The "Elam Ending" is an innovative change to the game of basketball that may significantly shift how games end. Here's what you need to know and how the change has already started to catch on.
There are few things in sports more dramatic and exciting than a buzzer-beating shot to give a team the last-second victory. But as fans of basketball know, the play leading up to that buzzer-beating shot is often slow, sloppy, and hard to watch.
One man had an idea of how to change the conclusion of a basketball game for the better, and the world is watching.
What is the Elam Ending?
Created by Nick Elam, a "Ball State professor, Mensa member and Cincinnati Reds groundskeeper," the Elam Ending is an alternative ending of a basketball game.
Here's how it works:
During the first time stoppage within the last four minutes of a game (time stoppage = timeout, foul, the ball goes out of bounds), the clock is turned off. Instead of the teams needing to simply have the highest score by the time the clock strikes zero, with the Elam Ending, there is a target score a team needs to reach, which then ends the game.
After the clock is turned off, a target score is set by adding seven points to the score of the highest team. For example, let's say the score at this point in the game is 50 - 44. The target score will be 57, and the first team to reach 57 automatically wins the game.
The best aspect of this alternative rule is that every game now ends with a game-winning shot. Other benefits include preventing teams from trying to burn the time on the clock, which is boring to watch, and preventing the losing team from intentionally fouling, which slows the game down.
How It's Being Used
The summer-long $2M basketball tournament TBT has adopted the Elam Ending. The tournament, which airs on ESPN, is gaining attention, and representatives from the NCAA and NBA are watching, collecting data, and considering if there would ever be a place for the Elam Ending in their game.
While I don't believe we will see the Elam Ending in the NBA anytime soon, I do believe that other small leagues around the world will adopt this format. It's more exciting for fans and solves several existing problems.
What do you think of Elam Ending? Should the NBA or NCAA adopt it?