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Did Dwyane Wade travel on his game winner?

Dec 29, 2011, 6:00 PM EDT

UPDATE (6:54 PM EST): We may have jumped the gun a bit. Or jump stopped the gun a bit? Too much? Okay.

After receiving clarification on jump stop rules from the league office, it’s now clear the Wade did not travel on his game-winning bucket against the Charlotte Bobcats. For clarification, Tim Frank, who spoke on behalf of the league, offered the following explanation:

“Wade gathers the ball with his right foot on the floor, and step one is when both feet touch the floor simultaneously. He then steps with his right foot for step two.”

The relevant section of the NBA Rulebook’s traveling explanation reads as follows:

A player who comes to a stop on step one when both feet are on the floor or touch the floor simultaneously may pivot using either foot as his pivot. If he jumps with both feet he must release the ball before either foot touches the floor.

And the video demonstration of the rule in slow-motion has been updated at Hardwood Paroxysm. Head that way to watch Wade’s move step by step.

Had Wade’s gather been determined to occur prior to the step of his right foot, it would have been a travel, as outlined in the description below. But because Wade’s first step was actually a “gather step,” his jump stop acts as a first step, allowing him to pivot without a traveling violation. The determination of the gather/first step is key in this case, as under this different facet of the traveling rule, Wade’s move is only allowed because his gather occurred while his right foot was planted.

Additionally, the NBA has created a new Twitter account — @NBAOfficials — to clarify similar rulings in the future. Kudos to the league if this actually becomes a useful tool of transparency.

-Rob Mahoney

10:28 AM EST: It doesn’t look like much when it happens in real time, at full speed.

But Dwyane Wade traveled on his game winning bank shot that lifted the Miami Heat over the Charlotte Bobcats. He made a jump stop and when you do that neither foot can take another step. Wade did then shot.

Here’s the rule straight out of the rule book.

A progressing player who jumps off one foot on the first step may land with both feet simultaneously for the second step. In this situation, the player may not pivot with either foot and if one or both feet leave the floor the ball must be released before either returns to the floor.

Now watch the video again.

Our own Rob Mahoney caught it and wrote about it over at Hardwood Paroxysm.

Post-jump stop pivot moves are about as easy as travel calls get; while drives through traffic or quick spin moves often require slow motion to fully assess without a reasonable doubt, the jump stop is a clear and distinct action easily differentiated from any illegal steps that follow. Even at full speed, we’re able to see Wade execute a nice jump stop, but negate his move with what should have been a turnover.

It wasn’t. The officiating crew flat-out missed this game-changing call, which should come as little surprise to those who regularly eye the footwork of ball handlers in the waning moments of any close game. Most officials do their best to avoid interventionism at such a crucial juncture, and thus whistles of virtually any kind become a bit harder to come by. Such was the case here, and Wade capitalized by completing the possession with a bucket.

Bobcats fans, we’re sorry. No way this gets overturned. Same way Gerald Henderson‘s illegal block with his head of LeBron James‘ dunk will not be called back. Not a great night for the refs in Charlotte.

  1. edweird0 - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:29 AM

    It happens. Either way the game was won on the bucket that was denied against James so this really doesn’t mean much.

  2. emaimo80 - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    Refs were horrible in this game! What’s about when lebron dunked and none of the refs saw the ball go through the basket? Why not a story on that play?!!

  3. mgscott - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    NBA players travel constantly and it’s not called. It is what it is.

    • qball82 - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:19 AM

      If the refs called every travel Lebron would average 20 turnovers a game..

  4. rodge1 - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    There has to be something better to write about.

  5. kyleortonsarm - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    It’s his job to win the game at any cost and if the Refs are that easily fooled then it’s on them.

  6. 187onsandusky - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    Traveling happens every time a star touches the ball in the NBA.

  7. emaimo80 - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    Refs missed way too many calls in this game!

  8. thenmoveback - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    It was a crap dribble

  9. Florio_Jr. - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Lakers fans (I’m nowhere near one of them) feel the same way. Remember Deng traveled with like 10 seconds left on Christmas Day before Derrick Rose’s tear drop FTW?

  10. whitey11177 - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Kurt you are 5 years behind everyone else. This happens probably 2 times a game without being called. Tony Parker does it all the time. Half of the time Hakeems Dream shake was a travel .

  11. rodge1 - Dec 29, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    They all travel, past stars and present. Whats the next article going to be about, someone double-dribbling?

  12. mrsdestinydevine - Dec 29, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    OMG! Can we like seriously find some real sports news to talk about.

  13. chargerdillon - Dec 29, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    You can’t blame Dwayne Wade for something they let Michael Jordan do his whole career.

    There’s no right or wrong to this story. There’s a rule in place, the rule was broken, and the official did not uphold the rule.

    The only grey area comes, was Dwayne fouled at the same time? Wouldn’t there be just as much scrutiny if before he makes the shot they call him to the foul line for 2 shots?

    Officials are damn if they do and damned if they don’t. Make no mistake, they were put in this position when they had to create Jordans hype by allowing the rules to be bent for stars.

    Todays basketball consists of virtually every rule being able to be broken at any time, and it’s ok as long as it’s not hurting the NBA’s bottom line.

    What looks better for an NBA headline: “Dwayne Wade makes the game winner!”, “Dwayne Wade travels, Heat lose”. As long as the NBA’s bottom line is looking good, rules don’t matter.

    Better yet, lets make up rules as you go! The Lakers are too good therefore we wont allow them to fairly trade for players like other teams. BAM NEW RULE! The anti-laker rule!!!!! That’s todays basketball, get used to it

    • 973yenots - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:21 PM

      Damn! You had a lot of time on your hands! Thats a long ass comment blood.

    • sasquash20 - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:54 PM

      The NBA isn’t going to hold these refs accountable because they want these guys not to call traveling on stars. Its been that way since MJ was around. Makes me wonder what the old timers who actually dribbled correct could have done if they were allowed to travel as much. But bottom line is that it is what it is.

  14. suhnum1fan - Dec 29, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Until the nba start holding these refs accountable, I will always believe the games are fixed!!

    • moolah954 - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:31 PM

      I have always wanted the refs to have a post game interview like players and coaches

  15. jjacks1122 - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Wade looked like Steve Francis on that jump stop

  16. lcdcac - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Its a wash on the error on Lebrons dunk. Nuff said.

  17. davidtmp - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    You ask for refs to swallow the wistle in late game situations like this and let it be decided on the court. When they do, people complain. The Bobcats should have had someone bigger come over to help out, perhaps Diaw or bring in Mullens or Biombo to rotate over and get a hand up. They didn’t, he hit it, ball game. I would have liked to see the replays had Whites tip gone in at the buzzer. That one was close, but not sure it was out of his hand in time. Good defense by the Heat in the 2nd half to get back in the game.

  18. backstreets15 - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    I don’t know if that rule is on the books for the NBA or not.

    Not being able to move either foot after a jump stop has been the rule in college and high school for years.

    It is called inconsistently–at best.

    Even more disturbing to a purist like me is “palming” the ball, which occurs in virtually every possession in both college and NBA games.

    Keep this in mind, at the end of NBA games, there’s a copyright that says “NBA Entertainment.” With the hierarchy that exists regarding who gets the calls, NBA games are much more entertaining than they are fairly officiated competitive contests.

  19. pavelfitzgerald - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Travelling in the NBA is a joke. Everyone takes 3 steps & the stars sometimes even take 4. It’s soo bad that you got guys at pick up games at the local Y taking 3 steps & complaining to people who call them out on it. Stern thinks it’s good for tv ratings so the refs will continue to let guys take walks in the park

  20. ballsooharduniversity - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    NBA officials released a statement defending the no-call…so no he did not travel

    • bcjim - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:55 PM

      Yes, he did.

      If I release a statement saying I am the King of England, does that make it true?

      Lets all just understand….the nba is ‘entertainment’…a show. Not an athletic competition.

      • ballsooharduniversity - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:01 PM

        they had a clear explanation on the situation. do you think in a split-second decision the ref is going to call a travel in a situation like that? did you read their explanation?

  21. backstreets15 - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Again, I don’t know what the NBA rules are, but this is a CLEAR travel in high school and college. When a player jumpstops, which Wade clear does, he essentially has two pivot feet that cannot be moved. When Wade steps forward with the left foot, he travels. It was not really a difficult call, even in real time.

  22. wlubake - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    They forgot the 2nd applicable clause in the NBA rule book:

    “Dwayne Wade does not travel. Also, if a player is within five feet of Dwayne Wade while he is in the act of shooting, it is a foul.”

    This rule was added in early 2006. The second sentence was removed in early 2007.

    • digitalpoo - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:22 PM

      That made me laugh.

  23. uscfan1988 - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    Really? Last I watched Wade gets abused under the hoop more than any other player other than maybe Dwight Howard.

    • jimeejohnson - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:39 PM

      Wade abused Rondo pretty well.

  24. jimothyvonstojavic - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:38 AM

    It’s not a travel. What really bugs me is they don’t call the obvious travels but they care about the debatable calls. Tonight, Kendrick perkins switched his pivot foot 3 time but no call.

  25. craigw24 - Dec 30, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    I watched the play over and over and saw DWade bring the ball up as he jumped in the air with both feet. He then landed, placed his right foot down on the floor, then shot the ball.

    The NBA says he ‘gathered’ the ball when he had both feet on the ground – therefore, it was not a travel.

    Am I correct in thinking he gathered the ball BEFORE he landed on both feet? If I am correct, then how is this not a travel?

    I am not interested in an argument, but in hearing from someone who actually knows the rule.

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