February 20, 2019

How former ref Tim Donaghy conspired to fix NBA games: ESPN's Scott Eden takes a deep dive into the Donaghy saga. Well worth the long read.

posted by Ufez Jones to basketball at 07:10 PM - 10 comments

You're correct, Ufez, it is a long read, and well worth it.

posted by tommybiden at 08:46 AM on February 21, 2019

Working my way through it now, with appreciation.

posted by beaverboard at 10:17 AM on February 21, 2019

Pretty amazing, especially how the NBA shaped the narrative about it. It makes me wonder how much longer ESPN will fund this kind of journalism that makes their content partners (NBA/ NFL/ etc) look bad.

posted by yerfatma at 12:06 PM on February 21, 2019

Wow. Yes, long, and yes, worth the read. The organic way in which this whole scheme developed is the most fascinating aspect of it to me. The evolution from "hey, I can make a few bucks for my buddies" to "international game fixing syndicate" was so natural that it's almost shocking that we don't see it more often.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:22 PM on February 21, 2019


posted by cixelsyd at 01:24 PM on February 21, 2019

When one sees a 33 - 12 discrepancy in free throw attempts between two teams, and both teams are attempting to execute their offense in the paint, one has to wonder what is going on. In the same game the referees were calling an unusually high number of blocking and obstruction fouls off the ball. This had the effect of breaking the momentum of the team that wanted to play faster. I am not saying that there is or is not tampering in the NBA, but after Donaghy the NBA would do well to look very carefully at the videos of some games.

The "Final 2 Minutes" report that the league issues to highlight bad calls (or non calls) is a step toward transparency. It's only a baby step. What action is taken to improve the performance of referees that make such errors? Referees are rated on their performance; how about sharing the ratings with the fans and explaining why each referee is rated as he or she is. Players are subject to such scrutiny with their statistics, why not officials?

posted by Howard_T at 01:50 PM on February 21, 2019

Great read.

Watching Lakers-Rockets last night made me wonder if the refs in that one were on the take.

posted by holden at 09:31 AM on February 22, 2019

Now that there's an investigative template, we need a companion piece on the NFL.

posted by beaverboard at 10:43 AM on February 22, 2019

Yeah this was great. Looking forward to the movie.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:09 PM on February 22, 2019

What's disturbing to me is that it could go 4 years without the NBA ever noticing that one of it's officials was intentionally making incorrect calls. Would they have ever figured it out if the FBI hadn't clued them in? Referees have such a wild amount of discretion over a game and the NBA doesn't really seem interested in holding them accountable or attempting to reign in their power. The section with Ed Rush talking about the literal interpretation of rules shows how you can hide abuse and you'll probably get @OfficialNBARefs and the league closing ranks to avoid the appearance of impropriety when you've just pulled someone over going 56 in a 55.

posted by tron7 at 01:30 PM on February 22, 2019

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