NBA All-Star Game to feature version of University of Dayton grad’s rule

Nick Elam created rule to improve end of basketball games

The 2020 NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 16 will feature a version of an alternative scoring format developed by 2004 University of Dayton graduate Nick Elam.

» EARLIER COVERAGE: Elam sees dream come to life

Elam’s rule, nicknamed the Elam Ending and used in The Basketball Tournament, creates a target score with four minutes to go in a game. The clock is turned off and eight points are added to the score of the team in the lead. The team that reaches that total first wins the game. The rule reduces the number of fouls in the final minutes of close games.

The NBA All-Star Game’s new rule is similar. According to a NBA press release, the all-star teams “will compete to win each of the first three quarters, all of which will start with the score of 0-0 and will be 12 minutes long. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the game clock will be turned off and a Final Target Score will be set.

“The Final Target Score will be determined by taking the leading team’s total cumulative score through three quarters and adding 24 points – the 24 representing Bryant’s jersey number for the final 10 seasons of his NBA career. The teams will then play an untimed fourth quarter and the first team to reach the Final Target Score will win the NBA All-Star Game.”

Elam, a Middletown Madison High School graduate who is now an assistant professor in educational leadership at Ball State, thanked the NBA for using a version of his rule and said the NBA surprised him with a trip to the game to see the rule in action in person.

“I’m even more proud the format is being used to pay tribute to the great Kobe Bryant,” Elam wrote on Twitter.

Elam also thanked NBA star Chris Paul for putting in a good word with the NBA about the Elam Ending.

“This is a big step forward for a dream,” Elam wrote, “to extend the reach of the Elam Ending throughout the basketball world. I’m confident the NBA won’t leave me in the dust either and will find a lasting way to acknowledge me as the originator of this concept.”

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