By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — A blue moon. Halley’s Comet. A traveling call in the NBA.
Each of those events occurs with such a lack of frequency that they’re generally not things you expect to see take place very often. If you do manage to capture the moment with your own vision, it becomes a moment you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Monday night in the NBA offered an opportunity for one of those events to take place. It came when Wizards guard Bradley Beal picked up his dribble, took three steps on his way to the basket, lost control of the ball, took two more steps, and then made an ill-fated pass to Tervor Ariza.
Even in the NBA, where it takes an act of God for a traveling violation to be enforced, this was the prime opportunity for the men/women in gray to blow the whistle and boldly make the call that few refs have made before: traveling.
Alas … there was no call.
The internet laughed together, as the internet typically does.
But one Twitter account that did not find the matter to be funny was the official account of NBA referees. This account not only failed to find the humor, but this official account of NBA referees tried to make the case that what the world had just witnessed was actually not a missed call. The official account of NBA referees tried to argue that Bradley Beal’s five steps were legal.
Merely making the statement wasn’t enough, though, as the account went on to tag ESPN hosts and Pistons color commentator Greg Kelser.
That’ll show ’em!
To recap — the referees are trying to say that a player is apparently allowed to take multiple steps if that player loses possession (on his own, without contact) after taking multiple steps already.
(I suppose it’s possible that the Twitter account was making a tongue-in-cheek assessment of the play? I don’t know. I’m not familiar with the general tone of the account. But it at least appears to be a sincere message.)
That means players are free to simply run a few steps, intentionally bobble the basketball, run a few more steps, intentionally bobble the ball again, and continue on running around the court without ever having to worry about that pesky act of dribbling. (Who’s got the time to dribble? And in THIS economy?)
Or it means that the refs on the court blew a call.
One or the other.
Either way, we should all remember the moment that we all almost witnessed a traveling call in the NBA. We were all. So. Close.
R.I.P. to traveling in the NBA: 1949-2019. It was a good run. (“Run.” Get it? That was a joke.)
The explanation from NBA refs, proved without a doubt that referees are never, ever wrong, and also that we might never, ever see a traveling call made again.