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NBA Conspiracy Unveiled At Long Last?
Date 6/11/2008    Tags Sports    (0)

For years there has been speculation that NBA officials favored certain teams and certain match-ups. Conspiracy theorists yelled down from the rafters, "the NBA wants team A to win, the NBA wants player B to succeed", claiming they did so to provide marquee match-ups that the fans want for the simple reason of increased league revenue.

Disgruntled former NBA ref Tim Donaghy asserted in a court filing Tuesday many of the charges that conspiracy theorists have been making for years. Among those claims is this passage listed below:
" Referees A, F and G were officiating a playoff series between Teams 5 and 6 in May of 2002. It was the sixth game of a seven-game series, and a Team 5 victory that night would have ended the series. However, Tim learned from Referee A that Referees A and F wanted to extend the series to seven games. Tim knew referees A and F to be "company men," always acting in the interest of the NBA, and that night, it was in the NBA's interest to add another game to the series. Referees A and F heavily favored Team 6. Personal fouls [resulting in obviously injured players] were ignored even when they occurred in full view of the referees. Conversely, the referees called made-up fouls on Team 5 in order to give additional free throw opportunities for Team 6. Their foul-calling also led to the ejection of two Team 5 players. The referees' favoring of Team 6 led to that team's victory that night, and Team 6 came back from behind to win that series. "
- Court filing by camp Donaghy
That season, only one series went to seven in the NBA finals, the Kings/Lakers series in which the Kings took a 3 to 2 lead only to watch the Lakers win the next two games and ultimately the NBA finals. Two Kings players fouled out (Scott Pollard in 11 minutes of play) and Chris Webber (one of the most finesse big men in the game) ended the night with five. Two Kings players received technical fouls. In the fourth quarter alone of game six, the Lakers took an unheard of 27 free-throw attempts. And despite all of that, the Kings only lost by four points.

I've watched a good deal of NBA basketball in my life, I consider it my second favorite sport to watch behind the NFL. That game six of the Kings/Lakers series is, hands down, the absolute worst officiated game I've ever seen in my life. There were no calls, there were calls on things that shouldn't have been, and ever single bad call favored the Lakers. This wasn't one of those situations where a late bad call determined the outcome of the game (a la the Lakers/Spurs no call on Brent Barry's game winning three point attempt), it was a situation where game long there were bad calls that continually went the Lakers way. That series makes me especially sad because it robbed injury-plagued Michigan native (like me) Chris Webber his best shot at winning a title.
"He's dancing as fast as he can. ... He's a singing, cooperating witness who's trying to get as light a sentence as he can."
- NBA Commish David Stern on these allegations
The NBA is not surprisingly denying these claims and calling into question the integrity of Donaghy (and certainly he's no choir boy). But was not Jose Canseco an equally uncredible witness when he released his book on steroids in baseball and ousted everyone and their mom? Look how that turned out, just because the source is shaky doesn't mean there isn't truth to it.

I can't speak on the other claims Donaghy made, as I didn't witness those games personally (or recall them vividly if I did) but I think anyone who watched game six of the Kings/Lakers series in 2002 would be naive to say that the NBA wasn't pulling for the Lakers. 0" style="displ

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