Nick Elam gives his rebuttal to criticisms of the Elam Ending


By Meghan Carroll

Nick Elam has never been afraid to answer the critics 

Last week the Inside TBT podcast interviewed the man behind the Elam Ending, Nick Elam, and talked about some of the arguments surrounding the ending. The podcast has talked to players both inside and outside of TBT and found some arguments that could only be answered by Elam himself.

In case you missed the interview, here are some key rebuttals Elam had regarding his end of game sensation:

Inside TBT: The common threat around the Elam Ending is that the only people who don’t like it are people who don’t know what it is...Is there anything you learned this year, maybe without the crowd?

Elam: I never hold a grudge against anybody for being skeptical or critical of the Elam Ending because that was me back in 2007. My goal was to figure out why this wouldn’t work. There was one modification we made for 2020 with fouls on the floor during the Elam Ending: instead of getting two shots when fouled, you got one and the ball. One game we really saw that play out was with Sideline Cancer vs. Overseas Elite, they played to 67 and Sideline Cancer had the ball. They were down 64-65, with the new rule there was no incentive for them to foul Overseas, and we saw Mo Creek hit that game winning three.


Inside TBT: What do you say when someone says ‘well there won’t be halfcourt game winning buzzer beaters?’

Elam: We’ll still get those shots at the end of quarters, but for me, I want to see someone take their best shot when the games really are on the line. We’ll still see those half court shots, but when it’s crunch time we’ll see the teams at their best.


Inside TBT: What do you tell walk-ons that wouldn’t get to play now because the game is never really in their hands?

Elam: One of the ideas behind the ending is that it’ll make a late comeback more likely. There would be fewer games walk-ons might be in, but when they do go in the game, instead of just dribbling around killing time, they could make the shot that ends the game. Even if they are in with a 25-30 point lead, they can make that game ending shot, I call it the walk-on-walk-off shot. The best comeback we saw in 2020 was Herd That vs. The Money Team. Herd That’s comeback was unbelievable.


Inside TBT: All the best creators of the world had some great products we use everyday, what else have you been cooking up or what’s next for you?

Elam: I wouldn’t call this an original idea, but what I like is when it comes to the postseason of any event really, essentially setting up a “playoff draft.” The top seed could get to pick who their first round opponent should be and the second seed can pick from the teams left etc... Sometimes just because a team is the lowest seed doesn’t mean it’s the most favorable matchup for the top seed, that lower seed might be on a hot streak. From a fan's perspective. it sets up so many great storylines for who wants to play who. It’s tough enough just to rank the teams 1-64 and find the perfect bracketing, I think it’s an impossible task for the committee. Let’s take some of it off their plate and have the teams pick who they want to play, what site, and there’s no more complaining of getting a bad draw. 


Inside TBT: Now we want to flip it and have you ask any questions you might have for us.

Elam: Of the settings in the highest levels of sports tournaments whether it be NBA, WNBA, G-League, etc...which do you think will be next to implement the Elam Ending? What year do you think it might happen?

Inside TBT (Andrew): I don’t think college should do it and this is why: I think there are some games that are so low scoring that adding the Elam Ending to a 55-51 college game, it would push off the ugly no scoring. It works much better in an NBA setting, but I don’t want to make a prediction because I have no idea. I do want to see Steph Curry make an Elam Ending game winning three and have Golden State’s arena packed and going crazy. I say 2025, we see some sort of Elam Ending test, maybe CP3 pushing it more, but I think Covid pushed it a little.


Inside TBT (Joey): I will go the college route because it seems every year the NIT has a random rule to get more eyes on the games. It had a shorter shot clock, a deeper three, and other stuff before it came to NCAA basketball. I think it’s a no brainer for the NIT to say it would use the Elam Ending. It makes a 7:30 game on a Tuesday night with Stanford vs. UC Irvine, where no one would be watching, more interesting. Not only would they gamble on the game, but now who would make the Elam Ending shot. It creates the much needed noise around the NIT. I’ll say in two years they have the Elam Ending. 

Elam: I think a really exciting wagering implementation for the Elam Ending is the prop bet of who’s going to make the shot. Any given night I think people would be excited for making that prop bet. I think that would be a win-win for fans, sportsbooks, and leagues and would be another benefit to the format. 

Listen to the full podcast here: