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Friday, January 15, 2010


Beat Writer Bolando takes an in depth look at Stern's remarkable way of side stepping controversy. I want to make it clear that I don't like Stern. I will boo him any chance I get. He screwed the Celtics with Bias and Lewis after the Celtics fueled the success(and even saved!) of the NBA in the 80's. He had the power to compensate the C's but didn't. No cap relief whatesoever. Beat writer Bolando raises multiple relevant points on how Stern has managed to somehow slide throughout the years. Anyway, my rant is done...enjoy the great reporting and writer of the BWB!

If you didn't think that Tim Donaghey was merely a "patsie" for the NBA's corruption, I came across an interesting story that may interest some. It is still being verified, and it's somewhat thin, but the way the Bingobar has re-surfaced the story, I thought the timing was peculiar. One of my sources of this story was a West Coast native - a product of the Bay area, and a habitual gambler. His sources stem closer to Vegas and managing gambling businesses.

Much like Major League umpires, NBA referees work in teams, or at least had back about 4-5 years ago. And much like MLB umpires, NBA referees have reputations. Who calls a lot of fouls, who doesn't call a lot of fouls. Because we all know that when teams are in bonuses early, free throws become abundant. And when free throws are frequent and early, points increase. The story goes that a wise gambler could win big just by betting the over/under on the total points of a basketball game. The basis of the over/under was determined by Vegas, based on the teams playing. However, the key variable to this was the referees. And Vegas didn't factor that into their lines. Apparently, the NBA was aware that certain referees had tendencies, yet the NBA previously would not announce the officials for an NBA game until about 30-45 minutes before a game. This was mainly in part because it could effect the way lines were made in Vegas. And if the over/under for the C's/Lakers was 180 under certain referees, yet, was 225 under a different group of referees -- it would have led many to speculate that something was awry with the NBA.

By studying the referee tendencies, a contact had been lined up within the Oakland Coliseum for Golden State Warrior games. And prior to tip-off -- the source would contact the Oakland Coliseum employee to see who was reffing the game. Based on the outcome of refs, and with a little research, a bet would either be placed or not. On circumstances where a bet was placed, the success ratio was in the 70% range.

Today, the NBA announces the officials ahead of time. So as mentioned before, this story is still being verified as the source is questionable. But the timing of the story for me was compelling.

NBA Refs are the most subjective and influential of any professional sports outcome. For one of their own to be exposed as corrupt only leads to more questions. While David Stern wants to label him a rogue ref who was the only one -- I struggle to believe that theory. There are too many refs like Donaghey to isolate him as a renegade. Donaghey was just sloppy, careless and in some cases too obvious.

And let's be realistic for a moment -- it's not the first time David Stern has been able to skate past an extremely controversial issue with his league. My friend, Phil Nation called the Michael Jordan "retirement" right away back in the 90s. Jordan, a known high roller was gambling huge sums -- and there were reports of failing to pay up -- then suddenly his father is carjacked by two nobodies who dial the car phone and order a pizza from the car -- after killing Jordan's father. It doesn't seem suspicious that Jordan might be in deep doo-doo with same bad dudes who wanted their money? It doesn't appear odd that Jordan would abruptly retire -- almost as though Stern forced him to take a leave to cool things down? I am speculating some here, but come on. Jordan's dad was randomly carjacked and killed by two young guys who ordered a pizza afterward... rather than making it appear like a professional job -- it just seems like the whole thing was purposely drawn out.
How about the 1986 draft -- sure we all know Len Bias was in that draft and the cocaine use -- but there were 4 guys in the top 6 picks considered drug-users -- Bias, Roy Tarpley, Chris Washburn, and William Bedford. Cocaine was HUGE in the NBA in the 80s -- But Stern seemed capable of getting past it.
The question I like to ask is how come steroid use hasn't been mentioned in the NBA? This is going to be the one item Stern will need to tread lightly on - and may become his greatest skate if anything were to ever get exposed. We never hear about any kind of drug testing in the NBA, do we? The NFL has it. MLB has it -- NHL isn't as well-known so who knows. But does the NBA have it? And the answer is I don't think so. Hasn't it been written that they all smoke weed? Or at least a solid percentage. Cocaine is passe now -- People know more about it -- and it ruins careers -- but steroids and HGH? why they help careers immensely -- so why don't we think NBA-ers are using the juice? I don't understand that.
There are guys in the NBA who are specimens -- absolute specimens -- look at their arms, and shoulders, and chests -- they look like Hercules chisled out of stone -- now -- go look at Julius Erving, or Magic Johnson, or James Worthy in their day -- 20 years later and they've developed like THAT? I remember going to a C's game in the mid-late 90's -- the Ron Mercer, Tony Battie, Antoine days... we were in the 4th row on the floor. They were playing the Raptors. And the Raptors had Charles Oakley -- I couldn't believe how ripped and cut he was -- Charles "god-damned" Oakley. He looked like something out of "Pumping Iron" with Arnold Schwarzenneger. Don't believe that one - check out Dennis Rodman from his Detroit days to his Chicago days and how different he looks --
I don't know -- Lebron is enormous, Dwight Howard is ridiculous. But Stern's got clean hands -- And for some reason, he'll manage to keep them that way -- as others take the fall for the wayward behavior of an entire league.

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