Tonight, the Los Angeles Lakers will square off with the visiting Denver Nuggets in a first-round playoff Game 7 that promises to be crackling with intensity. I’m a big fan of my hometown Nugs and I expect them to bring their A games.
I also expect them to lose, no matter what, because however well prepared they are, however brilliant George Karl’s game planning, however incredibly they may shoot and rebound and defend, they’re playing 5-on-8.
Put simply, it is not in the league’s financial interest to have LA lose to Denver. Read more
Disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who was convicted of two charges related to betting on NBA games (some of which he worked as an official), is out of prison, pimping a new book and telling his story to 60 Minutes and ESPN. What he’s saying, and who’s backing him up, has to be giving NBA Commish David Stern a king-hell case of the nightsweats.
We’ll stipulate up front that the witness has a credibility issue. Read more
We watch sports for a variety of reasons. To revel in the thrill of head-to-head competition. To marvel at the athleticism. To root for the home team, in which we have somehow invested a piece of our own identities. To mark our place in the timeless ritual. To learn, even.
With the NBA, there’s one more reason: to see which narrative the league has decided is the most compelling.
Now, I’m not generally a conspiracy theorist. I don’t think the world is biased against me personally and I don’t believe that the refs are out to get my team. In most cases, my attempts to explain bad officiating, whatever the sport, need go no further than “basic incompetence.” Read more
I don’t write about sports issues here very often, but … let’s make an exception for this one.
The NBA is in the news big time today, and not because of last night’s Lakers win over the Celtics. Former referee Tim Donaghy, convicted of taking bribes and betting on games he officiated, has now alleged that at least two games – one in 2002 and another in 2005 – involved inappropriate behavior by game officials. In 2002, he says, game 6 of the Western Conference finals between LA and Sacramento was fixed outright. Read more
I love sports. Always have. I grew up playing all the usual sports and eagerly tried out a lot of others when I got older. I’ve always been a big spectator, too, watching everything from football, basketball and baseball to soccer, track, cycling, volleyball, water polo – whatever was on, you know?
But these days I watch less sports than at any point in my life, and it seems likely that this downward trend is going to continue. The why is pretty simple. I was raised old school by a grandfather who grew up playing through the Depression. People who knew him back then and saw him play said that under different circumstances he might have been good enough to play in the Bigs. Maybe. Hard to say, because the hard realities of life intruded on the dreams of many in his generation. So he wound up working for a few dollars a week and playing ball on the weekends.
There was a right way and a wrong way to play. Hard, but fair. Sportsmanship mattered. Read more