Calamity as Catalyst – My Vote of Confidence in the NBA

Every company of any size has had a problem(s) that its CEO and stakeholders have lost sleep over. Its the law of big numbers. If enough things go on, something is going to go wrong.

Products get recalled or are tampered with. There are workplace disasters. There is corruption. No industry is immune. Churches, consumer products, law enforcement, cars, planes, trains and plenty more. No profession is immune. From the CEO who misrepresents corporate numbers or events at the expense of shareholders, to the doorman who tips himself from the cover charge at the expense of the club owner, people of every profession make bad decisions.

Shit happens. Bad Shit happens. When it does, there are two options. Cry over it and do nothing or recognize the problem and do the best you possibly can to not only fix it, but make the entire organization stronger..

As bad as the allegations facing the NBA today are, its also an opportunity to face every allegation that has ever been directed towards the NBA and its officials and pre empt them from ever occuring in the future.

Calamity can be a catalyst for significant change.

There are any number of examples in the business world where calamity led to better management, better communications, greater transparency and even better products. As the proverb goes, Necessity is the Mother of Invention.

The NBA took a hit today. Behind that hit is a catalyst and opportunity for significant change that could make the NBA stronger than it ever has been. Its a chance to proactively put in place people, processes and transparency that will forever silence those who will question the NBA’s integrity.

I have complete confidence that David Stern and Adam Silver will do just that and the NBA and our officiating will be all the stronger for it.

134 thoughts on “Calamity as Catalyst – My Vote of Confidence in the NBA

  1. That can be but not sure!

    Comment by Lehua -

  2. Well after the plea of guilty by Donaghy for police protection and the agreement for him to name, names. It appears the whole poor officiating argument has gained some legitimacy. I will no longer be called a whining Mavs fan. (Although I have been known to whine). My biggest concern is the possibility of the NBA being classified in the same category as the WWF minus the fighting girlfriends on the sideline….Oh wait….how bout minus a guy getting hit over the head with a folding chair…uhhh …OK we have a problem here!

    Who is running this league again?

    Comment by Billy -

  3. Do you think the Stern-o-meister has had many sleepness nights lately? I do, and deservedly so. The comment that Donaghy made about ref/player relationships yesterday at his guilty plea is HUGE. It implies that there ARE special calls for certain players and that games are not called fairly, hence the \”Lebron six step\” which occurred last year in the playoffs.

    Mark, any chance you could get your fine money back for criticizing the ref\’s blatantly bad calls? Maybe spin it like this – you were wrong Mr. Stern, give me my money back so I can donate it to charity.

    I\’m actually glad the whole Donaghy scandal occured because this will place always needed microscope on the NBA refs.

    Put an asterik next to the Spur\’s championship Mr. Stern!

    Comment by CJ in Baltimore -

  4. Honestly I would have been more satisfied with an \”I told you so\”.
    Tim Donaghy isn\’t a rogue, isolated criminal. Stern\’s presser was weak. He didn\’t show any responsibility for a situation which he asserts to be fool proof, except…

    Stern needs to go. I\’m so tired of his arrogance, and carelessness for the game and its fans.

    He takes advantage of the fan commitment engendered in times of true competition to keep us interested enough so he can foist his marketing blitzes on us.

    He flashes teasers every-now-and-then, where we think maybe this bad dream of terrible officiating has run its course, only to resurrect the thing that wouldn\’t die.

    Mark: you and all the other owners need to flush Stern right-quick if you want fan cynicism gone. DO IT!

    Comment by Greg Lay -

  5. Of course people are going to be upset about what has happened, and rightly so. But if the people in charge take responsibility for it and don\’t attempt to wiggle away from the responsibility, then in the end they can garner even more respect. But it does require taking responsibility and then taking action to address the problem. And it will take time for those who are up in arms to get back on board.

    Comment by Dave -

  6. I wish all sports leagues were more up front with how they deal with inferior officials. I watched a Dodger/DBack game today on tv. The Dodgers fielded an infield ground, threw to second base to nab the runner approaching from first. The problem is, the Dodger 2nd baseman was at least three feet off the bag when he caught the ball. The umpire was on top of the play. It was played in LA and the Diamondbacks leading 8-2 at the time, giving the impression the ump was favoring the losing team. AZ hung on to win, 8-7.
    Bad officiating like that just makes me a little less of a fan. However, if I knew the league somehow scolded or instructed bad play calling, it would make me feel a bit better, especially considering the gambling issue with the NBA official going on. I doubt he is the only ump/official guilty of this infraction.
    But when you see it with your own eyes and never hear a word from the league, you just assume they do not do a thing.

    Comment by Chandler Auto Insurance, Car, Home Owner Insurance -

  7. Mark,I\’m a chinese student,I always watch the NBA through the abc station,but you know,I just can do this things in me free time,could you give me a suggestion how can I do to know most of the information.
    thanks

    Comment by Jeffer ZW -

  8. Sue the league for all of your fines for criticizing the refs! I know it is probably chump change to you, but probably even sweeter justice by rubbing Stern\’s nose in it. I\’d say you had a legitimate case!

    Comment by Brett -

  9. Mark:

    Love the \”law of big numbers.\” Now there\’s name (and rationale) for one of my ongoing challenges.

    Steve

    Comment by steve griffith -

  10. So will you be looking for compensation for the fines handed down to you for speaking your mind on the poor officiating in the finals against the heat, seeing how Donaghy was part of that officiating team. I understand the league doesn\’t want people bad mouthing the officials but if you were right the something should be done at least as a gesture of good faith, agreed?

    Comment by Frank Gibson -

  11. Two decent articles on the affair- one from Ray Ratto of the SF chronicle, and one from Steve Aschburner of AOL sports.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/07/25/SPGOUR6GOA1.DTL

    http://sports.aol.com/nba/story/_a/fixing-the-fix/20070724202109990001

    Comment by Ryan -

  12. Stern should have suspended the Ref based on his personal troubles (12 visits from the Police, etc…) The guy was out of control, and the NBA did nothing. I believe Stern is at risk here- his is the commish!

    Comment by DaveO -

  13. Did you catch Stern\’s News conference? He is so predictable, it\’s not even humorous anymore. He still insists this is a singular incident and a singular man doing the damage. Like I said before, he will continue to ignore the problem. He made it very clear that he has no intention of doing ANY kind of investigation to see who else might be involved – players, other refs, etc.

    Mark, if this were my team in the league, I would\’ve already sold out or forced Stern out. You team is losing value on a daily basis because of this nightmare, and it\’s obvious no one will try to do anything to make it better. Stern is a joke and should be treated as such – a BAD joke. His news conference only reiterated my points earlier – he simply doesn\’t care enough to change anything – how the hell can he watch those tapes and say he does NOT see anything wrong? This proves incompetence, if nothing else.

    Comment by RICHARD WRIGHT -

  14. Mark
    If I am Stern and a owner I want to do something that will send a statement. First thing is lie detectors for refs. Why not- it\’s done all the time for top security guys (FBI, Secret Service etc) why not refs. Don\’t like it- you don\’t have to work here.

    It\’s Big Brotherish but the job demands it.

    Comment by jerry -

  15. Mark, long time reader first time writer…you are a great innovator and straight shooter, I get your comments…you won baby you won, you knew the emperor had no clothes and now we all know it too.

    last point…your fine money should be returned and by all accounts though it is a petty thought..Rasheeds 1.6 million should be addressed before the season begins…and on a lesser point all technicals that Donaghy gave out the last two years should be reevaluated and reimbursed.

    Again great job…don\’t ever stop speaking truth to power…we need more like you dude…a lot more.

    Comment by Bree -

  16. \”Calamity can be a catalyst for significant change.\”

    So when is your book coming out? Mark, your insight is inspiring. As a wise man said once, \”Right is its own defense\”.

    Comment by Joel Guzman -

  17. I get what your doing with this PR propaganda for the nba. but as a die hard mavs fan since the 80\’s, and getting ulcers in my stomach when i was a kid because we got our asses kicked every year by the showtime lakers, i\’m pissed…. i want my f*****g trophy back from the heat!!! what was the odds in vegas when we were up 2-0 in the series? anyone who betted on miami would have made alot of money… who\’s to say that the ref didn\’t get a friend or family member or accomplices that the nba has no idea he has ties with to wager for him? maybe i am a little bias towards the mavs but come one.. games 3-4-5-6 was obvious who the refs wanted to win. the fouls they were calling for Dwayne Paid, oh excuse me Wade, with the game on the line, and not just a game but a championship game to determine the leagues best team, they wanted to call fouls not for both teams but for miami\’s good fortune, instead of letting them play the way the game is meant to be played, physical basketball. free throws play an important role in the last two minutes of games. a lot of free throws are attempted. who is to say that the refs or even players for that matter aren\’t trying to cover point spreads.. so go on with your propaganda bullshit for the nba, as a die hard mavs fan i know you\’re somewhere with a bottle of whiskey screaming \”them c*ck-s**king motherf******s stole my trophy\”

    Comment by brian -

  18. Mr Mark Cuban,

    Read the book \”Freakonomics\” Mark and you will realize that gambling in sports is very rampant, its the human way. One word incentives!!!!!! Mr, Stern is blind.

    Comment by mark Krend -

  19. Anyone who alludes to the law of big numbers to explain the range of events that comprise an NBA season, surely must be familiar with uncertainty and chaos theory, and realize that the effort to identify patterns that mark dirty NBA refs may be a more compelling New Age entertainment than the game of professional basketball.

    Comment by mendy rudolph -

  20. Of course he can\’t say \”I told you so.\” Mr. Cuban has a vested interest in seeing the NBA come out of this as unscathed as possible. As a season ticket holder of an NBA team, I personally feel violated and cheated. I truly hope this is limited to one referee who was having some serious problems.

    Comment by Spencer Ferguson -

  21. This is a message to let you know that this post was featured on Comcast Sportsnet\’s Washington Post Live on Tuesday, July 24. Thank you for providing us with some great content!

    Comment by littles -

  22. This whole story (Donaghy) is amazing stuffRead the fine detailshe was betting the over/under linenot the side bets on winners/losers: The only thing he COULD control was the point totals. This guys so guilty (and whomever else he\’s going to drop a dime on) its going to bring down the entire league. And, for those of you who say all press is good press. Think again. You\’re talking about the INTEGRITY of the game. People want to know they\’re watching something that doesn\’t have a preconceived outcome.

    This leagues been so dirty for so many years and so controlled that its only second to Professional Wrestling.

    Stern OUT.bring in Vince McMahan

    Comment by KB -

  23. In light of this scandal, all refs should be subjected to lie detector tests to determine:
    1. Were they aware of what Donaghy was doing?
    2. Have they ever bet on an NBA or college game ?
    3. Have they ever knowingly altered the outcome of a game?

    Comment by Ed from Ossining -

  24. The one bad apple theory is as lame and as fake as the lone gunman theory. Corporations, sports leagues, politics and everything else in the world are social environments continually in flux. To think that one person can screw it up is at best confusion and at worst an outright lie. It takes a village, suckers. In the case of the NBA, corruption starts at the top and works its way down. If you think Donaghy is the only ref — or suit, I might add — to do this, please pass me whatever you are huffing. And then pass it to the naked shorters of the world.

    By the way Mark, this might have been a classy post, but it was spineless to the extreme. I can\’t understand how you can be outspoken when no one needs you to be, then a company man parroting the party line when everyone needs you to be something else. Weak sauce, dude.

    Comment by Scott -

  25. Mark -
    Thank you for your voice and determination to be heard. Once again, you have found yourself at the forefront of an issue that will be a catalyst for change in your industry. The accountability in NBA officiating that you\’ve been asking for over the last several years could have helped avoid this fiasco. I encourage you to continue demanding change and improvement in the operation of the league in which you share ownership.Your leadership and vision, which will help the NBA work through this difficult period and grow stronger from it.

    Comment by Hank Wendorf -

  26. Well said, Mark.

    From my experience and observations organizations that leave themselves open to criticism from its stakeholders and respond accordingly end up stronger in the end. The NBA has not allowed this to take place in the past and now has this situations on its hands. Had the NBA actually dealt with legitimate criticism and concerns, the league would not be dealing with this situation – at least at this high of a level.

    Mark, I hope you push the league to adopt a culture of openness that will force the league to deal with it problems in a way better than any amount of oversight boards could do. It will improve the product on the court and make fans happier.

    Comment by Skip -

  27. I never understood why Bruce Bowen was allowed to get away with so much, and why he was not suspended a game for his dirty play.

    I was thinking back to this year\’s playoffs when he intentionally kicked Amare Stoudamire in the achilles tendon as Amare was going up, an incredibly dirty play that could have resulted in Stoudamire coming down wrong and injuring his ankle or knee.

    I couldn\’t remember what game in the series it was, so I looked it up. Game 2. The game preceding the fixed game 3 for the Spurs.

    According to ESPN\’s report:

    \”Stu Jackson, the league\’s executive vice president for basketball operations, reviewed the play and determined no action was necessary.\”

    I\’m not making any accusations, I just remember I had a hard time understanding why Bowen, with a history of dirty play, was not suspended for such a dangerous play against one of the league\’s marquee players. It was a play that had more injury potential than just punching a guy in the nuts, and the league…did…nothing… not even a fine.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs2007/news/story?id=2866789

    Comment by Ryan -

  28. As the rules go: NBA players get a tech for as much as complaining about a \”call\” from a ref.

    Maybe they should rethink this rule and ad instant replay.

    Comment by maggie -

  29. I guess David Stern can say that maybe Mark\’s independent referee monitoring has hurt the league. I applaud you, Mark, for your franks comments about this investigation.

    Comment by Mitch -

  30. Mark,

    Come on man…Your response was totally predicated on the thought that if the negativity towards the NBA continues, it is gonna hurt your investment in the Mav\’s…..

    I expect more from you…..You don\’t need that money! Step up to the plate, and make a difference for the future of the NBA, this is an opportunity to clean up the league, and take it back to making basketball the main thing. Create a positive legacy!

    Comment by J Lange -

  31. Mark….do you want me to call Tim Russert, he\’ll nail Stern to death!

    Comment by Brad -

  32. Looks like we have an answer to the question of who investigated Donaghy 2 years ago employing a private investigator: Surprise! It was the league office!

    From today\’s NY Times:

    \”An eight-page pamphlet distributed by the National Basketball Association to its referees before last season delineates a wide range of prohibitions against various forms of gambling, including rules that led the league to investigate the referee Tim Donaghy two years ago.\”

    So the guy was known to be suspicious for at least 2 years. If we believe the Denver Post report, the league office was notified that the FBI was investigating him this past january for rigging games.

    Even a cursory look at games he has officiated has shown anomalies. You would think the league would have been watching this guy closely, watching how the betting lines moved on games he officiated in (indicating large sums of money being placed on one particular team and/or on the over/under), watched his use of technical fouls and who they were called on, and watched every call (and non-call) very closely.

    Instead they assigned him to 60 odd games in 2005-2006, 60 odd games in 2006-2007, and 20 playoff games during that two year span, and game 3 of the de facto 2007 NBA finals between the Suns and Spurs, which he swung to beat the point spread for the Spurs.

    Wow. That takes some serious balls.

    Comment by Ryan -

  33. Mark Cuban should be Commissioner. Mark Cuban saved the Mavericks and made them my second favorite team. The Cavaliers are my hometeam. Buy the Indians not the Cubs! David Stern can\’t \”fix\” the NBA

    Comment by Geoffrey L Boyle -

  34. Mark-

    I wish you were the commissioner of the NBA. That would be awesome.

    1) Get rid of the frozen envelope
    2) 4 years of college is mandatory to qualify for the NBA
    3) Character matters
    4) Safeguards against corruption.

    Comment by Matt Feliksa -

  35. Mark

    Stern\’s smartest guy in the room mentality allowed this to happen. He must go, he must go by the end of the week. The current referee system must change. All existing NBA referees should be terminated immediately, as well as their supervisors in the league office. What does it say about a system where a referee who is fixing games doesn\’t stand out more. Yes he is number 1 in technical fouls, but only 3 or 4 in fouls called. 2006 Finals were crushing in that you could see the blatant nature of the system gone amok, this year it seemed more subtle or was it that I have just gotten used to the league\’s incompetence and told myself it was \”normal\”. This league should be the best it can be, for that it needs a new commissioner, with a new approach who is not protecting his \”legacy\”, Mark if you could be the new commissioner you have a chance at getting this thing turned around, sadly, our NBA is now the modern day TITANIC, and Donaghy is just that visible tip of the iceberg.

    Comment by Robert Roberts -

  36. RE: \’I have complete confidence that David Stern..\’

    yeah right Mark, great statement, but I think you were truly grinning ear to ear when you said that. At least you took the high road!

    Comment by Brad -

  37. There must be too many comments here, becuz no one seems to actually read them, and they simply repeat the same idea.

    Hello? Bueller? Bueller?

    Mark Cuban, of all people, does not think Stern has done a good job. He is not \”letting Stern off the hook\”. I am sure Mark has worked hard behind the scenes for a change, and has been stymied by the other owners who are out of touch with the league.

    What choice does he have but to profess confidence in Kommissar Stern publicly?

    I mean, he can\’t sell the team now anyway- by himself, he can\’t get rid of Stern- all he can do is hope that the scandal gets bigger, that other refs become fingered (if not people in the league office itself) and that forces the owners heads out of the ground to actually create sweeping reform of the league.

    With decent officiating, the NBA is a quality product. Anyone with an ounce of common sense and basketball knowledge knows that Stern is the number one problem here for allowing the nonsense to continue.

    If you care about pro basketball, you should hope the scandal gets much bigger, and Stern can\’t play his \”one bad apple\” card. You better believe Stern is trying to get some pressure on the FBI to keep dangerous information quiet (like the report in the Denver Post that the league was made aware of the Donaghy investigation in January). His ass is on the line. And gee, guess what? Yesterday, two new \”sources\” disputed the Denver Post report, saying the league learned after the Finals.

    Also- who hired the private investiagator 18 months ago? Was it the NBA? Did they have suspicions of Donaghy that long ago, and still gave him 60 odd games to ref this year?

    These are the questions that need to be asked.

    Comment by Ryan -

  38. \”Stronger and Better???\” You have to be kidding. Did the Black Sox of 1919, Pete Rose gambling or the current steroid crisis make baseball stronger or better? Of course not. Any time the integrity of the game is compromised, the game is WEAKENED and WORSE.

    Stern is not likely to do anything quickl or transparently. Every suspicison now has \”proof\” that the league is dirty. My guess is that you have hundreds of millions of equity in an NBA franchise you have to protect. The value of all NBA franchises is threatened if the integrity of the game is seriously questioned. And it now is. Probably a bad idea to show your broadcast.com ties to Professional Wrestling.

    Stern is part of the problem, you of all people shouldn\’t be protecting him on the issue of \”officiating problems.\”

    Comment by Mike Meyer -

  39. Jerry Colangelo for NBA commissioner!

    Comment by Mike -

  40. Hey Mark,

    Nice words, but I\’m not sure if we\’ll ever see the end of corruption in America. For goodness sakes, our government is based on capitalism. Integrity takes a backseat…just look at President Bush. This problem is way bigger than basketball.

    BTW Good luck on the UFL…Over here at PointShavers.com, we don\’t think you have a chance…but maybe you\’ll surprise us.

    I\’ll be back later.
    K-Luck

    Comment by K-Luck -

  41. Mark,

    Right on the money. In the Army, we say \”Shifts happen.\” How we deal with them is what ultimately defines us as leaders. Thanks for taking the high road, my man! Hooah!

    Comment by Tom Magness -

  42. Mark,

    Was this a part of your officials rating system you designed? # of fouls called per minute, blocks vs. charges, and the amount of cash likely to be on the home dogs?

    In all seriousness, this is way bigger than what you made it out to be. There\’s a reason why rule 21-d is up in every MLB clubhouse: gambling puts the sanctity of the game, and those associated with it on the line. It\’s like buying a car a cracked engine block. And yes, rule 21-d mentions umpires.

    Comment by Uh..... -

  43. MARK I WOULD LIKE FOR YOU TO GET DAVID STERNS JOB AND BECOME THE NBA COMISH….. THIS SCANDAL OF THE REFS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE AND YOU HAVE BEEN SCEAMING THIS FOR YEARS. COME ON GUYS LETS PETTITION FOR CUBAN FOR COMISH AND GIVE THIS LEAGE A B-12 SHOT

    Comment by vancarlus tennison -

  44. Mark, that was a very gracious post. But I don\’t trust David Stern. I can see only one thing he can do to bring credibility to the NBA — resign.

    Comment by WannabeAnglican -

  45. Why is it that no one seems completely pissed off about this? Stern has created this mess by continually ignoring the problem his \”officials\” have created. 2006 Finals was a perfect example, and had it not been for the FBI, Stern would have continued to ignore it. I say not only did he ignore the problem, he helped create it, and not only did he do that, he helped sustain it. He has made sure the better players go to the TV rich markets, in free agency and the draft (this year excluded, probably because he knew the FBI was watching). When Mark stared down Stern in the Finals, and said \”Your league is rigged!!\”, I prayed a grateful prayer that someone had FINALLY said something.

    No matter what happens from here on out, if Stern is running your league, you can not expect to be considered a competetive league. The games are choreographed and decided ahead of time, and Stern is your Vince MCMahon. How long have we, as fans, been screaming about these things without being heard? Only Cuban has acknowledged these problems, and they fine him crazy money for expressing it.

    If this league is ever to be considered a legitimate \”sport\” again, they will banish David Stern to work ringside calling Power Drops.

    The owners might feel they owe Stern, since he has made them so much money, and they probably do not care that this \”league\” is a laughingstock, as long as they are making money, and it\’s for this reason that I will not pay any money to see anymore NBA games, as long as Stern is around, because if I wanna live in a fantasy world, I would prefer to go to EuroDisney.

    All these years of investing my money, time & passion are for naught, and I will no longer play the fool.

    Comment by RICHARD WRIGHT -

  46. Noble words…from the heart and well intended. But history has shown that Stern will do what\’s good for the bottom line in addressing this particular problem and nothing more. He still has plenty of other fish to fry beyond \”people, processes and transparency\”. How about making the game watchable?

    Comment by DukeofWagner -

  47. Wes- I agree with you on the disproportionate rulings on Horry and Carmelo. I also couldn\’t believe how the league did virtually nothing to Bowen for his repeated cheap shots- the guy clearly tries to injure opposing players with his constant stepping underneath their jumpshot, and everyone knows it- yet the league office (Stern and idiot Stu Jackson) refused to do anything about it. And then Bowen delivers an obvious dirty knee right to the groin of Nash in game 3 Suns Spurs, and again- nothing.

    When Kobe did his dirty stuff by hitting guys in the face on his follow thru, he was disciplined (correctly), but Bowen gets a free pass- it\’s just weird, because I don\’t think the league office would have any special affinity for San Antonio. I just attribute it to general incompetence.

    Comment by Ryan -

  48. Wow- Foxsports gives some of the key stats for referees. As a long time NBA watcher, if you had asked me to name crooked refs, Knick Bavetta would be at the top of the list. Well, he is #1 in fouling players out, #1 in most personal fouls called, #4 in most free throws attempted per game. He doesn\’t show up as being in the top 5 for technical fouls called, though.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/7047984

    It\’s funny how ESPN trots out some handicapper who claims that it would be too hard to fix a game for one team or the other, and that Donaghy and his brethren would just fix the over or under. Ridiculous. If you call phantom fouls on key players, they don\’t get to play many minutes, and you have drastically altered the game without even necessarily fouling them out (witness Amare Stoudamire\’s foul trouble in game 3 suns-spurs.)

    You gotta love this quote from Shaq after a game refereed by Donaghy 3 years ago (so of course the fix wasn\’t in, because Stern says it was only the last year or two) from the LA Times, July 21:

    \”In April 2004, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson complained about two quick foul calls in an important late-season game against Sacramento in which Donaghy was one of the referees. Both calls were against then-Lakers center Shaquille O\’Neal. O\’Neal was largely ineffective in the game, which the Lakers lost, because of foul trouble and played 31 minutes, a low for him at the time.

    Afterward, Jackson said he had approached Donaghy during the game and told him: \”If you don\’t know enough to [let them] play through that stuff, you\’re just eliminating Shaq from the game. You don\’t want to take him out of the game. You don\’t want to make this game different from what it should be.\”

    O\’Neal would only say at the time that the game was \’predetermined,\’ presumably by the referees.\”

    Comment by Ryan -

  49. I have been a fan of the Mavs (like many of you) since the 80\’s. There were bad calls then, just like there are bad calls today. There have been corrupt officiating in all sports. If you think this will stop because of this news, then you are naive.

    I have seen many of my recent Mavs fans allude to bad calls within a game that were either questionable calls (one\’s that could go either way) or outright fouls by the Mavs. They automatically invoke the \”conspiracy\” defense. Now, there are some blatently bad calls, most of the time they are offset by blatently bad calls on the opposite side. However, due to timing and the flow of the game, one of the calls could have a dramatic affect on the outcome.

    What is most interesting to me is that over the past 5 years, I have also watched college bball and the refs seem to make fewer bad calls. There are some exceptions such as Duke has a tendency to have fewer bad calls. Sean May in 2005 got a lot of calls on his way to dominating the 2005 championship with UNC. But overall, the officiating seems to be better in college. If this is true, you had to know that some kind of corruption was happening in the NBA. How can the \”best of the best\” officials as we are continually told, make more bad calls than those in college?

    Where do we go from here? Obviously the officials in the pro game are going to continue to improve as Mark pointed out. This story will not die easily, it will continue to simmer beneath the surface and brought up every time someone thinks they have been cheated. But this is not a new occurence. This has been happening for years now already. Thus, it will not hurt the pro game. However, for many of us, this story just confirmed what we already knew. Now with the additional scrutiny by the feds coming in, will the mob switch their focus more on the college game? There is a great deal of money to be made in the tourney.

    Now on to Ed Rush. Anyone remember when Ed came on TV and \”explained\” a sample of the bad calls that were submitted by the teams for review. During this interview, he explained how every call that is challenged by the teams is looked at and reviewed instantly. He assured us that every call was being reviewed even while the games were still in progress. If this was even close to being true, this incident would have been discovered much sooner. As many of you have stated, I would not be surprised to find the corruption goes beyond the refs.

    Everyone is talking about the Spurs Suns series last year and mention the Joey Crawford incident. The real crime in that series is what happened to Amare Staudamire and Shawn Marion in comparison to Robert Horry intentionally threw Steve Nash to the ground after the game was already decided. It could have ended Steve Nash\’s career and Horry (a bit player) gets two games while the Suns stars are penalized one game each. Anyone knows that Horry should have been suspended for the entire playoffs and fined. Anyone who disagrees with me, would change their tune if the Suns had sent Kurt Thomas to body slam Tim Duncan at the end of the game. Also, by the way, every Spur would have flown off the bench at least for two steps if it happened. Don\’t get me wrong, I am not a Steve Nash fan, (in fact, I take Cuban\’s side in deciding not to resign him). I am not trying to say the league favors the Spurs either, just that the penalties don\’t even come close to fitting the crime. It makes one wonder what was the brass in the league was actually thinking. What was there reasoning they put out? The letter of the law states that one cannot step off the bench, thus the game suspension. Ok, I might buy that, but then to only suspend Horry for two games. Carmello Anthony, a much more respected athelete than Horry got 16 games for punching another player. You are telling me it is 8 times worse to punch a player than throw a much smaller (fragile) player to the floor. Give me a break.

    This corruption is just the tip of the iceberg guys. We need to clean house. Is there a reason we need the HQ of the NBA to be in NYC? How about Montana or Iowa away from the politicians and the mob. Just a thought or two :)

    Comment by Wes -

  50. Stern needs to be fired. He has lost control of the players and now the referees. The only way for the NBA to regain its integrity is an overhaul much like baseball did after the blacksox scandal of 1919.

    Comment by Russ Edlin -

  51. \”I have complete confidence that David Stern and Adam Silver will do just that and the NBA and our officiating will be all the stronger for it.\”

    Sorry, Mark, but David Stern HAS GOT TO GO! This happened on his watch. You and many others in the NBA brought this bad officiating to his attention many times. The arrogant David Stern backed the corrupt officiating and as a result the fans and many of the players have NO confidence in David Stern. If the league\’s luster and integrity are to be restored, then it has to start at the top and that means Stern goes bye bye.

    By the way, I live in the Phoenix area and was horrified to see the bad officiating going on during the playoff games with the Suns vs. the Spurs. I\’m never going to spend another cent on anything related to the NBA until Stern is gone and the corrupt officials involved are not just fired but prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. You and the rest of the NBA team owners owe that to the fans and nothing short of Stern\’s dismissal will suffice.

    Comment by Joe Caparoni -

  52. We both know you just completely took the high road on this issue. This is just the first of many dominoes that are going to fall and reveal a whole lot more corruption than we the fan know about. I just wonder how much you know already, I mean, you were a witness to the 06 NBA finals. What possible explanation could the league have given you, and how soon is it going to be until Bennett Salvatore\’s name comes out as another ref who was playing the point spread? The NBA is going to lose a whole lot of fans because of this, but if they are smart, this really could be what the NBA needed in order to change for the better. As a Mavs fan, I would like to thank you for taking the high road, no need for an \”I told you so\” , there will be plenty of that after the shit really hits the fan.

    Comment by Derek -

  53. The only question I can think of is is it too late? Even if David Stern and the rest of the league takes measure of the situation, brings in the owners and players, works out some form to monitor calls like the NFL, etc., will the casual fans still trust the league?

    Much like with athlete scandals, it\’s really sad that one bad apple is going to tarnish EVERYONE. With all this coverage on Tim, I wonder if there are any refs out there doing some nice charity work this summer, or giving back to the community? Who knows — certainly sites like ESPN won\’t cover it unless it brings in a few thousand visitors.

    Comment by Brendon Lindsey -

  54. Three words: class action lawsuit.

    You know it\’s coming.

    Comment by Chris Martin -

  55. Mark

    Very diplomatic response to a scandal that has been years in the making. No need to point out all of the questionable incidences from the past (ie, Suns-Spurs 2007, Mavs-Heat 2006,etc). If the NBA doesn\’t take immediate action to correct a problem that fans have been weary of for years, it will be nothing more than the WWE. I guess we may already be at that point. Wade did get some Vince McMahon-like calls last season.

    Comment by Andrew -

  56. The league claims they weren\’t informed of the Donaghy investigation until after the NBA finals… yet someone hired a private investigator 18 months ago who was asking questions of Donaghy\’s neighbors about his gambling habits. Who might that someone have been?

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2945840

    People- Mark can\’t sell the Mavericks now. The stock is obviously at a low. The best he can do is try to get some sense into the heads of the other owners and get radical change in the management of the league. I am cynical, but it could happen.

    Comment by Ryan -

  57. This scandal is why no one is buying the product the NBA is selling: most of us knew something was rotten with the officiating (and personnel for that matter) in the NBA back in the late 1990s; whether it was incompetence or intentional isn\’t really the point. Most of America was intelligent enough to stop watching around that time… now the rest of the country should follow suit (for all of you who don\’t know, college basketball is better anyway: you can see athletes who are well coached play as team and actually care about whether they win or not, despite getting paid around only $30-40k/year in scholarship money).

    Mark, sad as this is to say, you should just buy the Cubs and move onto a sport that has mostly intelligible, though hormonally enhanced, athletes and integrity in its officiating. As an added bonus, you would also be able to leave the home of the most disgustingly overpriced real estate and women in the United States for Chicago. Trust me, having been to both places, this is a significant upgrade despite the crappy weather. If not, have fun owning intellectual and real property in a business which, in my opinion, is about as credible and scrupulous as the WWE. Actually, I would argue that the NBA is worse because at least the WWE fixes outcomes for viewer enjoyment whereas the NBA appears to have at least one ref fixing outcomes for his own personal gain.

    My two cents: Donaghy probably isn\’t the only one. He\’s hired a lawyer familiar with representing whistleblowers for a reason (i.e. he is going to blow the proverbial whistle on someone or something, thus implying he is just the tip of a very dirty iceberg). Enjoy this scandal, I hope against all hope that this relegates the NBA (or at least its leadership) to a position lower on the totem pole than even Hockey or Curling, no matter how unlikely that serendipitous result may be.

    Comment by Justin -

  58. Have you asked for a refund from the Commish? Seems he owes you a few hundred grand…

    Comment by Tony -

  59. David Stern was so quick to fine others for complaining about the refs. Now, Stern needs to be fined for allowing the crooked ref to taint the game.

    Comment by Kurt -

  60. Good post by Mark. However, I must say that the average fan has been grumbling about horrible officiating for many seasons now. For me, the final straw was the horrible calls for Dwayne Wade against the Mavs. It was so blatently obvious. My response as a consumer was to drop NBA League Pass. This new revelation that an NBA ref was in the pocket of the mob only reaffirmed my decsion to drop League Pass. The NBA is in serious need of new leadership and owners with vision and leadership like Mark Cuban only get the ire and disdain from Dictator Stern. I will not spend one dime on the NBA until Stern is removed as the head of the NBA. I am confident that there are thousands upon thousands of other NBA fans who feel the same way. I want my NBA back.

    Comment by Abe -

  61. Did anyone read the story by Chris Sheridan on ESPN.com today, that was one of the lead stories for maybe an hour or two before being moved to the NBA page?

    Chris details the news reports to date, namely:

    the NBA was informed about the investigation of Donaghy in JANUARY, and yet not only continued to let him referee games, but rewarded him with game 3 of the de facto NBA Finals between the Suns and Spurs, which he swung (along with his partner Eddie Rush, in my opinion) to the Spurs.

    Not only was the league notified this guy was being investigated, but he led the league in technical fouls, calling 20 more than the next closest ref. Nothing suspicious here, folks, move along now…

    He was also 2nd in fouling players out, something that obviously has a huge impact on games, and was 3rd in calling for foul shots. My question is, which refs are number 1 and 2?

    Here is Chris Sheridan\’s excellent summary:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=2945745&name=sheridan_chris

    Mark, your instincts were dead on after the miami heat finals debacle… I\’m sorry you didn\’t get out then. Some people who comment here don\’t seem to understand that you have been pushing for referee (and commissioner) accountability for years, but your fellow owners have their heads so far up their asses you had your hands tied. It\’s hard for me to imagine how Stern can keep his job after this, much less whoever works in the officiating office- they ought to fire every single manager over there. I mean, these guys weren\’t even subtle or smooth about it- they have just had full protection from the commissioner to manipulate the outcome of games. I mean, you know the guy is being investigating for rigging games, and you assign him a pivotal game in what everyone knew was the NBA finals??? Incredible, the balls on these people.

    That said, I don\’t think the other owners have enough sense to fire Stern and drastically revamp the officiating office. Maybe when they start losing a lot of money…

    Good luck with everything.

    Comment by Ryan -

  62. Hey Mark–I think you should demand a refund of all fines assessed to you by the NBA for complaining about officials–then donate all the cash to Gamblers Anonymous!

    Comment by Bob -

  63. TIP OF THE ICEBERG – I hope that this is truely the CATALYST to shake up the officiating in the NBA! The NBA referees are by far the worst officals in major league sports. Their calls have NO relation to reality — their intent is to impose their agenda on the game. I have frequently turned off NBA games out of frustration with the referees abysmal calls. No NBA referee has ever called Shaq when he throws his left elbow EVERY time he pivots left to the basket! The NBA refs may not ALL be in the pay of the Mafia, but that is not apparent from their really weird and biased foul calls. I think that this is only the tip of the iceberg and that more NBA refs will be found guilty of biased calling, for whatever reasons. The very best games this season were the NBA Summer League games, they were all called realistically by referees-in-training. DAVID STERN — fire ALL the regular NBA refs and replace them with the trainees – they call a much better and more realistic game! I also think that the regular NBA refs will be given some food for thought when their buddy, Tim Dohaghy, meets up with his Mafia buddies in prison.

    Comment by Bill in McKinney -

  64. It must have been a hard couple of days thinking and stewing about this matter from the perspective of a owner and fan. I don\’t envy your position (well, okay, I do…but just a little less so).
    The quality of the NBA\’s total product quality, as well as your own team\’s, would have to take precedence over any squabbles within the ranks. These quality issues are now at the forefront, the fans worst fears have come true, and a serious impediment to the legitimacy of the league has emerged. Because of this fear, the fans sympathized or empathized with you in your various verbal jousts with the league. I hope we can continue to do so by seeing you organize a movement with the other owners to fix this horrendous problem. I doubt it begins or ends with Donaghy, but whatever the case, more rigorous and consistent standards need to be devised for officiating. If it\’s (insert infraction here) for (insert mediocre player here), it should be for (insert star here). If a more stringent consistency in officiating were achieved, finding anomalies within the system would be much easier to spot and deal with.

    Comment by Bing Flood -

  65. MC: I\’m a huge fan. This is a well articulated and classy response. Thank you.

    Comment by Eddy -

  66. Well Mark, I guess it was bound to happen. Referees are humans and deal with temptations like the rest of us. A well written note of support.

    Comment by Frank -

  67. I left the NBA as a fan back during the Jordan years because of the \”star/big market\” treatment the refs were giving the game. I\’m glad I did. The NBA has a chance to pull a lot of former fans in the U.S. back if they focus on the core problem and not just the PR problem.

    Comment by Charlie -

  68. The thing is, Mark, the NBA has a definite problem here. Because nobody I talked to today about this was surprised in the least. Surprised that he got caught, maybe. But it\’s been the perception among a lot of people that refs have been \”controlling\” the games due to their own biases or the league\’s desires for years.

    I remember a series-deciding finals game after Jordan came back a few years ago, where he was the \”hero\”, and was lauded. But my perception was exactly the opposite. In that game, if he\’d been any other player and played the way he did, he\’d have fouled out. Or if he\’d been ref\’d like any other player, as good as he was he\’d have backed off. Either way it would have changed the game tremendously. Now, Jordan wasn\’t a dirty player by any means. But in an important playoff game, do you really believe that he wouldn\’t use the knowledge that barring eye-gougeing someone, he\’s not fouling out?

    And honestly, there\’s not a huge step from \’treating the stars specially because that\’s what the league thinks its viewers want to see\’ to \’let\’s call a few fouls to manage the point spread or the over-under\’. They\’re just different levels of the same dishonesty.

    Comment by Skip -

  69. Mark,
    I\’m glad to see you saying that you believe the right steps will be taken to make this an opportunity to improve the league. I wish I felt that way. It seems to me that Mr. Stern will do everything possible to downplay the significance of this in order to try and protect the league\’s reputation which is already SO tarnished that trying to make people forget how serious this is can only make it worse. The public cares less about the NBA than ever before. TV ratings continue to decline.
    \”Our television viewing [internationally] and our relationship with our fans has never been better,\” David Stern says. \”Our sponsorship list is expanding with respect to major international consumer-product companies who want to reach their audiences through the NBA.\”
    Isn\’t this indicative of the problem? Right now the NBA is relying on the unparalleled levels of basketball related marketing that occurs now. Corporate sponsors make household names out of more players than ever, yet at the same time less and less people here in the U.S. actually watch (or care about) the game. Perhaps this is all just part of the globalization of the league. Fine, I can understand that. But just because the rest of the world is currently drawn in by mass media attention to professional basketball does not mean that they will continue to support a league whose play has become so stagnant.
    I sincerely hope the league doesn\’t try and sweep this scandal under the rug, because we all know that nothing creates attention like controversy. This one could be utilized to properly bring the league back to the prominence it once had.

    Comment by Lawrence -

  70. Mark, you cant have it both ways. You cant bang the drums for years that there is a widespread ref problem and now that the intregrity of the whole league is at stake,say this is an exception to the rule? This reminds me of the Baseball owners pleading igorance on steroids. Anyone with a brain knows something has always be going in NBA. Every player is officiated differently. If you looked at Jordan,you were tagged with a foul,and MJ was allowed to reach around on every defensive play,much like Olajuwon was. Shaq is allowed to charge on every offensive possession. There were the same moves that confined Daryl Dawkins to the bench with 6 fouls in the first 5 minutes of every game. Players like flopping,and the refs acting like its real,reminds me a lot of professional wrestling. In truth the NBA lies somewhere between a true sport and the phony world of professional wrestling.
    I love the NBA,its my favorite team sport,but I am sickened every game by the officiating. The NBA has the greatest athletes and the most exciting games.
    The NBA needs to go back to basics and play basketball by the rules. This bullshit where a player just runs into the defender and the defender is called for a foul has got to end. It simply adds to the phoniness of the this once great sport. Every player should officiated the same,no matter his status.
    What do you expect the officials to do? Its a top down problem,just like at Enron.

    Comment by jack Wilson -

  71. This story is crazy. I think there are too many lawsuits in our country, but, if I was a suns fan, I would file a lawsuit against the nba, for a full refund of my playoff tickets. I wonder if you bet the suns in game 3 against the spurs, could you hold the n.b.a. liable?

    mark- sell the mavs and buy the cubs, PLEASE!

    Comment by Jack -

  72. It is not surprising that this would happen in the NBA where the game officials have been led to believe that they are immune from criticism. The actions of Mr. Stern over the years have covered up inadequacies and poor performance for years by the refs. The code of conduct amongst the refs seems to be \”never correct a fellow ref\”, even when the call is obviously wrong. I have attended many NBA games in the past and was always mystified how the mid-court official could call a reach in foul on a play along the baseline when the baseline official is two feet from the action and sees nothing wrong. Does the baseline ref go to the other ref and ask \”what the hell are you calling?\” no way. In the NBA no one makes an incorrect call.
    Well. I am mystified no longer. Now the only mystery is how many others were in the same boat, or knew what was happening with this ref and turned their backs?
    David Stern has created a situation that will be difficult for him to explain away, but I\’m sure we will hear all sorts of platitudes and excuses. It is time for the NBA owners to protect their product and force Stern into an early retirement.

    Comment by Mike Genette -

  73. Mark: to address my post #23
    http://www.nypost.com/delonas/delonas.htm today\’s cartoon on page six…..I am sharing this with all my pacific ocean dwellers who would normally not see this. Enjoy!

    Comment by Mary Clemente -

  74. Today\’s NYP: The disgraced ref is said to be set to spill all – threatening to bring down anyone and everyone with him, sources said. He\’ll be naming names of other refs, coaches, players and game \”validators,\” who sit unobtrusively in the stands to review calls on the court, the source said.

    Comment by Mary Clemente -

  75. Mark: Why on earth would Mr. Stern bite the hand that feeds him? We always know the answers to our own questions. We just need a second opinion to validate the answer.

    Comment by Mary Clemente -

  76. Mark,i\’m a fan of you, of course i\’m a fan of maverick.I love Maverick, i love nba , but i\’m a chinese student,i cannot know most information of NBA , of your team.Could you give me a hand to let me know the news or information quickly and detailed!

    thanks

    Comment by Jeffer ZW -

  77. No surprise a ref got in over his head with illegal gambling. Why is it so obvious to me but sooo ignorant to the commissioner that you have to legalize sports betting to regulate it and keep tabs on unusual betting. Keep it illegal and allow the mob to control it and you now see what happens.

    By the way, the NBA officiating is horrible. Evidence players traveling on almost every possession. I love basketball but I cannot watch the crap the NBA puts out.

    Comment by Chuck -

  78. I\’ve said this for years to my buddies and I\’ll say it here. Anywhere you find big money, you\’ll find bad people trying to fill their boots. As such, I\’m not surprised about the news, nor do I think the NBA has suffered any kind of hit.

    Had this been a systemic problem such as those found in Italian soccer, it would have been a real problem. As it stands, this is nothing more than one person that couldn\’t avoid the temptation. The NBA couldn\’t stop him anymore than any other sports/business/educational institution can stop their misfits.

    Best,
    George

    Comment by AGORACOM -

  79. This comes just two months after the NY Times published a story about the Wolfers-Price paper on racial bias by NBA refs:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/02/sports/basketball/02refs.html?ex=1335758400&en=5b6d8daa57b0f8ac&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

    There\’s a great Mark Cuban quote in this story: \”Were all human. We all have our own prejudice. Thats the point of doing statistical analysis. It bears it out in this application, as in a thousand others.\”

    If statistical analysis could catch this kind of activity, why it didn\’t bring it to light two months ago. It is a way bigger deal that a ref is consciously rigging outcomes than that systematically, the ref corps is racially biased.

    Also, what are the limits of what statistical analysis can catch? If I were perpetrating this kind of scam, I would do it over the course of a whole season with a winning percentage of 60% rather than 50%. ESPN noted that he was one of the top refs in technical fouls and ejections. Could the \”real\” reason for the recent mandatory 1 game suspensions for too many technicals be seen as about the integrity of the game rather than promoting good player behavior?

    Comment by Brad Hutchings -

  80. Mark, you are correct that the NBA will take care of things like any major corporation or government (Watergate) type situation where the public trust is broken.

    But going with that line of thought, the CEO (David Stern) must step down. He\’s too damaged or at least the perception among the fans is that he\’s too closely tied to all these \”WWF\” type shenanigans.

    If the evidence against Donaghy is good, and it is true that Stern and the league met with this guy beforehand regarding his gambling problem, that will be enough.

    Mark, your\’re a brilliant guy. How does any organization that has lost the confidence of the public get it back? You clean house. And that starts at the top with David Stern.

    I know you can\’t lead the call for a new commissioner. But I\’ll bet (bad term now) significant dollars that by the end of this week, your fellow owners are talking about this.

    Stern going and being replaced with a figure of total trust (Paul Tagliabue as an interim guy?) really is the only way you\’ll have a shot at putting this issue to rest once and for all. If you keep Stern, you\’ll keep all his baggage.

    I\’ll predict the season starts next fall with a new commissioner. Think about it. It\’s the only good answer to this problem.

    Comment by paulpressey25 -

  81. I have been an NBA statistician for 17 years. For much of the past 10, I have felt that the officiating had something that was not quite right. It wasn\’t the \”star system,\” it was just something that wasn\’t quite right. I would often say that a particular crew seemed somewhat weak for a marquee-matchup game, only to be poo-pooed by my fellow statisticians.

    We now know that at least one NBA official attempted (and quite possibly succeded) in affecting the outcome of NBA games for financial gain. I would like to think that Tim is the only one, and I hope that the NBA will do everything in its power to ensure that is the case.

    However, it is clear to anyone who watches NBA games with any regularity that there are officials who do not like particular teams or players, and their calls (or more often, lack of calls) will now be magnified as never before. There are also too many officials who are prone to allowing the crowd to affect their calls.

    It is also clear that the NBA has officials who have not shown consistent improvement since joining the league, but those officials continue to remain in the league while other competent officals (NCAA, NBDL, WNBA) wait for their chance to go to the big show.

    Hopefully the NBA will use this debacle to clean house. Query the players and the coaching staffs for their opinions and compare that with the opinions of those people the NBA pays to sit in every NBA arena and evaluate the officials in each game. If an offical rates at the bottom of the rankings, they should be placed on some sort of action plan to improve their performance, just like you and I would in our jobs. If they continue to rank lowly, then they should be gone.

    This is the NBA\’s chance to show fans that the integrity of the game is the most important thing. More important than ratings; more important than revenues. If the integrity of the game is intact, ratings and revenues will take care of themselves.

    On a personal note to Mark, you have done more to improve officiating in the NBA during your tenure as Mavs owner than any other person in NBA history. Your constant demand for officiating excellence had been seen by many people as sour grapes. Maybe those same people will now realize that you were trying to fix a broken system before it affected the integrity of the game. Hopefully that will now happen.

    Comment by Statman -

  82. Sir:

    I echo earlier comments; I hope the league returns the fine to you along with a nice box of chocolates. Also, Mr. Stern might include a \”get out of jail free card\” for the next time he doesn\’t like your comments…

    Comment by James -

  83. Mr. Cuban with all respect, you are being too nice to David Stern and if anyone has a fish to fry it would be you know who after what happen in Miami, FL. My God, forget the Alamo, lets remember Tim Duncan who was thrown out by that ref this year who had an ax to grind in San Antonio. There are major problems in this Corporation and you should be stepping to the front Mr. Cuban, I didn\’t care for you as a Laker Fan but now you may have been right all along and that hurts me to say. Wesley Shanks

    Comment by Wes -

  84. A very classy post Mark. However, you are looking at this from the perspective of an owner, with a vested financial interest in a positive outcome. As a fan (a lifetime PHX fan), this kills me. I generally looked at every box score last year and tuned in for a few minutes before turning the remote over to my wife. I then stayed up late (living on East coast) for the playoffs, knowing that my 6-month old would make me pay early the next morning. Then came the the Spurs-Suns series. It was painful – but part of being a fan – until now. This changes everything. This makes the NHL and MLS, hell even Arena football, more viable entertainment options. Good luck digging out of this one, I\’m done with the NBA.

    Comment by SMente -

  85. Unlike some I am hopeful that other refs are involved. I would hope that some of the terrible officiating was the result of crime rather than incompetence. If its crime, then officiating has a chance to get better. If its incompetence, then we can\’t expect much improvement.

    Comment by Rob -

  86. There is no way that Donaghy is the only crooked ref- watch the footage from game 3 suns spurs, with Nash getting ridiculously hacked by two spurs right in front of Eddie Rush, who makes no call.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvkKdXLwt0U

    But we know what Stern\’s response will be. The entire media focus will be on the person of Donaghy, how he had a problem, his life will be under the microscope, the NBA will claim he is gone and the problem is fixed.

    The small handful of other crooked refs will take time off, due to increased scrutiny, and when they feel it is safe again (which probably will be soon- there is so little accountability for NBA refs anyways) they will start fixing games again.

    Then the idiots will continue to claim its just \”conspiracy theory\” talk, as they have been braying for years. They apparently live in a bizarro universe where conspiracies don\’t exist, everyone is honest, and where no one would dare to engage in organized criminal activity in professional sports league, much less the political sphere.

    I feel bad for Mark, who has been dealing with this crap for years.

    Comment by Ryan -

  87. David Stern should reimburse you for all those fines! I\’ll start the fight for you!

    Regards,NBA Fan, NJ NETS fan,
    Chuck

    Comment by chuck redding -

  88. Mark,

    It takes a rare breed indeed to not gloat and proclaim from the rooftops \”I told you the hell so!\” Maybe, we can recap some of those calls he made and see what the odds were on each game and how much he pocketed. Then you can get a refund on all the fines you paid for accusing the refs of bad officiating. Yeah, I\’ll keep dreaming… and that would require a little investigative reporting. Is Dan available to review the tapes and the bookies logs?

    Comment by Lisa Willard -

  89. What\’s great is hearing some of the local sport show guys saying, \”hey, maybe Cuban was right about the officiating.\”

    I think the NBA has an amazing opportunity to finally shed this cloud of suspician that hangs over it regarding officiating. Many fans, myself included, have felt the weak link in the league is with the guys makeing the calls.

    I just pray this is an isolated incident. The poop is going to his the fan if this guy starts ratting out others who may have been in on it.

    Comment by FT -

  90. Mark, I was extremely interested in seeing your reaction to the latest news and was impressed at your response. My only question however is how did Tim Donaghy score on your independent ref analysis?

    P.S. MLB should consider themselves blessed that a businessman like yourself would potentially be involved in the sport.

    Comment by Paul Roche -

  91. NBA is the third of the major sports to have a serious image problem this week. MLB – probable indictment of Barry Bonds; NFL – Michael Vick\’s implosion; NBA – betting scandal. To say that the NBA will recover and be better than ever under David Stern\’s leadership (or lack thereof) is wishful thinking. All of the major sports need serious revamping and rethinking, and NBA is no different, and the change needs to happen at the top.

    Comment by Roman S. -

  92. While I hope Mark is right in that this will make the NBA stronger and better, I also think Chris G\’s second post makes some great points. How in the world could Stern be surprised by this? That doesn\’t make sense.

    Comment by EM -

  93. Chris, you make good points. I don\’t know about the whole year and a half thing, but that is a loong time to have info about rigged games without taking action.

    I think it is funny how ESPN is so transparent, and has opinion polls where you can vote that its either an isolated incident involving one ref, or its a huge rigged league. Personally, I speculate there are at least a few guys out there who were doing the same as Donaghy, at least on occasion, and I don\’t think the NBA is the only sports league with refs who act crookedly at times. My god, just thinking of ridiculously officiated games in the past with Knick Bavetta making calls that even Knick fans would laugh at- most people chalked that up to Bavetta kissing up to the league office, who ostensibly wanted the big market knicks to win- but maybe the guy was placing money on the games? The real travesty is how Stern let terrible refs like Bavetta continue to work important games.

    I don\’t know how much it will hurt the league, because the casual fans have been leaving for awhile now. The playoffs and their format has been terrible with the huge imbalance between conferences, the officiating has been bad for years in general, and my personal pet peeve is the incredible number of tv commercials that happen in the 4th quarter and make the game so herky jerky. Too many team timeouts, too many tv timeouts (I\’m a poor grad student with no Tivo…)

    I also think Stern is not only incredibly unlikable, but that he\’s done a crappy job of managing the league. Most NBA owners lack complete common sense (witness the GMs they hire), and its unbelievable they have let this guy keep his job for so long. I know Mark has been trying, but he\’s working with a bunch of dinosaurs who either were born into their money, or who simply are out of touch with the sport in which they have a major financial stake.

    Comment by Ryan -

  94. mark, what should be proposed would be annual polygraph tests for officials, and random tests if any rumors come up. If they fail, they don\’t lose their jobs but would have to turn over bank and telephone records and submit to background investigations. This should be pushed while the officiating union is on the defensive.

    Comment by Jeff -

  95. Another thing people fail to bring up. This investigation lasted a year and a half right? You\’re telling me the feds let this go on for a year and a half before they said something? They let this guy do playoff games? They let him basically make a mockery of a professional sport just to make sure they had a better case? That just doesn\’t add up. What the hell did Stern know and not know? This is one of the most controlling guys in the world. He knows everything that is going on in the NBA. And he had NO knowledge of anything? I find that hard to believe.

    Comment by Chris G -

  96. Gotta disagree with you here Mark. This is really going to hurt the league. Especially if it comes out that there was more than one referee involved or playoffs games involved, which just seems like it isn\’t out of the realm of possibilities (see Game 3 Lakers-Suns 2006 or Game 3 Spurs-Suns 2007). For us truly diehard fans, of course this can only help the league short term and long term. We have all seen the ineptitude of the officiating, especially in the last 3 or 4 years. The sad thing is David Stern is so stuck on himself he failed to listen seriously to fan complaints and this is the result. On the flip side though, this destroys the NBA in the eyes of any casual fan. The NBA has no room to grow now and only time can heal the wounds. Stern is finally getting what he deserves after spitting in the fans face time and time again.

    Comment by Chris G -

  97. I like to bet on sports, stocks, weather and so on, and keep pretty good records regarding referees/umpires. Donaghy\’s games tended to go Over this year, and home teams had problems covering the line as well.

    Easiest way to minimize this would be to take the \’blackmail\’ opportunity out of the equation. That would involve getting the mob out of the sports gambling business. Instead, the NBA and Justice department are doing the opposite buy going after legit offshore gambling companies and forcing the sports betting business underground.

    Comment by Paul -

  98. You have a great business mind. When are you going to write a book?

    Comment by Jake -

  99. Am I the only one that checked the record on who officiated the 2006 finals? Fortunately for the NBA, Donaghy wasnt involved, though the story would be much better if he were.

    Comment by Ryan -

  100. The last time I saw Cubes was at the Roosevelt Hotel in L.A.two summers ago and I kept telling him I was the president of Pete Maravich\’s fan club and he told me, \”If you don\’t mind, were in a disscussion about the lack of consistance from the NBA officials\”, so you can see, when he talks he doesn\’t just talk to hear himself, he\’s a hands on guy who was right on the money, perhaps people should take a listen!!!!

    Comment by Mark Rivers (Singer) -

  101. Who are you kidding? This is a huge \”I told you so\” piece written much better.

    He is forcing Stern to look at ALL officiating issues as a result of an isolated incident. This is what Mark wanted all along, and now he looks like the good guy.

    Brilliant.

    Comment by Matt -

  102. Not just a bad apple…NBA is rotten to the core, all the way up to Stern. Too many refs with strong allegiances (Dick \”Knick\” Bavetta). Why are there so many conspiracy theories about the NBA? Could it be because they have set themselves up to be put under the microscope?

    Comment by IndyJaws -

  103. I\’m disappointed that your statistical analysis application did not catch this. I wonder what Daryl Morey is up to?

    Comment by blerche -

  104. Only with transparency about the officiating that takes place around the NBA will I be able to trust what happens in the game going forward.

    This is a disgrace, and an injury that can not be underestimated.

    I still love the game of basketball, but there has always been a sense of uneven play, though plausibly deniable. This shatters that illusion.

    Lucky for the fans, the owners have even more to lose in this case, and something will likely happen, and fast.

    Open the books on the officials, the players, and even the draft process for all to see, and I think that trust can be restored over time. Stall in any way, and I believe the NBA will expose themselves to becoming irrelevant.

    Comment by bucks fan -

  105. The referees in the NBA play-oofs were bad – real bad. My guess is – that if a scientific study on the play-oofs was done by a third party (forensic accountants)- that referees will be found to have as much impact on who won or loss – as the stars. In essence the refs were the 6th man on the court!

    At the same time it would be good to do some scientific research on the boxaball that we all witnessed. Was the super aggressive dirty – very dirty basketball the direct result of the insanely poor refereeing (either accidental or on purpose.)

    Everyone here knows what I am talking about. Nash driving to the basket and being hacked on the upper arms and forearms by 4 players on just one drive – no call!!

    Comment by Harry -

  106. Have you been fined for complaints about this ref? If so, I would demand a refund with interest and a public apology.

    Comment by Eric Wakeling -

  107. You are bang on. The character of a man, an organization or sports league is not determined by the scandals they encounter, but from how they respond and grow from the situation, and ensure that such an event is unlikely to occur again.

    The NBA is not alone with gambling scandals. MLB and the NHL both have had recent issues and of course we are all familiar with Michael Vick and the NFL\’s situation.

    The $$$$ involved in professional sports is huge. There will always be someone trying to get more then their share of the pie. The scary part for me as a fan is that no professional league has any significant policy on players, coaches, or officials gambling. Hopefully the recent gambling scandals will change this.

    Comment by HockeyNutz -

  108. Wow, all this without a team in Las Vegas. This argument is now dead any city in the country should be able to have a team if it can support it. BTW good luck with the Cubs thing, HDnet and the Cubs I cannot wait.

    Randy M

    Comment by Randy M -

  109. I must have read the article in Chinese. I do not see as pretty a picture as all of you. This is bad people.

    Eagle

    Comment by R. Ferguson -

  110. Mark…I\’m a Mav season ticket holder and watch a lot of basketball. I LOVE BASKETBALL…but anyone with two eyes can see that NBA officials are manipulate games (not for gamblers, hopefully), but because they like/dislike players, etc. I\’m really glad you put it the way you did. Calamity can lead to change. I hope if there\’s an upside to this…games will be called more accurately and fairly.

    Comment by Tim Spivey -

  111. I wanted to point out my great umpire remark. Dick Grasso was the Umpire for the world greatest game! Wall Street, he is being sued for $200mm. Nice payday allowing the players todo as they did! Sheriff Eliott Spitzer had to come in and clean a small percentage of the mess. Just explaining my post.

    Comment by Mary Clemente -

  112. In that clip of the Lakers Cavs game, they show a ref who looks a lot like Donaghy at 1:26 of the clip…

    Comment by Ryan -

  113. Mark, have you seen this youtube clip of obviously biased officiating during a 2006 lakers cavs game? It\’s not subtle at all… and I know that most people who are serious NBA watchers will tell you they have seen some highly dubious calls at critical times that have greatly swayed the outcome, and certainly the spread- officiating that was obviously suspicious.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6SpBM8dB4k

    I already know the official response from Stern will be the \”one bad apple\” theory, but I think there is most likely more than one. The NBA and professional soccer are probably the two easiest sports to fix because so many of the calls are judgment calls, and different refs will call things differently. Top flight Italian professional soccer had a major referee-gambling fix issue a year or two ago, and it was not a single bad apple there, but several.

    There will always be a strong temptation to rig pro basketball and soccer without Mark\’s suggestions of complete transparency regarding different referees, and obviously putting competent men in charge of the refs is priority number one.

    I\’m surprised that the NFL has done reasonably well over the years. They have always had some sketchy calls, but the instant replay system finally became efficient and accurate in the last couple of years, and that seems to have really helped clean it up.

    Comment by Ryan -

  114. Moaning Mark: It\’s rigged, the whole \”Rose\” colored screen is Rigged. Btw: Author Ben Mezrich who wrote the MIT students broke the bank in Vegas. Has written a new book called Rigged! A must read. I lost interest in sports after the Pete Rose scandal. My take, if sports figures who are paid million resort to this type of activity, who not the poor little Ump\’s who decide the game not emjoy the spoils. The greatest Umpire of our time was Dick Grasso!

    Comment by Mary Clemente -

  115. I\’m a NBA fans come from china.And you,mark,is also a idol in my heart.And also is Paul Allen.You guys are the same excellence.

    Comment by jack -

  116. Hi Mark,
    Well the thing that angers me is if one of you owners or coaches made Stern aware of this you would have been fined millions of dollars by the dictator himself. Refs can make the NBA like the WWE just by calling fouls. If the refs had called enough fouls on Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson would they have ever got a ring?
    Just wanted to say Mark I\’m a life long Cub fan and I hope you buy them. Good luck.

    Mark Kren

    Comment by mark Krend -

  117. Even Chicken Little has his day. It is great to see that he isn\’t gloating but instead trying to focus on what needs to be done to fix it.

    After the dust settles, then he go back to promoting his team again and winning a championship.

    Tex
    http://www.GamerTex.com
    http://www.mmoExchange.com

    Comment by Tex -

  118. Q. how many Tim Donaghy\’s does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    A. one. The fans are the lightbulb.

    ~And to think that a quality Official like Crawford was suspended for spitting on the sidewalk — Way to be there, Stern and Stu!~

    Comment by saM FFL -

  119. I would expect nothing less from one who has so much invested in this. The real question is what are you going to do about it? You and the other owners. Do you really think the integrity of the league lies soley with this one individual? It\’s time to make sweeping changes, as I assume you are eluding to. The first change is to replace the commisioner. His consistently turning a blind eye to poor officiating is a slap in the face of all fans. Right now the NFL has the best commisioner in all of sports. Follow the example. The NBA is turning off fans in droves.

    Comment by Mike -

  120. Apparently Ed T. Rush can\’t manage a Dairy Queen after all! LOL!

    Comment by Ken Castillo -

  121. \”Thats terrible Joey!\” However, it is absolutely unfair to demonize the entire NBA for the actions of one man. Are there image issues with, on and off the court? Sure but dont we all face issues? Mr. Donaghy, should and will face the stiffest penalty and while this had an effect on several games, we should be focusing on the positives.

    The league with the help of its owners, coaches and players have always done what it takes to solve these situations. Rarely is everyone happy but the action of making change toward long term solutions is ever present.

    The NBA has the most exciting product in the world, better than music and technology. In an atmosphere where grown men idolize other grown men, where stars idolize the needs of communities who so desperately cling to them and the pride of one city in the spring that can say WE are Champions, there exists no greater satisfaction.

    It may sound absurd but this is a great opportunity for the NBA and Owners! This provides the league with an opportunity to make whole sale changes! Remember how big of a deal players made about the dress code change? Ask the players now, ask the fans now. I am motivated every time I see my favorite players come down the tunnel looking sharp. It gives the average guy an even greater motivation to be like their heroes. The NBA now can make the changes it has wanted but struggled to implement.

    Will we have a better league next year? You are damn right. I, think it will be one of the best seasons the NBA has ever had. Every team is deeper than ever before in history. The face of the league is no longer 3 stars (Magic, Bird and Jordan), its 30 strong worldwide! One asshole is not going to ruin that!

    Mark what can I design for you? Got any branding you want to through to a youngster and watch him make magic? :)

    Jerry R. Reynolds
    http://www.alimoedeveloping.com
    http://alimoethegeneral.wordpress.com/
    http://www.ushomewatchers.com

    Comment by Jerry R. Reynolds -

  122. Does anyone know if Tim Donahea worked any Mavericks playoff games this season or last?

    Comment by Zane -

  123. Good work, Mark!!

    Comment by Matthew -

  124. Mark….thanks for fighting the good fight these past few years. Today\’s news is good despite the initial shock. My question is, will other leagues both pro and college follow the lead of what will likely be revolutionary changes? Don\’t forget that arguably the most pathetic display of officiating occured in the Pitt-Seattle Super Bowl a couple of years ago….and these guys \’earned\’ the honor to call the game…they were the \’best\’. Don\’t get me started on the ref shenanigans that have plagued college football for decades.

    Comment by Doug T -

  125. My Mavs friends sent tons of emails to me today, basically all saying the same thing, i.e. \”Don\’t you know Mark Cuban is laughing his butt off because he has been telling the league that \’something\’s just not right\’ for years\”. My standard reply was \”I\’d be more shocked if Mark Cuban issued any kind of a statement, other than support for the NBA.\” Kudos to you Mark Cuban.

    Comment by Linda -

  126. Mark, you should request a refund of your fine, appears you were right on with your comments about the officiating being crap! Must be sweet justice for you…

    Comment by Ken Castillo -

  127. the words Mob Investigation and NBA should never be in the same sentence, but this is the league that must have a lottery in order to keep teams from tanking.

    links:

    [url]http://www.nypost.com/seven/07202007/news/columnists/nba_in_a_fix_columnists_murray_weiss.htm%5B/url]

    [url]http://www.nypost.com/seven/07202007/news/columnists/nba_in_a_fix_columnists_murray_weiss.htm%5B/url]

    Comment by Jason Slick -

  128. READER COMMENT #3: \”All press is good press, as they say.\”

    This is a decent rule of thumb, but mostly it applies to people, products, companies, et cetera, that are in need of coverage. When Paris Hilton\’s sex tape was quote-unquote leaked, any press was good press because at the time she was unknown to nearly everyone.

    But being that the NBA is one of the four major professional-sports leagues in the United States, bad press for the NBA is just that: bad press. When Bridgestone Firestone tires started blowing out, flipping SUVs and killing people, that also was bad press. When there was a hoax about a severed finger in a bowl of Wendy\’s chili? Bad press. Just ask the company, which lost millions of dollars in sales as a result.

    On the other hand, before the Mark Foley congressional-page scandal, the congressional-page program was virtually unknown to most Americans. So while the scandal initially threatened the very existence of the program, when it was decided not to kill the program, the scandal had the opposite effect: It increased interest in the program. That, ultimately, is an example of bad press being good press, so to speak.

    So while Mark is right in saying that today\’s bad news provides an opportunity to strengthen the NBA brand, that doesn\’t change the fact that today\’s news is bad news.

    Comment by Dewey -

  129. \”Its a chance to proactively put in place people, processes and transparency that will forever silence those who will question the NBA\’s integrity.\” how poetic. too bad it won\’t happen. there is a reason for the timing of this going public. it\’s going to be really sad when it comes out that this is not just a isolated incident of one referee.

    as the nba continues it quest for marketing supremacy & global dominance, it\’s officiating and game operations will continue to suffer (as they have for many years)and be the worst out of the 4 major sports leagues. time for the suits in ny to get their eyes-ears back on the content & pulse of the game. hopefully this will serve as a wake-up call, but mind you, it won\’t be the last.

    Comment by heath -

  130. Mark,

    great post. Thought that the suspension of Crawford was a turning point. I will even submit a comment without mentioning 2006 finals, well almost.

    Comment by Chris Price -

  131. Classy articulate response. General consensus was you would say \”I told you so.\” As a serious NBA fan I\’m glad you took this position.

    Comment by Dennis -

  132. anecdotal evidence: having spoken to a good number of my nba-fan friends about this…. the sentiment is bad apple, not rotten crop. my perception of media coverage of his whole situation is that it\’s been pretty level headed. I don\’t think that the public\’s image of the NBA will be tainted by this at all. In fact, I think – like all things that gain undue press coverage – that this is an excellent opportunity to engage the fans on some of the operational aspects of the NBA that might have previously been opaque.

    all press is good press, as they say.

    Comment by blyx -

  133. Mark, you should post a link to the news so we can all understand what you are talking about. Not all of us follow things as closely as you.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19868741/

    Comment by Pete -

  134. \”I have complete confidence that David Stern and Adam Silver will do just that and the NBA and our officiating will be all the stronger for it. \”

    So David Stern is going to give you his job? :)

    Comment by Ben -

Comments are closed.