NBA To Discuss Plans To Eliminate “Hack-A-Shaq” Strategy

Shaquille O'Neal

When Shaquille O’Neal began in dominance in the league in the 1990s, teams enlisted a strategy known as “Hack-a-Shaq. Now, more than 20 years later, the NBA plan to find a solution.

According to, commissioner Adam Silver says he expects the league to have “full-throated conversations” over the summer about potentially implementing rules to eliminate the strategy from the game.

Silver acknowledged the “Hack-a-Shaq” strategy of intentionally fouling poor free throw shooters is not enjoyable to watch, but also said there needs to be caution when considering changing the rules of the game.

“It’s something that I’m on the fence about,” Silver told ESPN this week. “My thought used to be that we should definitely change the rule, and then having sat through several general managers meetings, competition meetings and having heard from some of the game’s very best, the view is the players should hit their free throws. That’s changed my view a little bit.

“Having said that, when I watch some of these games on television, frankly, it’s not great entertainment for our fans, and that’s important as well. What I’ve said is we have another general managers meeting coming up in May, we have a competition committee meeting in June, and I’m sure it’s going to be a hot topic of discussion. Then, we have an owners meeting in July, so I think at all three of those meetings we’re going to be having full-throated conversations about what the right rules should be going forward.”

Silver said the discussion is “in part” about weighing the value of entertainment and strategy.

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