Every Uncalled Foul: Air Bud


Every Uncalled Foul is a series in which I’ll watch a basketball movie and record every uncalled foul, citing what happened and how it specifically should have been called. Today’s feature: Air Bud

Foul 0: 0:00: The synopsis of the movie on the illegal streaming site I’m using includes the following clause: “Rebounding from his father’s death…” Did they really stick a basketball pun in a sentence about a child’s father dying? That’s a foul on somebody. Not sure who, but someone.

Foul 1: 7:48: In a photo, Josh is seen dunking a basketball on his father’s shoulders. This is a violation of NBA rule XIII Section B on illegal assists, which states that “a player may not assist a teammate to gain height while attempting to score.” This is a technical foul and the basket would not count.

Foul 2: 21:00: Josh and Buddy both have possession of the ball and are fighting over it. This should be called a jump ball, regardless of venue (which, in this case, is a weird clearing near a river rather than a regulation court).

Foul 3: 31:33: Willingham intentionally knocks Josh over. Josh isn’t even a player on the court, he’s an innocent manager. This would likely be a technical foul on par with a player physically harming one of his own coaches.

Foul 4: 48:35: I know it’s harder to recognize considering it’s a dog, but buddy takes multiple steps before hitting the ball again with his nose just about every time. These should all be considered travels assuming we acknowledge that, as a dog, he’s capable of possessing the ball.

Foul 5: 1:17:30: Ok, I have so many problems with Buddy checking into this game. Among them, K9 is not a legal uniform number.


Foul 6 : 1:17:30: Buddy is not listed on the active roster for the team, and is in fact the team mascot. Obviously you cannot sub your mascot into a game.

Foul 7: 1:17:30: “Check your rule book, I bet you won’t find anything in there that says a dog can’t play.” Well yea, no shit there’s nothing in the rule book against dogs playing, nobody’s dumb enough to think that was a realistic situation. But ok, let’s play this out. Competitive basketball at every level, from AAU and middle school up through the professional, are classified by gender. This is ostensibly done to mitigate the physical differences in competitors. A male human has much more in common physically with a female human than a male canine. A human male and a human female are the same species. Biologically speaking, there are seven different distinctions used to indicate what a creature is, they are kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species. A human male shares all of those with a human female. A dog, however, does not share a human being’s order, family, genus or species, branching out after sharing the mammal class. The physical differences are enormous, and therefore by common sense a dog should not be allowed to play.

Foul 8: 1:18:49: The ref asks if Buddy dribbles. That’s ridiculous. You’re a referee, you can’t hold a dog to a different standard than any other player just because it’s a different species. If he doesn’t dribble in a circumstance in which he is supposed to, it should be called a travel.

Foul 9: 1:18:49: It’s meant as a joke, but the coach’s reply that “he might drool a little,” indicates the potential for a delay of game in the event that Buddy’s drool needs to be cleaned up to ensure a safe playing environment.

Foul 10: 1:18:50: Buddy makes clear physical contact with an opposing player’s genitals. That’s a foul.

Foul 11: 1:19:14: Sure enough, Buddy’s drool gets the ball wet. This should be a delay of game foul as the ref needs to clean it off.

Foul 12: 1:20:30: The opposing coach even points out that Buddy is traveling. This is ludicrous. Why isn’t it being called?


Foul 13: 1:21:42: Buddy runs after his free throw attempt immediately, moving before the ball hits the rim. This is a lane violation.

Foul 14: 1:21:58: Buddy straight up rams into Larry’s stomach. Screw fouls, they could legitimately call animal control on him for that.

Foul 15: 1:28:34: The judge states that legally, Buddy is property. Of course he is, he’s a dog, that’s how the law works. Snively could, if prompted, provide dozens of witnesses that prove Buddy is his dog. But instead the judge decides to let Buddy decide? Would he let a toaster decide? Because legally they’re both property. What in God’s name is this? All Snively should have to do is appeal and hope for a competent judge.

Final Tally: 15 Fouls

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