Like any NBA player, Buddy Hield hoped to do great things. The Sacramento Kings’ leading scorer set a record with 602 three-pointers in his first three years in the league. The shooting guard from West Grand Bahama raised over $450,000 when Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc in the Bahamas in September. Now, Hield has something new to add to his eventful year.
A new NBA rule
In September, The New York Times talked to four sources familiar with NBA policies. According to a new rule, NBA teams must certify and submit each player’s correct age and height within the first week of training camp. Hield was one of the motivations for the league crackdown. In December 2018, the NBA discovered that Hield’s age was listed incorrectly.
On the NBC Sports California broadcast, Hield stated he turned 26 on his December birthday and not 25, as his NBA-listed age suggested. According to Yahoo Sports, it was merely a clerical error. Hield’s birthday is correctly listed as 1992 on all of his identification. His case seems to be an anomaly, as age discrepancies aren’t common in the NBA’s record keeping.
The front offices of NBA teams learned that player heights must be certified by a team physician. Additionally, player ages must be confirmed to the league office through the submission of a valid driver’s license or passport.
The NBA has a height issue
As The New York Times points out, historically, information about NBA players has involved numerous inaccuracies. Some players were consistently listed taller to fend off critics who claim they’re too small for certain positions.
For example, Golden State Warrior’s Draymond Green is usually listed as 6-foot-7-inch and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is recorded as 6-foot-6-inch. Some smaller guards are also thought to have inflated heights. Dallas Mavericks’ J.J. Barea is listed at 6-feet-tall, Hall of Famer Allen Iverson at 6-feet-tall, and Boston Celtics’ Kemba Walker at 6-foot-1-inch.
Some players list themselves as shorter than they actually are to avoid labels like “7-foot-plus power players.” Retired players like Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and Hall of Famer Bill Walton were all recorded as 6-foot-11-inches. It’s believed the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant lists himself as shorter, too.
Embellished heights have been a problem in the NBA for some time. Many players attend the league’s annual draft combine and get measured there. But not all players get invited or show up for measurement.
Players added to a team’s roster during training camp must be measured within a week of signing. Weight listings, however, are not team-certified. Weights can easily fluctuate, according to The New York Times.
On the NBA’s Draft Combine site, player heights are listed both with and without shoes. However, according to the new policy, players will be measured without shoes. The new practice is bound to draw attention in the weeks to come by pointing out certain players’ noticeable discrepancies.
Why did the NBA create new rules?
The league created the new rule in order to maintain “the integrity of information” distributed to the public by the league. Mike Bass, an NBA spokesperson, said: “A consistent process has been created to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the data on team rosters.”
Mark Tatum, the NBA’s deputy commissioner, talked to Bloomberg in June. He explained the importance of guaranteeing the accuracy of NBA players’ public data including their ages and heights. The NBA wants to maintain transparency for business partners and fans.
Tatum went on to tell Bloomberg that the integrity of such information is vital these days. In a legalized sports betting world, standards must be higher than ever. And the NBA is closely reviewing its information.
Speaking of transparency, the NBA put another policy in place that many see as gambler-friendly. NBA teams are now required to announce their starting lineups no later than 30 minutes before the opening tip. Before they had to report by 10 minutes before tip-off.