An Examination of the Effectiveness of the Elam Ending at TBT2018 and TBT2019


  • Nicholas Elam Ball State University



basketball, Elam Ending, TBT, The Basketball Tournament, NBA, sport innovation, rules changes


The Elam Ending calls for the final portion of each basketball game to be played without a game clock, as a way to preserve a more natural style of play through the end of every game. The rule aims to address certain late-game strategies and phenomena attributable to the game clock under basketball’s traditional, fully timed format. The Elam Ending was first implemented by TBT: The Basketball Tournament, in 2017. Since then, the format has been implemented in subsequent editions of TBT, the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, and the FIBA-sanctioned Canadian Elite Basketball League. However, limited research exists examining the effectiveness of the Elam Ending in meeting its aims. Elam (2019) used quantitative descriptive data to examine the only 11 games played under the Elam Ending at TBT2017. This study replicates the previous study, examining all 134 games played under the Elam Ending at TBT2018 and TBT2019. This study shows the Elam Ending to be effective in meeting all of its aims at TBT2018, and even more so at TBT2019 after the format was slightly modified. This study can be particularly useful for any organizer or stakeholder involved with a basketball league/event considering implementation of the Elam Ending.

Author Biography

Nicholas Elam, Ball State University

Nick Elam, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Ball State University. His research focuses on teacher evaluation systems, and the intersection of leadership and athletics.


Elam, N. (2019). Elam Ending: Past, present, and future. Keynote address at Midwest Sports Analytics Meeting. Pella, IA.

Elam, N. (2019). Roundball unplugged: The launch of basketball’s hybrid duration format. International Journal of Sport & Society, 11(1), 15-24.

National Basketball Association. (2016). NBA rules history.


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Research Articles