Why Isn’t Traveling Called More In The NBA?

Why does it seem like NBA travels are getting out of hand?

Are the officials even calling them these days?

Traveling isn’t called more in the NBA since they want to make the games quicker. Plus, because of the new rules regarding traveling, it has become harder to call them in-game.

There are just so many reasons why you won’t see traveling being called all the time in the NBA. That’s why we’ve listed all of them here.

Why isn’t traveling called more in the NBA?

Traveling should be one of the most basic rules in basketball. But why exactly are they not being called?

It turns out it’s not as simple as you might think. Here are the reasons:

1. Because the NBA wants games to be quicker

The NBA is the highest basketball league in the world. But it’s also a big business that prioritizes earnings whenever it can.

Due to this, the league generally wants games to be faster so it doesn’t get too boring. Be honest, would you watch a game that stops for every little thing? So, in our observation, it seems the league lets the officials call the major contact fouls.

Lastly, the NBA calls fewer travels so games could be quicker to save money on TV time slots. Since the NBA is a business, they want to maximize earnings and minimize expenses wherever it can.

2. The rule is confusing for many

Since the NBA introduced the gather step in their traveling rule, everyone has lost their minds. The rule is so confusing for many, especially old heads, that every play seems to be a travel.

But according to the NBA rules, a player gathering the ball may take additional two steps. Because of this rule, players have the luxury to do moves like the Euro step without it being a travel.

But to the average NBA fan, they may call these as a travel since they look unusual, which we can’t blame.

3. Many unique moves are being created

The NBA is home to the best basketball players on Earth. That’s why there are a lot of new moves being created by players to outdo each other.

Just take James Harden’s step-back, which looks like a blatant traveling move. But upon closer inspection, he’s just taking a gather step and then two steps after and shoots it. It then narrowly escapes the confines of what constitutes a travel call.

This and many moves are being created each season, taking advantage of the gather step to create unfair moves. But since these moves are hard to perfect, sometimes the refs miss the ones that ARE traveling moves. 

4. It’s hard to tell all the time

The NBA now publicly reviews the last two minutes of close games. In their report, eight out of ten games have at least one incorrect or missed call. Also, they’re more likely to miss a call than get it wrong.

Since referees are still humans, they can’t be 100% correct all the time. That would just be impossible unless they get the help of AI or machines like what they have in football (Video Assistant Referee).

So, we should account for human error when referees don’t call travels. If it’s hard for us to know if a player traveled, how much more for officials who only get to see it a few seconds before making a decision?

Legal NBA Moves that Looks Like Traveling

Over the years, many NBA players created moves that pushed the boundaries of basketball rules.  

As such, we take a look at the most popular and legal NBA moves that look like traveling:

1. Harden’s Step back

When James Harden popularized his patented step-back, many fans went wild. We understand because his step-back takes extra three or four steps.

But what makes it legal is his hand positioning. The NBA allows a player to have a gather step in which the player can take a step while gathering the ball. Then, he can take another two steps once he’s fully gathered the ball before a travel can occur.

In short, Harden uses the gather rule to its full advantage, so much so that it looks like traveling.

2. Giannis’ Euro step

The Euro step isn’t a new move in the NBA, but what Giannis does is out of this world. His Euro step looks so unfair simply because he seemingly takes only one dribble to get to the rim.  

But what makes Giannis’ Euro step legal is the same as Harden’s. They all take advantage of the gather step. It’s just that Giannis takes two giant steps to the rim after the gather step. It’s just that it looks like he took three steps without the gather step.

Should Traveling Be Called More in the NBA?

Millions of people watch the NBA, but many people also get irritated when they don’t call travels.

As we explained above, they don’t call a lot of travels because the league doesn’t prioritize them. Also, there are just so many moves that look like travel, but they’re actually legal.

So, should traveling be called more in the NBA?

Yes, but if they’re going to do it, they should be more consistent. It’s not fun when they’re only calling travels again once a season starts and seemingly forget them at the Finals.

So, they should be consistent if they’re prioritizing not calling travels as they do now. Otherwise, fans would keep calling travels all the time.

Final Thoughts

Traveling is one of the most missed calls in the NBA in tandem with carrying. But now we know that the league is focused on making the league quicker and more exciting.

But thankfully, they’re starting to call more of these now, as we’ve seen from these past seasons. 

Read these next:

Leave a Comment