I was listening to ESPN Radio in Chicago today, and they were talking about the Tim Donaghy's claim that Game Six of the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers was fixed.
By this point, I'm sure that you all know the facts. For those who don't, the basics are that Donaghy has said that two refs worked to create a Game Seven for the series.
The Lakers shot 27 free throws in the final quarter of the game, won that game, and then won Game Seven.
Fans of the Kings were appalled that this has come to light, and feel that they were slighted of a chance to go the NBA Finals.
The headline of the Sacramento Bee was "Ex-Ref: Kings Were Robbed." Sacramento Kings players—who were called the Queens by the media for crying too much—now feel that there is an argument for their complaining.
But back to an interesting analogy I heard on ESPN Radio today.
The hosts were discussing the issue, and one said, "The NBA needs to decide whether Donaghy is a pimple or a tumor."
There could not be a better comparison out there than this.
A pimple is embarrassing at the time, but it goes away.
But a tumor, if left alone, will fester and eventually kill you.
What the NBA needs to do—if Donaghy is in fact a tumor—is to cut off all association with him. Get rid of all adjoining cells, so that there is no way that he can kill your league.
However, as of now, the NBA's David Stern is treating Donaghy as something in between. He goes after Donaghy's credibility, but does nothing to truly sever all ties between himself and the possible cancer.
In a statement, Stern said, ""He turned on basically all of his colleagues in an attempt to demonstrate that he is not the only one who engaged in criminal activity. The U.S. Attorney's office, the FBI, have fully investigated it, and Mr. Donaghy is the only one who is guilty of a crime. And he's going to be sentenced for that crime, regardless of these desperate attempts to implicate as many people as he can."
I think that Donaghy is a tumor—and this opens the flood gates for any game under Stern's leadership that decided by questionable calls to be called fixed.
Also, with the Kings feeling robbed, you have an entire fan base that feels sorely about the NBA. No matter what comes out, Sacramento fans are going to believe that this game was fixed.
Also, this announcement could not come at a worse time for the NBA.
They are coming off one of their most successful seasons. The dream matchup was discovered in the Lakers-Celtics finals. Ratings are way up from last year's Finals.
Then comes Donaghy, killing everything.
However, there are two sides to every argument.
If the NBA is fixing games, then how come we have been stuck with some of the most boring Finals matchups over recent years?
The San Antonio Spurs are contending annually. This is not an attack on the Spurs or their fan base—but to those who don't love Spurs basketball, their style of play is just boring.
This hurts ratings, while more "exciting" teams such as the Mavericks, who have a wild owner, or the Suns, with their run-n-gun offense, sit at home.
We also watch as NBA franchises that are beloved play horribly for long stretches.
The Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Lakers have all had streaks of three-plus years when they weren't in title contention.
If the NBA is fixing everything, why aren't they getting these dream match-ups year in and year out?
I hope to hear everybody's take on this debate—and for those wondering, I believe Donaghy.
I'm Joe W.
Information for this article was found on ESPN.com