By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The NBA is a wonderful place in that the league showcases some of the best athletes in the world competing night in and night out for everyone to see.
But maybe it might be time to start enforcing those rules about traveling?
While we know that’ll never happen, as traveling rules have not applied to star players for quite some time, a pair of plays by LeBron James in Tuesday night’s nationally televised season opener were particularly egregious.
One involved James driving down the lane against second-year player Jaylen Brown, who was a nuisance to James all night. James leaped off his feet, thus getting the defender in the air, before landing on both feet, stopping, pivoting, and stepping toward the hoop for an uncontested lay-in:
The other instance came when James was guarded on the perimeter by Kyrie Irving. James holds the ball over his head, keeping his left foot on the ground as his pivot foot. He then lifts that left foot high off the ground, extending it out toward Irving. In doing so, he switched his pivot foot from his left to right foot, which is generally not allowed.
But James was quick to realize what had happened, so he promptly began his dribble, thus avoiding a travel call.
Of course, throughout James’ 41 minutes on the floor, he displayed that he’s still the best basketball player in the world en route to his Cavaliers narrowly winning 102-99. And some loose interpretation of the traveling rules are surely nothing new in the NBA, particularly as they apply — or don’t — to James.
Still, much like the NFL leaves open the philosophical debate of “what is a catch?” we may never get a universal understanding of what constitutes traveling in the NBA.