Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

June 11, 2008
The NBA has a problem, and it's not Tim Donaghy

So now we know his plan. Throw rocks at David Stern's house, over and over and over, and maybe hit a window.

For all Donaghy's obvious shortcomings, stupidity is apparently not among them. The one-time ref who dragged his own life into a freefall of career and financial wreckage has decided to fight back against the NBA -- the victim -- by leveling firestorm charges in the middle of the Finals and crashing the showcase event to draw attention for his accusations.

They don't have to be true. It's the NBA and it's charges of "manipulation," and that's enough to set off fire alarms. Stern opened his umbrella on Dealey Plaza and the fix was in.

Donaghy can't prove his claim that referees involved told him at the time they would make sure the Lakers got to a Game 7 in the 2002 conference finals and no one can prove Donaghy is a liar on this count. That a lot of people instantly believed him, about a month before sentencing on felonies, says everything about the perception problem facing the NBA.

This has always been the baffling part. There have been historically bad moments for umpires in the major-league playoffs and game officials in the NFL and college football, where gambling is more part of the culture, yet it's the NBA that gets pelted by conspiracy claims.

No one has this kind of image issue like the NBA. Donaghy was merely the guy with the lighter fluid and matches this time, but anyone who has been around Sacramento since that seismic Game 6 knows a bellman at the hotel the referees stayed at in L.A. or someone sitting next to the refs on the shuttle to get the rental car or a custodian at Staples Center could say they overheard something and it would spread as gospel.

To review:

Other leagues: sometimes incompetent.

NBA: on the take.

Donaghy struck at the heart, making it his moment of revenge. Maybe it is the bite-back after the revelation the league will come after him for $1 million in restitution because his actions prompted them to launch a costly internal investigation. Maybe he's just a bad guy whose latest act is to try and take as many people down with him as possible.

Or maybe we just saw the first day of his -- wait for it! -- book tour.

He does his time, the exact amount to be announced at the sentencing hearing scheduled for July 14. He does the book. He does Larry King.

It'll sell in Sacramento.



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