James Harden’s new behind-the-back sidestep baffled NBA fans, but NBA refs explained why the move is legal

James Harden sidestep

James Harden set NBA Twitter ablaze on Tuesday night with a behind-the-back sidestep move that many believed to be traveling.
The NBA referees association explained why the move was legal.
The point of contention on the issue was Harden’s use of a “gather-step” in a way basketball fans aren’t used to seeing.

On Tuesday night, the Houston Rockets took on the Shanghai Sharks in a preseason tune-up ahead of the upcoming NBA season.

Leading the scoring that night was Jimmer Fredette, who dropped 41 points for the Sharks in his first NBA action in two years, but the move of the night undoubtedly went to Rockets superstar James Harden, who pulled off a behind-the-back sidestep that left many buzzing.

Just outside the arc, Harden switched hands behind his back while side-stepping his defender to get an open look at his shot.

It has to be seen to be believed and then seen a few more times to actually get what is going on with the move.

Ummm … what just happened? pic.twitter.com/QNy20sbRYD

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 10, 2018

Soon after the clip starting making the rounds on social media, NBA Twitter began to question its legality, openly wondering whether or not the move constitutes traveling.

if this isnt a travel he’s winning MVP again pic.twitter.com/hWBfSrHpgh

— Wobciferous (@World_Wide_Wob) October 10, 2018

He did the cha cha slide. RT @BleacherReport: Did Harden travel? 🧐 pic.twitter.com/mKLs1QpoCQ

— Bryson Jenkins (@BrysonAdair) October 10, 2018

love Harden! but how is this not a travel?! https://t.co/qx0kVsE9JU

— Matthew Rapp (@matthewrapp_) October 10, 2018

It certainly looks like a travel, with Harden making use of a few full steps in the process of getting open.

That said, according to the accounts of both the league office and the NBA referees assocation, the move is legal — Harden is just making use of the rules in a way our eyes aren’t used to seeing.

This is a legal play. Although James puts the ball behind his back, he only takes two steps after the gather of the ball and therefore it is NOT a travel. https://t.co/i1hU3b4zuQ

— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) October 10, 2018

The offensive player gathers the ball, and flips it from his left hand to right behind his back, with his right foot as his pivot foot. He then is allowed 2 steps, which he takes as a lateral 1-2 step. It’s a legal play. https://t.co/Qp1E558G18

— NBA Referees (@OfficialNBARefs) October 10, 2018

The point of contention seems to be what is consider the “gather-step,” at which point the player dribbling gathers the ball and puts a foot down almost in the same instant. In this case, the NBA is ruling that the gather-step takes place as Harden moves the ball behind his back and establishes his right foot as the initial pivot.

Two sidesteps later, Harden drilled his ninth three of the night.

Referees have been fairly lenient on such traveling calls …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Sports

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