As an NBA you’ve probably encountered “it’s rigged” guy more than once at the local sports bar. You know this guy, he’s constantly trying to convince you David Stern is hand picking winners and losers and the college game is far purer of an athletic contest. Now most of the time you just want to tell this dude to shut up, but what if he was right? What if the games were being manipulated from the top down?
Yesterday on The Nosebleeds Gregg Synder and I were joined by former NBA official and current author, Tim Donaghy to talk a little basketball. Tim, who is best known for his involvement in the gambling scandal that landed him in prison for 11 months, was able to provide us with some great insight to how specific games are called and what influence he believes the league has on the games.
One of the more interesting points Tim brought up was in regards to how the league influences calls for their superstar players. He highlighted a section from his book, Personal Foul, in which tapes of what the league believes to have been missed foul calls on Kobe Bryant plays were sent to officials. With that information in mind the officials would then take off to officiate a series featuring the Lakers.
It was obvious in talking to him that Tim feels the league is more than a little corrupt, and he believes this corruption stretches all the way to David Stern in an almost Don Corleone fashion. Obviously looking out for the family, ie the league, and making sure it is successful is the top priority.
So what would benefit a corrupt league more in this year’s finals, a banner raised in L.A. or Boston? Tim is convinced neither would be better than the other over all, but rather the key is for the series to go at least 6 games and we should expect if one team jumps out to an early lead for the calls to sway the game towards extending the series.
The average fan must still be curious as to what overall effect these alleged conversions have on the outcome of games.
Is David Stern playing the role of puppet master, pulling strings of a no call on a LeBron James four step drive to the basket, in order to guarantee a great show? Is it his hand up the backside of those LeBron and Kobe puppets? If so, how ticked is he that Cleveland tanked?
So if the commish does in fact have match-ups in mind come playoff time, can we then give him credit for the Boston-L.A. match up? Likewise can we blame him for forcing us to sit through Magic-Bobcats?
The implications of what Donaghy claims clearly carry a lot of weight and leave a ton of unanswered questions.