David Stern wasn't kidding. Three days after the Orlando Magic eliminated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, the NBA commissioner has reacted by firing all 65 referees currently under contract with the league.
In a terse statement released by the NBA at 12:32 p.m. today, Stern was unapologetic about chopping 65 jobs during a recession: "Most people already know that the NBA is more fixed than professional wrestling," the statement began.
"Myself and Joe Borgia [league head of officiating] had a lengthy discussion with each official at the beginning of the season. We told them that they could interpret the rulebook however they wanted this year...with one catch; Kobe and LeBron had to make it to the Finals."
Many have theorized that NBA games are fixed, but Stern shook that off, saying only some games are fixed and that the NBA has never fixed a Clippers game. "If you have ever bet real, actual American money on the Clippers, then you probably shouldn't be gambling in the first place."
Stern also explained why game officials were rarely punished this year.
"Yes, our referees showed a blatant disregard for the rules this season, but we were willing to look the other way because Kobe and LeBron were on track to meet in the Finals."
At that point, Stern began to tear up as he continued the statement, "According to our research, a Kobe-LeBron finals would have reaped benefits for every man, woman, and child alive."
"The two of those superstars in a seven-game series would have erased the national debt, ended California's economic problems, and brought in over $86 billion in merchandise sales. Thanks to our selfish officials, who decided to grow a conscience for this one series [the Eastern Conference Finals], none of this will happen."
Stern finished the statement with more shocking news, "We now have a standing invitation to any and all current or former WWE officials. They will have first dibs on these 65 spots. If we are unable to fill our roster in this manner, we will rehire Tim Donaghy and anyone he vouches for. Thank you for your time and I won't be answering any questions."