I'm sure Kobe will get the next call in his favor...
Well, I’ve finally decided to scan the internet to read more excerpts from Tim Donaghy’s new book The Book The NBA Doesn’t Want You To Read. I think a few months back when I wrote Officiating the NBA Referees maybe I was looking from the wrong point of view. I no longer believe it’s slow reaction time because of old age. I no longer believe that flopping is the reason for these terrible calls. I mean honestly deep down, I kind of had an idea that the referees are screwing with us most of the time, which must have been why I was so pumped about the referee lockout originally! I truly do wish we started this season with the replacement refs. Sure there might have been bad or some missed calls here and there, but SERIOUSLY, aren’t we used to it no matter who is out there? I can’t fully believe everything he said in the book, since he does have some strong motives in his quest to deface the NBA. I CAN however buy the face value of the information that a lot of calls and miscues by crews DO have some hidden motives behind them, and I must’ve been blocking that out for years. Reading through the excerpts felt like when you know that your girlfriend is cheating on you, but you aren’t really sure, and then you finally find out that it’s true. Yes Tim, your revelations have hurt me, and damaged me for every future relationship I have with refs for years to come. If the refs are indeed Stern’s puppets, playing with teams and players abilities to make the playoffs we may as well get Vince McMahon in there setting up the plotline for the season. We could turn these great athletes into a show instead of a sport, wouldn’t that be great. Are we heading to a league that resembles the Globetrotters vs. the Admirals? I figured that the refs had bias’s against players, teams, or coaches, but didn’t want to believe that they were truly effecting the outcome of the games. I know, it sounds nieve, but maybe I got used to it being shoved in my face for the past decade, so why didn’t I see it as a flaw? A) I guess I just accepted that some guys are going to get calls, and when it comes down to it, these refs I’m sure get caught up in the heat of the moment. B) I didn’t want to see in writing what I’d obviously already suspected, like the excerpt on the 2002 Western Conference Championship game 6 or the Spurs and Suns playoff series. C) Aside from the Lakers getting gifts like Pau Gasol and Artest for nothing, they are getting calls in crucial games, because the league hinted the refs should give them more calls in their favor. The Lakers seem to be one of the most hated teams in the league, and could this be a reason why?
Deadspin had some good transcript on the jest of what he said in his book.
If there’s one thing that has been a constant in the NBA over the past couple decades, it has to be the very bad officiating. Not even Bill Walton can convince me otherwise. I wrote about ways to change the referee system awhile back, which included forcing the geezers off the court and into retirement. Alas, the NBA hasn’t addressed one of these issues, but it looks like one might finally be under consideration. The NBA desperately needs to have guys in their physical prime running around with these tremendous athletes to make sure that they are getting calls right. The NBA is set to start its preseason games in a few weeks (October 1st), it has been reported that the NBRA (National Basketball Referees Association) will be locking out unless a new agreement is reached as the old one expired at the beginning of September. Apparently the NBRA proposed to take about $2.5 million (10%) off of last season’s budget. This wasn’t convincing enough as Stern rejected the proposal, and the two sides haven’t set a new time to meet since the deal was rejected. The NBA is facing the most problems it has since the Flint Tropics ABA/NBA merger days, and needs the refs to suck it up if they want to work. Larnell McMorris, the head NBRA representative says that Stern’s actions are childish, and feels that the league is trying to push the “old guys” out.
This is the first time in a long time that I might actually be on Commissioner Stern’s side for any issue that has come up in recent memory! I hope they lock out, and I hope Stern holds firm on his stance. If he truly is using this as a reason to get the “old guys” out I applaud it 100%. It’s really the first action I’ve seen him take since he became commissioner that moves towards correcting an obvious problem that is revisited year after year with each bad call made. Sadly I’ve actually watched some D-League games, and the ones that I have watched I noticed their refs actually do call pretty good games. Guess what, most of them look young and don’t give the players as much attitude as the pro refs which I like. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the refs were there just to call the game instead of settling the score with some superstar that showed them up by barking at them!?! I’m crossing my fingers that the officiating will better during this October 1st lockout then I could see the NBRA folding to whatever the NBA’s demands are. I wouldn’t mind if they locked our for the season, and we could try out these younger refs that might actually make the right call or non-call during the pivotal playoff games. For the first time since 95-96 the league will set up a training camp for replacement refs, so lets hope they find some good ones!
Any NBA fan will tell you how bad the officiating is, and how many times your team has been screwed on a bad call. You don’t even need to watch more than a quarter without seeing at least one or two questionable calls. Sure, the Tim Donaghy scandal ruined a lot of people’s perception of refs trying to control the outcome of a game, but for the most part I don’t believe that the rest of the refs are purposely making bad calls they just aren’t competent enough to make the right ones. I think it’s time for the league to help the refs out by changing the way the games are covered.
- Adding a fourth ref – How could this hurt? One more pair of eyes to see a crucial call from a different angle in a game changing call?!? The refs keep track of a lot of things including game time, time outs, fouls, shot clock, and the score which is a lot for a 60 year old man (I’ll get back to that) running up and down the court for a 48 minute game. Maybe more so for a Warriors, Knicks, or Suns. I’m not even 30 and I don’t think I can run back and forth with the pros without getting winded, possibly impairing my vision to the point where I think something happened when it didn’t!
- Instant Replay – Even the MLB has instituted the home run replay after years of debate. If the oldest sport in our country can change with technology that’s been around for 15 years, then why can’t the NBA. Too many times you hear a whistle blown and all the refs are looking at each other with their hands in the air as if a fan blew it. If all three refs don’t know who’s ball or who the foul was on why don’t they review it? Or put a ref behind a monitor that can tell them in an earpiece who touched it last? How hard is that?
- Youth Liberation – I have no doubt that many of these refs are in top form for their age, but how scary is it that the top refs in the league (working most of the playoffs/most important games of the year) are late 40’s to pushing 70?!? I have no problem putting my eyesight up against any of these refs.
- Explanation – I think we need to migrate towards the way the NFL makes calls. After every foul, I would like to see them touch a body part or have something other than raising their hand and pointing at someone! Just let the crowd know what kind of foul occurred. For instance a slap on the arm or hip maybe the ref could point to that part of their body. Maybe a flop they could break out with the worm, which would give the NBA even more incentive to get some younger refs in their twenties and thirties which is much closer to a person’s peak physical prime. These small acts towards accountability on calls could make them actually have to go by more than a flop or how the crowd reacted!
After the Tim Donaghy scandal, we were led to believe that drastic changes would be made for the NBA officiating crews, and alas there have been no noticeable changes. It’s the same refs with the same questionable calls game after game and year after year!
Just a reminder of how bad it can be! Sorry Sacto fans this one hurt!