When the NBA adopted the “Elam Ending” as a new element to the 2020 all-star game, most people were skeptical. This new method to use a target score instead of a game clock was foreign to most viewers around the world unless you’ve watched The Basketball Tournament. The 64-team, $2 million, winner-take-all summer event has used the Elam Ending for years. It was by watching The Basketball Tournament where Chris Paul got the idea to propose the NBA’s own version of the Elam Ending for the 2020 all-star game. The last several years have seen the all-star game lose some of its flair and excitement due to a lack of intensity by the players. The hope was that this original idea would create an atmosphere that promoted a higher level of competition among the 24 best players in the world. This would provide basketball fans everywhere with the most entertaining product possible.
The experiment to use the Elam Ending for the All-Star game was considered an overall success by all but there was one singular concern about the method. Many players, analysts, and fans felt the ending to the All-Star game was anti-climactic when an extremely competitive game ended as Kyle Lowry fouled Anthony Davis, who proceeded to win the game for Team Lebron on a free throw.
The strengths and weaknesses of the creative rule made by Ball State professor, Nick Elam, was magnified to the highest degree because of the stage it was presented on. The creators of The Basketball Tournament decided to go back to the drawing board to find a solution that prevents an ending similar to the All-Star game. According to Johnathan Mugar, TBT’s founder and CEO, 22.8% of TBT games have ended on free throws since it adopted the Elam Ending.
Mugar’s solution to fixing this issue is to alter the rules so that teams would be at a disadvantage if their strategy is to foul. If a team commits a foul while in the bonus during the Elam Ending, the other team will get only one foul shot, rather than two, and retain possession of the ball.
As The Basketball Tournament heads into its seventh season, all eyes will be viewing to see whether or not this new adjustment works and if it will be applicable to future NBA All-Star games.