Someone Finally Put Rasheed Wallace’s ‘Ball Don’t Lie’ Rule To The Test

The New York Times

It finally happened, folks. We knew it eventually would.

Somebody has finally dared to ask the question: Who lies? Rasheed Wallace, or ball?

Jason Concepcion of The Ringer has put to test one of basketball’s most widely recognized natural laws. As Portland Trail Blazers fans may recall, Rasheed Wallace made a name for himself after leaving Rip City for shouting “Ball don’t lie!” when an opposing player missed a free throw solely because Spalding itself was exacting revenge on his behalf.

He also won a championship, but whatever—this is more important.

For those unaware of this tradition, you’ve either A) Never heard of the man solely to blame for the NBA suspending players every other time they get a technical after 16 (sorry, Boogie), or B) Never participated in a pickup game.

(If neither of these situations apply to you, you’re still a good person and we won’t judge you. We will question why you clicked on this article a little bit…but you’re still our friends for reading Oregon Sports News!)

But this law of basketball goes unquestioned daily in gyms around the world. And as you’ll see below, Wallace was no stranger to educating his opponents.

To read Concepcion’s entire study, click the link above. But here are the highlights:

  • The sample size for the study is this season’s Last 2 Minute report
  • “I logged every incorrect call then looked at the scoring opportunities that followed to see whether the ball is indeed truthful.”
  • Ball lies on: free throws,
  • Ball don’t lie on: three-pointers, layups

Concepcion takes his analysis another step further. There are x-factors here that must be considered:

“Sheed always yells “Ball Don’t Lie!” after the opposing player misses his first foul shot. This raises important issues of causality. Does the ball’s inherent truthfulness inform the miss or the other way around? A closer listen to Wallace’s holy cry further muddies the waters. He was known to frequently yell, “That ball don’t lie.” This raises the possibility that some balls may be more truthful than others. Or, perhaps, the ball veracity is tied personally to Sheed and Sheed only?”

Whoa. Mind. Blown.

All in all, this is a tongue-in-cheek look at a phrase Wallace made infamous, if not straight up basketball lore. It’s a chance for us to take a completely unproven hardwood practice and at least consider the ramifications of boisterous-maybe-not-even-accurate-shouting. But whether or not you believe the results, only one thing matters: Both teams played hard.

Wait, we mean: Ball don’t lie.

Yeah, that’s it.

And that’s the truth.