In a historic decision announced yesterday by the National Basketball Association, league president, David Stern, declared that the NBA Competition and Integrity Act was passed unanimously by the league's board of directors.
The Act, which will adopt relegation rules similar to the English Premier League, will go into effect immediately for the 2013-2014 NBA season.
The ruling has sent shock waves throughout the entire league. Struggling NBA teams, which have been accused of 'tanking' for improved draft position, are now scrambling to climb out of the cellar of the NBA. The Competition and Integrity Act declares that the NBA team with the worst record at season's end will be relegated, or demoted, to the Developmental League.
In turn, the champion of the NBDL will be promoted to the NBA.
Will Kobe Bryant and the Lakers being play a home and home next year with the Bakersfield Jam? Hey, it could happen.
The Competition and Integrity Act (informally known as "The Anti-Tanking Act") received widespread public support three weeks ago after the Charlotte Bobcats played ball boy, Bobby Simons, 34 minutes in their 99-78 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Simons, a 5'3" 9th grader at nearby Nicholas Sparks High School, told reporters after the game that he doesn't even like basketball.
"It was exciting to get a jersey with my own name on it," said Simons, 14. "But it's not something I would really want to do again." Simons finished the game 0-7 from the floor with 1 rebound, and 28 turnovers. Immediately following the game, the NBA issued a formal statement denouncing the actions of the Charlotte Bobcats organization.
"The NBA prides itself on competition, fair play, and providing the highest quality of talent to its fans all across the world. What occurred tonight in Charlotte was a black eye for the organization, the league, and the NBA fans. We will be speaking with all parties involved in the decision to play Mr. Simons 34 minutes at the power forward position."
While Charlotte team owner, Michael Jordan, could not be reached for comment, Bobcats center, DeSagana Diop, denied any perceived tanking on the team's part.
"We thought Bobby could bring some things to the table. He's a high-energy guy, you know? Coach wanted to go small - exploit some matches. It just didn't work out. But every guy in that locker room is busting his tail off. Everyone's giving 110%. Even Si [Simons]."
While one team's fan base in cities like Charlotte, Orlando, and Cleveland are just weeks away from an impending franchise demotion, residents of Bakersfield, Santa Cruz, Canton, and Ft. Wayne are welcoming the league's decision with open arms.
"The City and the community of Ft. Wayne is ecstatic at the possibility of hosting an NBA franchise," said Ft. Wayne, IN mayor, Tom Henry. "We wish the Mad Ants the best of luck for the remainder of their season." Ft. Wayne's last professional team at the highest level was the Ft. Wayne Forts, a member of the North American Soccer League from 1973 through 1975. (The Forts finished a franchise best 6-11-3 in 1974).
The Bobcats, who currently hold the league's worst record at 17-57, trail the Orlando Magic by two games.
Charlotte hosts the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.