Monday, August 4, 2008

NBA? Try the NBE!

I felt quite prophetic the day after I wrote this, as that was the day that Tim Donaghy accused other NBA refs of fixing past games.

How does David Stern sleep at night? I couldn't help but wonder that last night as that abominiation of a basketball game came to a close from Boston. Could that game really have been more obviously staged? I mean, come on, there have always been whispers and conspiracies about the NBA and some rather dubious results that the league has seen over the years (The Ewing Draft, anyone?), but last night clinched it once and for all for me. Leon Powe, theb mediocre backup power forward on Boston, played a grand total of 15 minutes and shot a whopping 13 free throws! How does that happen? I mean, if the refs want to call the ga,e close and whistle a lot of contact, hey, that's absolutely fine by me, but the Lakers, as an entire team, shot only free throws the whole game. Huh? And this despite the fact that the Celtics defended Kobe Bryant, the MVP in a league legendary for giving calls to it's stars, with tactics that would have passed as serviceable hits in a UFC bout.
It really could not have been any more obvious that David Stern was very nervous abiout the possibility of the Lakers splitting the set in Boston and finishing off the series in 5 in LA, thus costing both the NBA and ABC some serious cash. In fact, it got so absurd that after one particularly atrocious no-call on a blatant foul on Kobe, I half-expected to hear Jim Ross start screaming in horror from the announcer's table while Vince McMahon's music began blaring over the loud speakers. Yeah, it was that bad.
And that's what frustrates me about the NBA. At least wrestling just said "screw it" 25 years ago and admitted it was fake and sports entertainment as opposed to actual sports. The NBA has increasingly drifted very dangerously down this path, where open questioning of whether or not the league fixes games, or at least instructs refs in a certain way, doesn't cause you to even bat an eyelash. We could potentially be on the verge of a fan revolt, and this would be more then justified. This is the reason that I would never in a million years bet even one cent on an NBA game. You just never know when Stern and company just might send down through the ranks some cover "instructions" to the refs on any particular night, especially when guys like the infamous Bennett Salvatore are involved. That's why, once and for all, we need to forget about the artist formerly known as the National Basketball Association and welcome all of its fans to National Basketball Entertainment, the NBE.

There, that's my last totally pro basketball column that I will write for the season, I promise. I just had to get it off my chest.

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