"Damn those Detroit Pistons!" the evil tyrant David Stern thought to himself. "They are making my superstars look human! This could cost us millions!"
Just then, NBA official Tim Donaghy walked into his office, as he was still in the good graces of the NBA elite at the time. Stern looked at Donaghy with fury in his eyes.
Donaghy knew not to take Stern’s glare personally; after all, Stern always knew he was the one official he could always trust to “properly” officiate a playoff game.
It was only two seasons prior that Donaghy helped see to it that the Los Angeles Lakers staved off elimination against the less marketable Chris Webber and the Sacramento Kings in Game Six of the conference finals.
The Lakers were given 18 more free throws than the Kings in the fourth quarter. This allowed the Lakers to proceed to win the NBA title that year.
Just two years later, things had gone grossly wrong. After the Detroit Pistons had used smothering defense to upset the highly favored Los Angeles Lakers, David Stern nearly went into shock. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were supposed to be unstoppable. This was all wrong! This was not in the script!
Kobe and Shaq were suppose to be the new ratings swoon, the one’s to restore the NBA to the glory it had once enjoyed with it’s ultimate marketing tool Michael Jordan.
The NBA frowned greatly upon then Pistons coach Larry Brown's idea of "playing the right way." To play the right way meant to play perfectly executed defense that could stop or slow down even the NBA’s most elite players.
Playing the right way was the wrong way to David Stern and his league of billionaire owners. Even Stern’s corrupt referees could do nothing to stop all the trapping, ball hawking and physical play from dethroning the team of the “New Jordan” and Shaq.
It reminded David Stern too much of the way the Bad Boys use to hold back his marketing darling, Michael Jordan, years ago. Mr. Stern needed a solution, and Donaghy had a suggestion.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Tony Wichowski is a writer for The Bleacher Report and the Host of "That's Real Sports Talk" on the Godly Network.