With the New Orleans Hornets winning the recent NBA Draft Lottery, there are a new set of conspiracy theories cropping up surrounding the event. Not only fans but apparently some owners and front office personnel are questioning how New Orleans won the lottery? Personally I don’t believe ”this” lottery was rigged, but lotteries of years past, well that’s another story. Also, questionable calls in the playoffs are making fans question the validity of NBA officiating and if series are still being rigged.
I have heard it said that the NBA has nothing to gain in rigging it’s lottery for small market teams to win it, so therefore why would they rig it? But do people really need a logical reason to commit acts of corruption, or even commit crimes? I think sometimes people commit corrupt acts simply because they can. Sometimes people just want to show you that have control over you, and there’s nothing you can do about. It’s not a good reason, but it’s a reason none the less.
I’ve seen pundits calling fans foolish for believing in the NBA’s conspiracy theories, but the NBA has given fans good reason to believe. It’s pretty much a consensus among fans and NBA beat writers that the 2002 conference finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings was fixed. Anyone with objective eyes could draw that conclusion. When that happened I didn’t know if I was watching the NBA or the WWE. So if one series can be fixed, why not believe that others were or will be?
Former rogue NBA referee Tim Donaghy has admitted that he rigged games and spoke about other games or series that he believed were rigged by other referees. The NBA has stated that Tim Donaghy acted alone in his rigging of games, but why should we believe them? People believe what they see with their own eyes. Just because someone says something isn’t true, doesn’t mean it’s not.
I’ve stated previously, that a ”series” is the perfect way to fix the outcome of a playoff round. If the favored team loses a game well guess what, they get a do over, and the league gets a second chance to ensure the team they want to see win, actually does. The major sports leagues in this country have their logos emblazoned with red, white and the blue, the colors of America. And most have the word “National” in their names, as if they have some affiliation with the country, but the fact is they are private organizations.
Is it so hard to believe that a private organization would artificially influence a set of circumstances in order to gain what it believed to be a considerable advantage commercially and financially? Each of these sports leagues needs to give the appearance that the competition being witnessed by its consumers is based on fairness, and decided by true athletic prowess between two reasonably matched opponents. If that appearance of fairness was proven to be a myth, then the legitimacy of that league would be damaged forever.
Since the Tim Donaghy scandal, I think that David Stern has done a good job of trying to clean up the league’s officiating. However, I think the main reason for this is because there is so much scrutiny on the referees that they have no choice but to give the appearance of impartiality. But recently, it seems whatever gains had been made in this regard are starting to go in reverse a little.
So the NBA continues to have a credibility issue. Can I prove that draft lotteries were rigged? No. Can I prove that NBA playoff series were rigged? Not conclusively, but that doesn’t make me a fool for believing that it’s happened. Look throughout history and you will find several examples of corruption in politics, business, and yes even professional sports. So don’t blame the fans for believing in the conspiracy theories, based on seeing is believing, the NBA has only itself to blame.
- Report: Several NBA Executives Suspicious of Hornets’ Draft Lottery Win (nesn.com)
- NBA Rumors: League Executives Outraged About Potentially Rigged Draft Lottery (bleacherreport.com)