Monday, June 16, 2008

Is this the NBA's Fixer?

With all of the news coming out about NBA refs fixing the outcome of games it just reopens old wounds of the 2002 Kings-Lakers series. Is this the face of the "company man" and playoffs fixer? I know that I for one suspected it. Anytime that Dick Bavetta reffed a Kings-Lakers game I knew that the Kings had to be 20 points better to win a 1 point decision when he had the whistle.

After being disgusted in the fixed playoff series of 2002 I wrote and sent the e-mail below to every fan of the NBA and sports paper I could find. The finals boycott lasted a couple of years. It took the joy of watching the Piston's beat the Lakers to take me out of it. I guess that my dislike for the Lakers outweighed my disgust for the NBA. Go figure...

Here's my e-mail that I wrote and I still feel pretty passionate about my words six years later:

From: "Marc Lee"
Subject: We can't allow the NBA to do this again!
Date: Mon, 03 Jun 2002 04:21:42 +0000

The NBA and NBC got what they wanted...

The Lakers are in the NBA Finals. Game 6 of the Kings-Lakers series exposed how the NBA gets what they want. They just call every questionable call and even calls that shouldn't even be questionable for the Lakers.

As a fan I feel cheated. We were cheated from seeing the better team in the finals because the NBA wanted to increase their bottom line. Just looking at the commercials during the game you can see who the sponsors wanted to win. Wether it be a Shaq slanging candy bars or Kobe pushing burgers, having the Kings in the Finals would make some important people that sign checks very unhappy.

NBC was even showing Kobe bryant in the promos for the NBA finals with them down in the series 3-2. Do you think that maybe that they had the inside track on what was going to happen in game 6? Do you think that they were assured by someone in the NBA that there was going to be a game 7? With the NBA and NBC trying to pass game 6 as a fairly played game they are insulting the intelligence of us fans.

This is something that's scary for ALL of us fans of NBA basketball.

If you're not a Laker fan it's obvious that if the NBA has the gall to blatantly assure that the Kings would not win game 6, then they can do the same thing to you're team.

Also, if you're a Laker fan. You might be enjoying it now, but what happens when the next 2 most popular players come along and you're team is no longer the darlings of the NBA? Don't you think that the NBA would do the same thing to the Lakers to assure that this other team advances further in the playoffs?

I'm sure that there were many NBA fans that feel like I do. They feel helpless when the NBA does things like this. But maybe there is something that us fans can do to save the credibility of the game that we love...

I will not watch any of the games in the finals this year. I refuse to let people profit off of such shady actions. If enough of us do this and the ratings go down than the NBA will realize that they're destroying the credibility of the game and will not try so blatantly try to pull this stunt again.

One or two upset fans can not change the NBA's way of thinking, but if we all work together then we can. We are the ones that buy the jerseys, buy the sponsors products, and fill the stadiums. If we don't allow the NBA to profit off of us then they don't profit. Once they realize that their bottom line will be affected unless they change their business practices, they will be forced to conduct a fair league.

I put this e-mail together to speak to anyone that is worried about the credibility of a game that we once loved. Please forward this e-mail (or just copy and paste the message) to anyone that you feel might want to participate in this boycott. Thanks for reading. If we work together we can save the game...

A devoted Miami Heat fan,

Maybe it's the Berkeley in me or maybe it's the fact that I feel that everyone should have a fair chance. Either way I feel that the outcry was so loud that the NBA should have at least had to address it. The great part of this case is that the facts (and review if there ever was one) will have to come to light in the court of law.

Though this will most likely give the NBA a large black eye, in the long run it should be a great first step in cleaning up the game. The players should control the game and outcome, not the refs...

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