It’s a fast-paced, high-scoring, high-flying action sport with an incredible amount of drama.
However, the reason I will always hate it is because of how much the officiating determines the outcomes of games.
Let’s take last night’s Golden State Warriors-Los Angeles Lakers game, for example.
The score was 121 to 119 in OT and the Warriors had the ball. As they prepared to inbound it, Derek Fisher from the Lakers started falling down and pulled Monta Ellis on top of him.
The ref, who only saw the end of the play, called the foul on Ellis and the Warriors lost the ball and any hope they had of winning the game.
Now, referees do not always blow calls at the end of the game, but it has become often enough where I feel like I am wasting my time watching a 3-hour game end like this.
After all, how many bad calls must a spectator have to suffer through before he gives up on the sport all together?
How many times have you seen the following?
- A ref calls a foul when the defender doesn’t even touch the other player. The ref just thinks there will be a foul so he calls one despite not actually seeing one happen.
- A team goes down on offense, gets fouled, shoots free throws followed by the other team doing the same thing. Repeat over and over again. I understand the need to call fouls but I did not tune in for a free throw shooting contest.
- A player complains because he got touch fouled and the ref didn’t call it. The reason they get mad is because they’re used to the refs calling every little thing.
- A player is more interested in trying to draw a foul instead of actually making his shot.
- A flop (fake getting fouled). I hate this most of all. Just play the damn game.
As much as I try to forget how much control the refs have over the game of basketball, any combination of the above things happening over and over again keeps reminding me.
It is no surprise that the ref who was fixing games last year for the mafia was a basketball ref. No referee in any other sport could be that effective at determining outcomes of games and get away with it for as long as he was able to.
Until basketball fixes this problem, I am doomed to be a frustrated fan always believing that the final outcome of a game is determined less by the players and more by unnecessary referee influence.