Tim Donaghy alleges NBA Rigged playoff
Did Kobe have Donaghy in his back pocket ?
Ex-referee Tim Donaghy alleged Tuesday
in a filing made by his attorney in U.S. District Court in New York, saying
the highly controversial Game 6 of the Lakers- Kings playoff series in 2002
was impacted by the actions of two of the three referees who worked the game.
Donaghy saves Kobe from getting his ass Kicked
In the letter submitted by Donaghy's
attorney, the following "manipulation" is alleged:
"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."
Although no teams are specifically named, it
is not hard to deduce the game in question. The Lakers-Kings series was the
only one that postseason that went seven games, and the officiating in Game 6
was so questionable that consumer advocate and former presidential candidate
Ralph Nader called for a formal investigation.
The Lakers attempted 40 free throws to the
Kings' 25 in that game, and Los Angeles made 21-of-27 from the line while
Sacramento converted 7-of-9 in the fourth quarter alone.
In addition, a foul was called against Mike
Bibby of the Kings after he was shoved and elbowed by Kobe Bryant of the
Lakers denying the Kings an opportunity to try for a tying basket. Also in
that game, Kings centers Vlade Divac and Scot Pollard fouled out, and Kings
coach Rick Adelman was highly critical of the officiating afterward.
"My first thought [upon hearing Donaghy's
allegation] was: I knew it," Pollard said Tuesday night. "I'm not going to say
there was a conspiracy. I just think something wasn't right. It was unfair. We
didn't have a chance to win that game."
The Lakers went on to win the 2002 NBA
The document referenced other alleged
improprieties that Donaghy disclosed to federal law enforcement officials.
• "Tim gave information on how top executives
of the NBA sought to manipulate games using referees to boost ticket sales and
television ratings," the letter reads. "He also described how nepotism played
a far greater role than qualifications in a number of referee hirings."
• "Tim explained the league officials would
tell referees that they should withhold calling technical fouls on certain
star players because doing so would hurt ticket sales and television ratings,"
the letter adds. "As an example, Tim explained how there were times when a
referee supervisor would tell referees that NBA Executive X did not want them
to call technical fouls on star players or remove them from the game. In
January 2000, Referee D went against these instructions and elected a star
player in the first quarter of the game. Referee D later was privately
reprimanded by the league for that ejection."
Donaghy alleges Stern was involved
• In addition to game-altering allegations,
Donaghy's letter claims that many officials carry on "relationships" with team
executives, coaches and players that violate their NBA contracts. For example,
it said, referees broke NBA rules by hitting up players for autographs,
socializing with coaches and accepting meals and merchandise from teams.
"Tim described one referee's use of a team's
practice facility to exercise and another's frequent tennis matches with a
team's coach," the letter says.
• The letter also alleges that during a 2005
Rockets-Mavericks playoff series, "Team 3 lost the first two games in the
series and Team 3's Owner complained to NBA officials. Team 3's Owner alleged
that referees were letting a Team 4 player get away with illegal screens. NBA
Executive Y told Referee Supervisor Z that the referees for that game were to
enforce the screening rules strictly against that Team 4 player. Referee
Supervisor Z informed the referees about his instructions. As an alternate
referee for that game, Tim also received these instructions."
Mavs owner Mark Cuban did in fact complain
after his team lost the first two games of the series, and Dallas went on to
beat Houston in seven games. Jeff Van Gundy, then the coach of the Rockets,
said that an NBA official had told him about the league's plan to closely
monitor moving screens by Yao Ming, and Van Gundy was ultimately fined
$100,000 for his comments regarding the situation. Van Gundy later backed off
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