the practice of jumping on another player's back during a free-throw attempt "a potentially dangerous play against a player in a vulnerable position."    

The fact that referees can now hand out flagrant fouls to players who foul in such a manner will likely put an end to the practice altogether. Notoriously poor free-throw shooters such as Dwight Howard and Andre Drummond have been subjected to having players jump on their backs in order to force the centers to the free-throw line. 

It's hard to imagine many complaints around the league in regard to this memo.

"Telling a guy he can't jump on someone's back is not that big of a rule change," Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said Sunday, per the Associated Press (via

While poor free-throw shooters like Howard, Drummond, DeAndre Jordan and Hassan Whiteside will still likely be fouled intentionally as teams look to exploit their poor shooting percentages from the charity stripe, the fouls will at least be done in a safer manner.


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