Last night, in a 119-108 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Robert Sacre of the Los Angeles Lakers committed his 6th foul in the 4th quarter and he did the unthinkable; he continued to play.
An obscure rule allowed the Lakers center to stay in the game due to the Lakers not having enough able bodies to sub in for Sacre and finish the game. The implementation of the rule has occured before, most recently on April 14th, 2010, Devean George of the Golden State Warriors, was allowed to remain in the game against the Portland Trailblazers after receiving his 6th foul. In both George and Sacre’s case, their respective teams were assessed a technical as per the rule.
What Sacre and George failed to accomplish and what still to this day has only been accomplished once in the modern era of basketball is receiving that coveted and elusive 7th foul. There is only one man that can stake claim to this achievement and that man is Cal Bowdler.
On a chilly November night in Portland, Cal Bowlder, center of the visiting Atlanta Hawks, made history. The date was November 13, 1999 and the Hawks were playing in their 3rd game of a 4 game West Coast road trip when they landed in Portland to play the Blazers. The Hawks were off to a horrible start to the young season, coming in at 1 and 4. The misery for the Hawks continued as they were pounded by the Blazers from tip off. At the half, the score was Blazers 76, Hawks 44. With the game well out of hand, scantly used rookie center out of Old Dominion, Cal Bowlder, got his chance and boy did he ever make the most out of his 15 minutes of playing time. Bowdler registered 2 points, 2 rebounds and the history making 7 fouls.
In the case of Bowdler and the Hawks, he didn’t remain in the game due to running out of players, but sloppy score keeping. Bowdler committed his 6th foul, and unbeknownst to apparently everybody involved the game, he had fouled out, but remained in the game to commit his 7th foul. The error wasn’t realized until after the completion of the game and as of today he remains the only player in NBA history to have ever committed more than 6 fouls in an NBA game (in the shot clock era.)
Last night, Robert Sacre might have gotten the head lines for remaining on the floor with 6 fouls, but it is Cal Bowdler that has his name cemented in the NBA record books as the only man to have ever fouled 7 times in a game. We salute you Cal.
- Fern Rea
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