Around this time of year when TBT is taking over the hoops world, basketball people who haven’t learned yet ask themselves the same question: what are the Elam Ending rules?
What Is the Elam Ending?
The Elam Ending is an alternate way to finish a basketball game, as devised by Nick Elam, whom the system is named after. The goal of the Elam Ending is to eliminate the free-throw contest with tons of whistles that plague the end of basketball contests.
So, what are the rules of the Elam Ending? The main one, which is the center part of the concept, is that the game ends on a made basket. This is accomplished by turning off the game clock at a certain point, then adding an amount of points to the leading score at that moment. That new number becomes the target score, and the team that hits that mark or above first wins the game.
TBT implemented the Elam Ending and its rules in full in 2018, and there have been some tweaks to it since. It has been adopted for the NBA All-Star Game, and it’s possible that the NBA and other basketball will use it or variations down the road. Also, there aren’t all steadfast rules that must be followed to achieve the Elam Ending. Some of the details can be changed to create the ideal outcome for whatever level of hoops is being played. But to give an idea of the universal concepts behind the Elam Ending, these are the rules for the ending in TBT 2021.
TBT 2021 Elam Ending Rules
- After the first dead ball under four minutes remaining in the game, the game clock is turned off.
- Eight is added to the leading team’s score to create the target score. For example, if the score is 70-64 when the game clock is shut off, the target score will be 78.
- The first team to the target score wins the game.
- If a team commits a foul while in the bonus during the Elam Ending portion of the game, the other team will only get one free throw and retain possession of the ball rather than two free throws.
As previously explained, these don’t have to be the rules everyone uses in the Elam Ending. The clock could be turned off sooner or later, the amount added to the leading team’s score to create the target score could be more or less, and any number of variations can be used regarding the free throw change. This is the basic format, though, and the one that TBT, which has become the preeminent utilizer of the Elam Ending, will implement yet again in 2021.