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NBA Warns Against Potentially Dangerous Fouls During Free Throw Attempts

As it turns out, the sneak attack piggyback tactic is frowned upon.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a rise of instances in the NBA in which a player will intentionally foul an opponent by jumping on their back during another player’s free throw attempt (think Nerlens Noel jumping on Andre Drummond’s back while Jerami Grant was shooting). Recognizing this, the NBA issued the following memo regarding the consequences of such actions:

We have recently seen instances during games in which a player, in order to commit a deliberate foul, jumps on an opponent’s back during a free throw attempt.  This is a potentially dangerous play against a player in a vulnerable position.

Please be advised that the referees have been instructed to evaluate such plays under all applicable playing rules, including the rules relating to Flagrant Fouls.  Players remain free to commit deliberate fouls during free throw attempts, but such fouls will be assessed as Flagrant if they meet the applicable criteria.  (See this memo of October 26 for the factors used in determining and classifying Flagrant Fouls.)

This should be common sense, but the intent is to remind officials to be on the lookout so that players are properly protected.


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