After Paul George recently got his foot caught under a basket stanchion during a scrimmage in Las Vegas last week, the case for creating additional open space on the baseline in basketball has been gaining support.
Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk, who is playing for Team Canada this summer, had his own baseline issue in an international friendly against Serbia on Monday. Thankfully for Olynyk, the situation wasn’t nearly as serious as George’s injury, but after chasing a loose ball out of bounds, the seven-footer did find his right foot stuck in a courtside billboard.
The incident appears comical at first, as Olynyk attempts to shake off the billboard while running back down the floor before he comes to a complete halt to remove the signage. The truth is, though, this is just another example of why the NBA and FIBA should push back any obstructions, whether they are cameramen, basketball stanchions, or billboards further from the court.
Freak injuries are bound to happen in any sport, but the NBA and FIBA need to do their best to ensure the safety of players on the floor. Creating the necessary space for players to land out of bounds, as well as come to a halt after a sprint, should help reduce unnecessary injuries in all forms. Fortunately Olynyk wasn’t hurt in this incident, but he could have been. Basketball organizers on all levels need to smarten up and do more to protect their players.