Adam Silver Explains Rule Changes, Says The NBA Got ‘Too Physical’ In The 90s

Adam Silver takes the podium at the 2023 NBA Draft.

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke to former basketball star Kevin Garnett about his reasoning for implementing rule changes over the last few seasons. The league leader claims that it was in the best interest of the game.

He says physicality was hindering the NBA’s top skill players from performing at a high level on the court, and that a lack of offensive output was causing fans to lose interest.

To address these issues, Silver and Co. made a few rule changes that have undoubtedly benefitted offensive players. While his intentions might’ve been in the right place, the commissioner admits that it gave some players the ability to legally exploit opponents.

When talking to KG in an interview for Showtime, he discussed the changes, the drawbacks, and the response to those negative aspects.

“There was a point, I believe, you know probably in the late nineties when the game became too physical,” Silver says. “I think for our fans, we lost some of the aesthetic enjoyment of the game. It de-emphasized the particular skill a player had and maybe weighted too heavily on physicality, where a big, strong player could come in and prevent an incredibly skilled player from doing those kinds of things.”

The commissioner would go on to single out superstar Steph Curry, who’s one of the league’s most skilled scorers and ball handlers. He says that if guys could just “bang him and knock him to the ground,” it would limit his ability to shoot and to move around in the paint.

That’s certainly hard to argue, but unfortunately, some of these new changes have, maybe unintentionally, put defenders at a disadvantage.

Flopping and other tactics have resulted in cheap foul calls, allowing scorers to exploit the rules. The NBA is now looking to “find the right balance.”

“We’ve tried to bring back a little bit more of the physicality. I think people like to see hard defense,” Silver says. “We made some changes this season where ‘unnatural basketball moves’ were being used to game the system… We reset this year… That’s no longer going to be a foul.”

Flopping has certainly been a point of emphasis this year. In fact, the league is now considering the idea of handing out technical fouls for offenders.

Still, not everyone would agree that the focus on removing the flop has worked thus far. Looking at you, LeBron…

We’ll soon see what lengths Adam Silver goes to in order to even things out for the defense. Whatever changes are made, they’ll have to wait until the offseason.

Jacob Elsey BroBible avatar
BroBible writer. Jacob is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and is based in Charleston, SC.