Monday, July 23, 2007

Stern Trying To Sabotage Blazers

Ever since I started noticing who the NBA Commissioner is I have disliked him. I think David Stern's presence became known to me after the greatest generation of players retired (Jordan, Barkley, Olajuwon, Ewing, Drexler, Johnson, Bird, etc.). It was at this time I began to notice Stern thought he was the sole reason the NBA was successful. I understand that sports are full of pompous individuals but there is no doubt in my mind that Stern is the runaway leader in that category. With that being said, I do not feel sorry for the position he is in right now. Having an NBA referee involved in point-shaving and who knows what else is just what he deserves. Maybe next time Stern will be less concerned with making sure his players' belts match their shoes and more concerned his crooked referees don't get caught.

As a Blazers fan of the late 1990s (by default this includes Rasheed Wallace) I have long felt the NBA referees sucked, and sucked hard. There were so many bogus fouls and technicals called against the Blazers that I would routinely lose my mind. Some of the calls were so awful I had no other option but to think the little troll in NYC was telling the refs how to call games. Most people just dismissed my conspiracy thoughts because I was a diehard fan. That likely was the correct thing to do but now I don't feel so bad for eliminating the NBA from my sports calendar.

I spent a good portion of today reading up on the events of the last few days concerning Tim Donaghy's relation with organized crime. There are so many interesting facets to this that I will simply provide links to various vantage points on the story.

  • The latest on Donaghy's situation is here. Apparently, he has received threatening phone calls and the police are monitoring his residence. My guess, life for Donaghy is going to be difficult from here on out.

  • Some of's prominent Page 2 writers have provided their opinions on the matter, Bill Simmons (really good stuff) and Scoop Jackson. The interesting thing about Simmons is that he has long held that the NBA refs are atrocious. Deadspin even gave Simmons props on his piece (they usually hate him) and provided a link to a YouTube clip that shows just how incredibly bad the refs for Game 3 of Suns vs. Spurs were. I'll give you one chance to determine who one of the refs was. Hint: He is going to be a part of a witness protection program very soon.

  • There is an interesting article from the guy the movie "Two for the Money" was based on. Brandon Lang gives his expert opinion on how a referee could get involved with organized crime and alter games.

  • This whole story is disappointing but Andy Katz has a piece on how this situation hurts the poor college referees. I believe that college refs generally stink but what else do you expect from real estate agents and school teachers? It is my belief that there aren't enough good basketball refs, primarily because it is difficult to officiate, so that can explain crappy college refs. Students and overzealous alumni rarely have a soft spot for these guys and I don't expect things to get any better.

  • Finally, there are a couple of blog entries from ESPN's NBA writers, Marc Stein (subscription required) and Chris Sheridan. Stein has some player reaction and Sheridan asks 3 key questions. The primary question being, When did the NBA know about Donaghy's problems? If it is January, as the Denver Post reports, or earlier, David Stern deserves what's coming to him. A couple of the articles I have linked mention that the NBA may have known a while ago and investigated it. Not sure if that is true, for the sake of the NBA it better not be. To know that a ref is crooked and to still employ him would be inexcusable.
Join me at 8:00 am Pacific in watching Stern try to explain just what the hell has been happening. He will likely come across as the smug jerk I have come to know. This time, instead of him having the last smile/smirk I will be sitting in my office chair and I will be the one with the smirk. Stern likely hasn't gotten much sleep the last few days trying to figure out how not to come across like the @#$ that he is. His ability to not come across like his usual self may determine just how long he keeps his job. As I think about this more and more I think this is Stern's way of trying to take down the Blazers. He wants to ruin the league before Oden, Roy and Aldridge have a chance to win multiple rings.

(Photo from Brendan McDermid, Reuters.)

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