With nearly half his league’s teams reeling from massive operating losses, NBA commissioner David Stern today declared that he would begin charging both players and fans for free throws.
“It’s an unfortunate result of our economic climate,” said Stern.“Right now, many of our teams are simply not generating the kind of revenue needed to preserve competitive balance within the league.”
Stern went on to blame the massive revenue losses on NBA players, whom he said earn a disproportionate amount of money in relation to league grosses, as well as NBA fans, who have declined to watch subpar teams such as the Grizzlies, Nets, Grizzlies, Wizards, and Grizzlies.
“This league was built on fans,” Stern said.“Without their support, we suffer.So really, it’s their fault.”
According to the new rules, any player who is fouled will face a surcharge before stepping to the free throw line (which will now be renamed the throw line).Fees will be based on a percentage of the player’s salary.Players making more will be charged more for the right to shoot two throws.If the player cannot afford the surcharge, the throws will be counted as missed and the fouling team will regain possession.Players such as Kobe Bryant, who is fouled nearly 20 times a game, are expected to lose tens of thousands of dollars per game.
Further, fans in attendance will be charged ten cents apiece for each throw.Fans watching at home will see the surcharge appear added to their cable bill.
Fans around the nation were outraged by the announcement.
“This is a disgrace,” said Knicks fan Mike Chester.“If Dick Bavetta is doing a game, I’ll be flat broke by the halftime.
But Stern defended the new practice.
“These throws have been free for far too long,” said Stern.“We have to diversify our revenue streams, and this is one of the least invasive ways of doing it.”
Stern also announced that Dick Bavetta will now officiate every NBA game in perpetuity.