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Play on. Palming occurs in the NBA if you dribble the ball near your ear and obviously have to come underneath with your hand to control the next bounce. Or if you dribble the ball inside the crook of your elbow. Or carry the ball in a net.
Now let's move on: How long is three seconds in the NBA? Have buildings actually been built during the time some centers have stood in the foul lane? Have marriages been made, consummated and ripped asunder in three NBA seconds? Have networks gone for an on-the-hour commercial break and returned to find the same men standing in the same place at the end of the floor in the foul lane, the clock still ticking?
"Three seconds," you say after I, as Mychal Thompson, have stood in the same place for about a minute.
"Not really," I say.
"Now it's three seconds," you say two minutes later.
I finally take the ball and throw a short hook shot. The ball goes through the basket.
"O.K., now," I say. "Maybe."
The three-second rule is tied up with the idea of advantages and disadvantages, the heart of all NBA officiating. Did one player gain advantage by this particular illegal act? Was another player put at a disadvantage? The three-second call should be made if that is the situation. The call should not be made if no one seems to gain.
"I always notice how many three-second calls are made in a college game that I don't think should be made," Garretson says. "If a guy is standing at the side of the lane, out of the play, and he is there too long, why bother? Let the game continue. Three seconds is a call you make mostly by feel. You feel when something is wrong. One year they tried a rule that three seconds could be called only when the official began a three-count with his arm. Was that confusing? I don't think the rule made it past training camp."