“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, 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.”
It’s actually worse than that. Bryant drove into Bibby, committing an obvious offensive foul with an elbow to the nose which gave Bibby a nosebleed. Bibby was called for a personal foul for his nose fouling Kobe in the elbow.
Nor is a single bad call evidence of bias, such as the nosebleed incident.
An example of a good evaluation would be several professional referees, not employed by the NBA, observe the videos of that game from different angles, and score the accuracy and fairness of each call and potential non-call, including which referee made the call and/or was closest.
I don't wish to accuse people of conspiracies without strong and detailed evidence. And, too many teams habitually blame the refs for bad results to deflect their own shortcomings as a team. I've heard "wolf" far too many times.
There is human error and thus randomness in referee calls. But as they say, luck favors the prepared. If you don't want bad calls deciding the game, then get good enough to have the margin of error in your favor.
Also, near the end of the game, I expect losing teams to commit more fouls, giving up free throws to prevent their opponent from using up the shot clock time.
”observe the videos of that game from different angles”
Ideally, you would process the video so that you can’t see who the players are or which team the player is on. I fear that isn’t possible, though. Experts likely will recognize players from their length and the way they play.
Perhaps the actual calls from the other game videos are used as a reference, such as whether a mere hint of wind-up is enough to score as such, or if the pull-back has to be very clear. Since different refs may have diff interpretations, perhaps the ref's history should be used as a guide. After all, the key question is about whether a specific game or season is "fixed", not all games from a given ref. If a ref has say 3 years of requiring mostly clear wind-up motions, and they were consistent on this during the target game, it probably wouldn't be considered an oddity.
Sure, that's a lot of digging and a lot of work, but if a play-off conspiracy has potential merit, it's worth it.
They know which games he bet on and which games he officiated, so they can track his calls in games where he had a vested interest in affecting the outcome.
> The odds that Tim Donaghy would have randomly made calls that produced that imbalance are 6,155-to-1.
Basically, there's no way an unbiased ref could generate such an accurate prediction of the winner.
That being said, it does seem a little sketchy.
now how many thousands of basketball games?
At the highest level of play (and pay), contestants should be able to fiercely compete under principles of fairness and cooperation instead of establishing the current culture of flopping, doping and "off the field issues".
This would turn every professional sport into the UFC.
This is true regardless of who’s playing or the culture of the sport. The only reason ultimate frisbee doesn’t have refs is because no one really cares about it.
Then again, I confess I really don't understand pro sports.
Everything included the lottery.
Two examples are Mike Wilbon complaining that they should "let the players play in the fourth quarter", and Jon Gruden wanting to get rid of video entirely. Jon wants it to be a human game played and officiated by humans, with all the error that entails. See also limits on coaches challenges to keep the game from being bogged down.
There is far more money at stake in maintaining the legitimacy of the the NBA (player salaries, tv deals, team valuations - all of these easily trump all the money made off of betting). Wouldn't that money fight a lot harder than any bent refs in order to fight corruption and maintain the legitimacy of the NBA?
If a bigger story about bent refs got out it would destroy the NBA and a lot of the associated revenue. I'm sure the NBA is aware of this.
I'm not arguing that there is no corruption, but I don't see why it's so 'obviously' commonplace as you and others suggest. I'd like a more concrete reason why than 'its good for marketing' since that seems like a weak argument in the bigger picture of money made from the NBA.
This should be fairly easy to test with play-by-play data. I don't have time to do it just this moment, but I may give it a stab later.
In this series, the league thought their predominantly-White fanbase needed to see Larry Bird (who is White) win the series. (Spoiler alert: Celtics won in 7).
Some of the highlights (lowlights?) of Magic Johnson blatantly throwing the series (especially the first play in this video, sending game 1 into overtime) are here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSlWNU5_JVc&t=91s
The comments on the youtube are interesting, lots of people call it game fixing. Nobody who has ever played even semicompetitive organized basketball could mistake this for an honest performance.
Downthread there is also a reference to the infamous "Phoenix Suns Free Throw Parade" 1993 game 7 WCF (in which the Suns went 57 for 64 from the line, not a typo), which was also overtly thrown by the league for revenue reasons.
I could not possibly disagree with you more re: 1984 Lakers/Celtics, and I'm a huge Lakers fan who'd love to believe they were really the better team. I'm not going to bother to click on the video, but I'm sure you're referring to Magic dribbling the clock out at the end of game 2, and throwing the ball away at the end of game 4? These are called mistakes, and they get made all the time. Steph Curry threw the ball away similarly with a needless behind the back pass in game 7 2016, almost exactly the same as Magic's game 4 (although with a bit more time left in the game). JR Smith utterly forgot what the score was at the end of Game 1 last year and did exactly the same thing as Magic in 1984 game 2. These examples are just from the past few years, there are countless others. I'll also point out those 2 examples are both from the NBA finals. If you just want examples of professional players throwing bad passes resulting in turnovers or dribbling too long resulting in time running out, the former happens about ~10 times in every single NBA game, the latter happens a couple of times per week during the regular season.
You're talking about the highest pressure situation in the sport, players make mistakes. You are sorely underestimating the competitiveness of these athletes. I defy you to watch any interview Magic gave in the 80s and to this present day about the 84 finals, and still argue that he threw the series on purpose. His first NBA finals matchup with Larry Bird, who had been his rival for 5 years at that point, going back to their college careers? Either he's the the world's greatest actor, or that loss emotionally and mentally devastated him for a year until he got redemption in 85.
You say the league needed the white fanbase's team to win, and it is absolutely true there was a huge racial component to the Lakers/Celtics rivalry in the 80s. How do you then explain the 85 and 87 finals? I consider myself pretty knowledgable about NBA history dating back to the NBA/ABA merger, and to be blunt your comments sound very uninformed.
I can't speak to the rest of your comment, but this might not be "actively encouraged" since it is universal in every sport. Every single study that I have seen on sports refs shows an inherent bias in favor of the home team. It is just human nature for your actions to be subconsciously swayed by how you know the 10,000+ people around you will react. This is one of the many things that makes up home field advantage in sports.
I think there can also be a bias in favour of teams that are still in developing regions that the sport is still trying to conquer.
When a team can sell out a stadium for decades despite their record, who cares if they win or lose?
1993 Game 7 WC Finals Suns had 64 free throw attempts. But it was important for the Suns to win because Chicago had won the East the day before and Barkley v. Jordan just had to happen.
That's not the point your parent comment made. Your statement should be "I challenge a downvoter to reply with any pro sport that wants non-bent refs"
Whether they do it consciously or unconsciously or at the behest of the nba, who knows. But definitely the NBA, like all major sports, are more entertainment rather than sport.
Naturally, I would assume that this rarely happens still if ever. Modern methods of oversight and statistical methods ought to be enough to ensure such things don’t happen. The NBA has a vested interest in maintaining the legitimacy of the league and thus are naturally inclined to root out any kind of cheating or illicit betting. Could you imagine if it got out that this was still happening and a more intense, modern investigation happened? It could destroy the NBA, which is something I’m sure the NBA is working hard to make sure doesn’t happen.
However, at least on reddit’s r/nba it seems a common opinion (at least according to upvoted responses) that much of this is still going on. Obviously that’s not saying much, but it makes me wonder… Do I have it wrong? If so why? And likewise, if so what’s the point in watching these sports?
like that kevin durant "save" against houston where he was lounging in the first row for what seemed like several minutes beforehand. or nearly every 4-point-play that james harden gets, or lebron's inability to travel. or the lack of foul calls for non-stars like josh hart (lakers).
i play rec ball and our officiating is bad too, but it seems worse in the nba despite having professional refs (granted, it's a faster and more powerful game, but their refs are supposed to be the best).
Virtually nobody besides successful gamblers and actual statisticians has any insight into what is actually going on. There's just too much noise and 99.9% of people aren't analyzing enough data to make any sense of it, assuming they're analyzing any at all and not just screaming when a call goes against them.
And I'm sure that referees in most leagues are given directives about which players to favor, etc. In hockey, at least, it's really apparent that the superstars tend to get treated with kid gloves by the refs.
Having said that, I firmly do not believe what some others do, that entire sports are rigged a la pro wrestling. I think the leagues will, on rare occasion, step in to protect their investments. But I don't think someone's sitting behind the scenes writing out the storylines in advance.
Allowing widespread legit betting is asking for less than honest behavior. Even a single player throwing a few shots or missing/hitting a metric can make people money.
The leagues can also not notice things that encourage behavior that fans like. Baseball players on steroids attracted a lot of buzz in the 90s and early 2000s.
I suppose that doesn't mean there wouldn't be any corruption, but it seems like there would certainly be less?
Look at Pete Rose as an example.
The refs are humans and are biased to crowd noise, and you can bet it harder to stand up to LeBron James screaming at you than Quinn Cook.
What evidence is there that they "actively encourage seeing it the home teams way?" What if a huge star is on the road, what's the call there?
Of course they want the bigger media markets to do well and competitive gameplay.
Do you think they're rigging it so Milwaukee or Portland is good? What about the 20 year run of the Spurs?
Just calling or not calling traveling, say 3 or 4 times and calling or not calling charging a couple times and you're easily looking at nearly a 10point swing. Lebron doesn't have to lose, just not win by 15 points...
This Youtube vid has a bit of the horror:
Rationally speaking, it is entirely possible for at least some games to be rigged from time to time. It does not mean that the whole game has to be rigged, just parts of them.
I think someone who is emotionally invested in a team will find it substantially harder to make objective assessment of a game that involves their team or a team they have cognitive bias towards.
The NBA has become an entire Randy Moss organization: I will play when I want.
The ESPN article argues otherwise through statistical analysis of foul calls as well as investigative reporting with the other gamblers and bookies in Donegha's circle of corruption. Based on their statements, it's rather conclusive that he skillfully manipulated games, although he couldn't control every outcome.
The article also highlights an unfortunate situation where Donaghy told the FBI about other crooked refs, but the FBI briefed NBA commissioner David Stern about their investigation early on, while it was still ongoing.
The investigation was then leaked to the press (strongly implying Stern did it). This made it impossible for Donaghy to wear a wire since he was now disgraced and fired from his job, and the NBA maintained that Donaghy's was an isolated incident of one rogue ref placing bets but not affecting games.
That's my summary of their reporting anyway. I found it persuasive.
"It matters all the more now. On May 14 of last year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that had forbidden states from legalizing sports gambling within their own borders. It's widely believed that the ruling will lead to a lifting of the interstate prohibition on sports betting, which, in turn, would give rise to a massive increase in the money wagered on American sports. At the same time, the NBA -- which once balked at gambling -- has now openly embraced legalized sports betting more than any other U.S. pro sports league. In 2014, commissioner Adam Silver penned an op-ed in The New York Times advocating for legalization. In July of 2018, he announced a multiyear deal for MGM Resorts to be the 'official gaming partner of the NBA.'"
(Most leading 'hows' are worth dropping, I can tell you, having looked at a lot of data before writing the code to decapitate them.)
On top of the suspicious "stolen" playoff series with Sacramento and Miami and Phoenix in previous years.
I am convinced Donaghy was just side betting manipulation orders that were coming down from David Stern. Once caught, the league had to stop manipulating the refereeing and Donaghy became the scapegoat.