The rule was put in place by Don Nelson against the Bulls, but made famous during the Spurs Lakers rivalry in the early 2000s.
Its effective, its legal, but is it wrong?
The "Hack-a-Shaq" strategy has been used in the NBA for years and its recently stirred up a lot of attention. Some people think it ruins the game by slowing it down and taking away from the action the fans love. Others think its a smart move by a coach who is there to win a game. What should happen, should we disallow the chess move?
My take (being an obvious Spurs fan) is that its a great strategy and should be allowed. If you're in the NBA and making the money these players make, you should be able to make a couple free throws. If you are having trouble, get in the gym and work on it. Case in point, Dwight Howard shut the Spurs down the other night by simply making his free throws. If you make the shots, Hack-a-Shaq doesn't exist.
Is it an annoyance during a close game? Yes, but the fault is on the player missing the shots, not the coach or team playing to win the game.