There have been many rule changes in the game of basketball, since Dr. Jame Naismith invented the game at the Springield, Massachusetts YMCA.
Most rule changes over the years have been official friendly, making it easier to officiate…….not player friendly,
Let’s look at some of the major changes in chronological order. that have been made since I started playing basketball in the second grade in 1944 that had the biggest effect on the actual game itself..
The Ball did not have to be handled by an official in the backcourt after a whistle had been blown for a violation or the ball going out of bounds. The players got the ball and put it in play.
Glass backboards were legalized.
The free throw lane was widened from 6 feet to 12 feet during my sophomore year in college in 1956-57.
Teams had to take the ball out of bounds under either basket outside the width of the free throw lane and this came into effect in the late 50’s
You could not throw the ball over a rectangle basket from out of bounds or from inbounds, that was not a violation.
The 5 second count on a throw in was over when the ball was released from the thrower in’s hands instead when it was touched by a player inbounds.
The closely guarded count of 5 seconds for being guarded when holding or dribbling the ball with a defender within 6 feet of the player with the ball.
Shot clock for College Basketball
Made dunking illegal.
Legalizing dunking again, but only when the clock is running.
Penalizing for grasping or holding onto the rim unless there is a player directly under you.
The 3 point line which came into play in high school in 1987-88 season and in college a few years earlier.
Coaching box was established so coaches could stand while the clock was running.
If a player receives a pass in the free throw lane before the official calls three seconds the player with the ball has more time to advance the ball to the basket in an attempt to shoot. If the player dribbles out of the lane or passes the ball to anyone, then it is an automatic 3 second violation.So a player with the ball in the lane before he was called for 3 seconds, has up to additional 3 seconds to try to get off a shot attempt.
These are the ones that come to mind right at the moment, but I have not listed the one that was asked in the headline of this post.
Most everyone believe that it was the 3 point shot that was the most player friendly rule change.
However in 1961-62 the most friendly player rule change was made.
Prior to this rule change the clock only stopped when the official called a jump ball a foul or a time out, otherwise the clock kept running even though the whistle had been blown. The rule change was that the clock stopped everytime an officials whistle was blown for any reason.
This was the most player friendly basketball rule change for players because they got to play a complete 32 minutes in high school and 40 complete minutes in college.
Prior to that with the actual length of a game that the ball was in play was about 24 minutes for a high school game and 30 minutes of a college game. Look how much time was wasted when a violation was called and the referee had to get the ball and hand it to a player out of bounds.
The actual time added was about 1 full quarter of the time of a game.
Even with this rule change the scores today are lower then when they were when the clock only stopped on a foul, jump ball or a timeout.
Players certainly get more actual court time since this rule changed in 1961-62 so players got to play more basketball, and that is why I believe it was the most basketball player friendly rule change ever made.
If I think of some more major rule changes I will add them, but whatever I have over looked will not be as player friendly as the rule change of stopping the clock everytime the whistle is blown by an official.