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How Former Ref Tim Donaghy Conspired to Fix NBA Games (espn.com)
166 points by laurex 33 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 92 comments



If the calls are so subjective that one can't tell the difference between a ref accidentally being way off and on purpose being way off, then maybe your sport/rules are the problem when being way off is either excusable or indeterminable. (in the NBA and some other sports, you can basically call a foul every play)


Game 3 of the NBA Finals in 2008 was pretty darn obvious. Anyone who watched that game had to have known that the game was fixed.

http://www.espn.com/nba/news/story?id=3436401

“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.


I would like to see a more objective scoring. Lopsided foul ratios are not solid evidence of bias by themselves. Teams play different styles and sometimes have bad defensive nights.

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.


You can be the judge. Here is the video. This wasn’t a close call. It was an egregiously wrong call. There was no way that ten out of ten impartial referees wouldn’t call this a foul on Kobe.

https://youtu.be/mbWgWZjo1nI


Referees sometimes miss solid calls. No human can get 100% right when things happen in a fraction of a second. The Rams/Saints playoff game had a famous example (although there are conspiracy claims surrounding that also). I'll go with Hanlon's razor until something solid comes up.


”Lopsided foul ratios are not solid evidence of bias by themselves. Teams play different styles”

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.


If the plays are dissected carefully, then the person involved shouldn't matter a whole lot. For example, a "flagrant foul" instead of a "common foul" may be a possibility if one does a "wind up" (pull back and then forward) of their arm(s) before a facial hit. If there's a disagreement about what constitutes a wind-up, then other wind-ups on other videos are analyzed and a mutual agreement hopefully appears about whether a specific case matches the agreed-upon working rule(s).

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.


I think you mean 2002 not 2008. And yeah that game sure did seem skewed in the lakers favor.


2002*. But yeah, agree. 1993 and 2000 Western Conference Finals Game 7s as well.


You misread the article. It was 2002 and wasn't the NBA Finals.


Yeah, I didn’t read very carefully. I was just looking for any article on the game. I didn’t recall it being in the NBA Finals, but I let the wording of the article confuse me.


> Donaghy's track record of making calls that favored his bet was 23-3-4

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.


Those odds aren’t really that bad. Many poker hands have worse odds but no one is particularly amazed when they get them.

That being said, it does seem a little sketchy.


how many millions of poker hands have been played though?

now how many thousands of basketball games?


This is why I mostly stopped watching the NBA and basketball in general. The foul-calling situation is ridiculous. Many offensive fouls get called as defensive fouls and even good calls slow down the game significantly, more than it's already slowed by the million timeouts in the game. A simple solution would be to lower the amount of fouls a player is allowed to commit before they are sent off like the card system in soccer. Or put players in a penalty box like in hockey for a few mins after every foul and make the team play one down. Or just simply call offensive fouls when the offensive player obviously just runs into the defensive player instead of the other way around. There are many possibilities, but I don't see the NBA exploring any of them and they are no stranger to rule changes. Maybe the NBA wants the games fixed, who knows? Regardless, they have the power to fix this and do not. Hard to argue they are acting in good conscience.


So there would be a stretch where it were 4 versus 5 players? Oh my! The idea of minimizing free-throws seems worth exploring, though. Maybe store them up so they are all done at the end of a quarter. One can then go get a sandwich if they don't want to watch that.


I would propose doing away with refs entirely, like in Ultimate Frisbee. This would entail pretty radical changes to professional sports, but why not.

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".


So I'm up by 1 with 20 seconds to go in game 7 of the finals and I foul you. You really think I'm gonna hand over my championship out of fairness?

This would turn every professional sport into the UFC.


There are refs in UFC.


Are you serious? This isn’t how incentives work. The more money is on the line, the more you need refs.

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.


You can't do that when there are $billions on the table. What happens when someone cheats?


You'd need to find some way to allocate that money other than "to the winners". And/or, you'd need to disqualify or otherwise punish cheaters so strictly that players aren't tempted to do so.

Then again, I confess I really don't understand pro sports.


Back in 2002 I worked in IT for a California sports management firm. They had several NBA players as clients as well as NFL and MLB. One of the guys that worked there told me that the NBA was fixed. Everything included the lottery. Their goal was to get the high market teams to be in the Finals for TV ratings. Refs that were calling games to make this happen. Not sure if this was his opinion or fact, but it seems likely based on stories like this


  Everything included the lottery.
The 1993 lottery seemed pretty blatant. Dallas #1, Golden State#2, ... Oops! Machine jammed on #6(?). Result? Do the entire thing over from the start in a back room with no cameras. Surprise! Magic get #1 the second year in a row despite having the lowest chance and Dallas drops to #4.


Yep. I think the most egregious example is in the NFL where you can call a hold ( on offense or defense ) on every play if you wanted to. Of course in baseball, the umpire can "manage" the game by changing their strike zone. I still don't understand why we need umpires to call balls and strikes. Can't they get video imaging system to make the call? This way we know it is objective.


You're assuming that the goal is to be objective. That's not always the case, and even when it is there are often overriding objectives.

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.


It's slowly happening. Look at how tennis can have challenges now. But I think a limited number of challenges per match? But I think people like having the human element a bit, and the accompanying controversy. Entire industries are built on discussing this stuff.


The nba clearly wants the refs to be bent, it's a requirement. They actively encourage seeing it the home teams way, favouring the big stars and call it to keep it close as this is all good for marketing. The question is not whether the refs are bent it's merely who is paying them to be so. I doubt anyone thinks the nba refs honestly try to enforce the rules with an even hand. Do any adults think this? NBA is a mix of sport and Pro wrestling, which seems a shame given the immense skill levels and training on display.


I don't think it's that simple and I don't see why it's a given that refs are bent.

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.


If you've watched any NBA in the past decade you can see a trend of calling fouls against teams that are winning too heavily against favorites. It's not hard.


> If you've watched any NBA in the past decade you can see a trend of calling fouls against teams that are winning too heavily against favorites. It's not hard.

This should be fairly easy to test with play-by-play data[0]. I don't have time to do it just this moment, but I may give it a stab later.

[0] https://eightthirtyfour.com/data


I am sure such a study would be interesting to a wide audience.


Thanks. If I manage to work through it, I'll put it online somewhere (and post the link to HN).


This isn't a ref throwing games for kickbacks, but it's surprising that nowhere in this thread has anyone mentioned the most blatant game-fixing in league history, which was the 1984 Lakers-Celtics finals.

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.


Former competitive basketball player here, still play pickup regularly. "Nobody who has ever played even semicompetitive organized basketball could mistake this for an honest performance" is blatant hyperbole.

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.


You are trying to prove that a league isn't crooked by pointing out all the similar "mistakes" that make the league look crooked. I'm not saying that they are crooked. I'm just wondering if you have thought this argument through.


What is a "competitive basketball player"? Did you play professionally? Or were you just really competitive when you played ball? :p


OP probably played AAU, the competative league for youth basketball which is more intense than a local school league.


Don't forget the Lakers - Kings 2002 conference finals. The NBA really wanted Shaq and Kobe in the finals that year.


> They actively encourage seeing it the home teams way

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.


The Toronto Maple Leafs would like a word with you.

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?


Is it common that teams sell out a stadium with a bad record? I know there's the Cubs and some other "lovable losers", but I wasn't under the impression that it was exceptional. White sox ticket prices/sales seem responsive to their record.


In a way, one could interpret this as meaning that pro wrestling is the most honest sport. The fakery is in plain sight.


As much as I love a good conspiracy theory, refs are biased in favor of home teams in EVERY sport:

http://thefixisin.net/homefield.html


Then you never heard of Scott Foster, who is the usual ref when the road team needs to win an important playoff game.


How often do you watch games? I think that instances of this are much closer to an outlier than the usual. By nature of their jobs, refs only get talked about when there’s a controversial call. Superstar calls included(which is something that is as much a skill as it is bias), it’s extremely easy to say “they’re not making even handed decisions” if that’s the perspective you chose to look at it from.


They only throw the games when it is important.

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.

https://nextimpulsesports.com/2013/06/05/flashback-the-day-p...


There are games, e.g. in the 2006 finals, where one player shoots more free throws than the entire other team.


Well, the NBA can't be fixed on a systemic level, or Battista's use of Donaghy would have little game theoretical chance of success. Indeed, mathematically speaking, it's more likely that it was not fixed, or the success rate this pair were racking up would not have been feasible.


This is true in all professional sport. After all, it's entertainment, a movie which can change its ending. If something is on TV, it's amenable to be gamed.


Completely true. I challenge a downvoter to reply with any pro sport without confirmed fixing, PED use, and predatory hiring.


> I challenge a downvoter to reply with any pro sport without confirmed fixing, PED use, and predatory hiring.

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"


The refs definitely protect the stars. But the stars are why people pay money and buy tickets. So there is definitely pressure to keep the stars off the bench and on the court. And if one team is extending a lead, they seem to love to call fouls to keep the score close and the game interesting.

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.


I would love to get more people's opinions on if this is still happening in the NBA and to what extent.

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?


It doesn't seem to be happening as much. Last year's championship was a 4 game sweep by the Warriors. Donaghy used to bet on playoff series knowing that the league wanted the refs to do what they could to extend the series to 7 games. One notable example is the 2002 series between the Lakers and Kings.


This reddit thread definitely has me suspicious about current referee Scott Foster. https://www.reddit.com/r/nba/comments/asciqn/serious_can_we_...


Scott Foster is the worst referee for more than a decade. Even in 2007 when the absurd number of phonecalls with Donaghy came out and most players protested on his absurd calling nothing happened. The NBA really needs those refs to fix games for the most important markets (LA, NY, Chicago).


i've been watching more nba lately and the officiating seems so arbitrary that it's making me skeptical that statistical analysis can isolate fraud from poor officiating.

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).


I wonder the same thing at times when strange things happen in the NFL. How much could betting play a role? And how can it be possible that this doesn't happen, when there is SO much potential for money to be made?


it's sad because what used to be an escape from real life for me (play, and watching play) has become more of a frustration and reminder of adult problems, so i now choose to abstain from that.


I'm pretty sure Haralabob Voulgaris made quite a bit of money by finding refs who (presumably subconsciously) called certain games in certain ways that the oddsmakers weren't yet accounting for.

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.


I firmly believe that every major professional sports league is willing to twist some knobs and push some buttons in order to ensure/avoid certain outcomes which might be extremely beneficial/damaging to their business. Something as simple as fixing a draft lottery in advance, even just for the top player to be drafted, can have a huge impact on growing or shrinking certain teams' fanbases/markets. You could probably accomplish it with only a few people aware -- wouldn't need the entire league to be in cahoots -- and it's not really something like matchfixing.

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.


There’s so much money in sports betting now, there’s no way that there isn’t a ton of corrupt behavior going on.

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.


It's true there's a lot of money in sports betting, but there is even more money in the NBA (TV deals, player salaries, team valuations, etc). That larger sum of money would be existentially threatened by continued corruption within the league due to sports betting. Thus, one would think that more money would go towards stopping any corruption.

I suppose that doesn't mean there wouldn't be any corruption, but it seems like there would certainly be less?


People aren’t rational, and many people are hooked on gambling.

Look at Pete Rose as an example.


The NBA has seemed rigged for years. Closer to WWE than a true competition.


This is a messed up story, but the idea that the NBA is rigged is patently ridiculous.

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?


He wasn't turning donkeys into race horses. He was tampering with the spread.

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...


Donaghy told his handler (allegedly) that he could swing a game by 6 points, anything more and it would be too obvious.


You're arguing against it being absolutely rigged when what most people mean is minorly rigged here and there. You're reading an article about the rigging of games, yet you might have made this same comment in 2006. Unfortunately with the state of basketball, the problem is that a game can't be reviewed for a reasonably objective per-play foul count to determine accuracy. So you get to easily say "where's the evidence of subjective thing being done for reason X" and never get an answer, same as you could have about Donaghy until he was busted.


I'm with you. If the NBA was rigged, wouldn't the Knicks not be the tire fire they've been for the last, what, 30+ years?


2006 Western Conf semi finals with Suns/Spurs was pretty much the last straw for me and last time for me actually taking the game serious. Wasnt at all surprised to find out later that Donaghy made money off such a shitty performance. Such a shame as Nash never won a title and this year was arguably had his best chance. The sort of reckless officisting caused a ton of damage both physicaly and mentally to the Suns (as it encourages benifiting teams to be dangerously aggressive and can mentally breaks down the opposing teams, leading to technicalities)

This Youtube vid has a bit of the horror: https://youtu.be/fvkKdXLwt0U


It is fascinating to see the crowd mentality that comes from sports team, political groups and other areas.

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 is in desperate need of a complete overhaul. We have this article that talks about the refs not making the sport fair. Franchise players are given leeway that would not be shown on a peewee court. And then this is complemented by last year’s article about which plays the players say they are actually going to participate in.

The NBA has become an entire Randy Moss organization: I will play when I want.


This story is years old - why is it back the news? What changed? The publish date on the article is February 19th, 2019.


The NBA and the disgraced ref maintained that he bet on his own games, but did not fix outcomes.

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.


I think the article makes a pretty persuasive argument for the relevance:

"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.'"


The author put two years of work into reporting it. A lot more detail and strong evidence that contrary to what was claimed 12 years ago, Tim Donaghy was throwing games.


100% worthwhile to be in the news. The NBA I think is mostly alright. I wonder if James gets the Lakers into the playoffs, its LEBRON JAMES


I feel like dropping the "How" from the title makes it sound far less interesting than it is.


Fair enough. Have a how.

(Most leading 'hows' are worth dropping, I can tell you, having looked at a lot of data before writing the code to decapitate them.)


"How" did that happen?


I remember the year Donaghy was caught. That was a bizarre playoffs where every single series seemed to be going 7 games, with home teams basically never losing. Then Donaghy story explodes right before the playoffs, and suddenly the finals were over in 5 or 6 games and the entire appearance of the games changed.

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.


Bill Burr has an excellent high-level overview of gambling in the NBA and how refs influence it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvVgHXF6V9A


I worked for a tech company in the professional sports scene. A well known NBA official drunkenly provided details on how this stuff goes down and more importantly how critical it is for NBA's longevity as entertainment. He mentioned that most other sports are rigged, but NBA is the worst.


I'm guessing most games are won or lost by the ref than by the players. A disheartening thought.


Yet another reason not to gamble.


this is exactly the reason why i feel the nba getting into gambling is such a problem, it’s true that gambling on the nba happened before the nba decided to get involved, but i dont see how the nba can totally regulate match fixing.


Wikipedia coverage, if ESPN's story is too much:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_NBA_betting_scandal


ESPN seemed to work hard to manipulate those statistics. I see the old “well the most clear statistical test said there was a 23% chance of it being random, but then when you exclude a bunch of games...”


Same thing happened with Soccer Match fixing, you can read all about in Declan Hill's book called The Fix


fyi, i thought about creating a product to automate officiating of sports, but it’s quite complicated to get right, especially for extremely faced fast paced sports, like basketball, you basically need to take video of different angles and process that frame by frame. sportsvu was technology that is able to track things like whether the shooter is behind or on the three point line, but hasnt gotten to the point where it can monitor fouls and such.




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