Basketball is a fast-paced, highly energized sport that can be quite a spectacle to watch. With players flying up and down the court, the game can seem like it’s zooming by. That is, of course, until the torturous pain of the final minute of the game. The last “minute” of a basketball game can range anywhere from a little over a minute to a little over 20 minutes with the average often around the four or five mark. Intentional fouls, time outs, and official replays are the main culprits of the last “minute” phenomenon. Even in blowout games the final minute often lasts more than twice as long as its title suggests it should. This is a perturbing challenge for the sport of basketball, as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is currently seeing, and an aspect of the game that many fans would like to see eradicated. Intentional fouling and time outs, however, are crucial strategic components of the game. Can a change really be made or will fans continue to suffer through the final minute(s) of games?

Every year around this time, the final “minute” is a hotly debated topic in the sports world as basketball is in the spotlight. With March Madness finishing up earlier this month and the NBA Playoffs underway, basketball fans are more in-tuned to the sport now than in any other time of the year. Likewise, basketball analysts and statisticians, especially at this time of year, keenly observe every little thing about the sport, searching for anything that might have an impact on the game. Last year, two separate studies on the final “minute” phenomenon, one regarding the NCAA Tournament and one regarding the NBA, were released and the results were astounding. Deadspin looked at the first 52 games of the 2014 March Madness tournament and found that the final minute lasted anywhere from one minute to 15 minutes and seven seconds, a pretty large range. The average time of the final minute was five minutes and 57 seconds, almost six times the length of time it was supposed to take.

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Similarly, Inpredictable did a study on the final “minute” of NBA games and found that, on average, the last minute of the game took about five and a half minutes in reality.

While five or six minutes may not seem like a lot of time, in relativity to the rest of the game that five or six minutes (with only one minute or less on the clock) seems like an eternity. Fans love to see games in which teams have run out of timeouts and the game is tied because that final “minute” of the game is guaranteed to be fast-paced, thrilling, and actually about a minute long. The possibility of buzzer beaters and game winning shots fuel fans’ desire to continue watching while intentional fouls, timeouts, and TV commercials cause fans to change channels until the true waning seconds of the game. The final “minute” can be both the most and least exciting part of the game for fans, but can changes be made to eliminate the potential boredom of a five-minute final “minute?”

Commissioner Adam Silver has mulled changes for the NBA in regards to intentional fouling at the end of games, but no decision has been reached or will likely be reached for years to come. While many have tried to find a solution to the exceedingly long length of the final “minute” of basketball games,  no single resolution has been agreed upon. For now, it seems that basketball fans will have to endure the agony of the final “minute” until a viable solution presents itself.