When Gregg Popovich decided to rest four of his best players against the Heat on Thursday his farsightedness was in play on two levels: 1) At the end of a long road trip Duncan, Ginobili and Parker, all on the wrong side of 30, would benefit greatly from an extra day of rest and 2) Pop wanted to prove that his reserves could compete with the reigning NBA champs.
It was a genius move meant to preserve the aging bodies of his stars and instill confidence in his bench. And as you probably know by now, David Stern wants to punish him. Tyranny restored, David. Well done.
Stern's "apology" to NBA fans, the poor souls forced to watch a hard-fought and extremely competitive game, was not only ridiculous but made clear what we as basketball fans have known for a long time, namely that Stern cares nothing about the game itself and only the entertainment value that the NBA provides.
Stern's autocratic gesture got me thinking about a very small, mostly unnoticed news story from a few of weeks ago ...
Nov. 9 marked the first time in more than five years that former NBA ref Tim Donaghy attended a professional basketball game. Instead of prancing down the sideline with a whistle, he was seated in the bleachers, wearing normal clothes, totally incognito.
A half-decade after Donaghy ruined his life by betting on his livelihood he watched the Knicks host the Mavericks in Madison Square Garden while studying for his new job at Danny Biancullo's handicapping site "dannybwins.com."
On the surface the career move seems like a recovering alcoholic taking a job as a sommelier, but in reality the "consulting" gig was the only offer Donaghy had on the table after his probation ended on Nov 4.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to any NBA fan that reputable companies aren't clamoring for Donaghy's professional services. His name will never be worth the baggage. Tim will probably end up opening a store in Vegas next to Pete Rose and sell autographed posters of Danny Crawford and Steve Javie making double-dribbling calls.
If it makes you feel better, I don't know what the hell a Defensive Three Seconds is either.
All the best,
But now that the dust has settled on the scandal and the league has long gone back to business as usual, I realize something: I believe Tim Donaghy. I believe all the things he said in his 60 Minutes interview. I believe the claims he made in his book. I believe the accusations he described in a four-page letter to Brooklyn's United States District Court in 2008 in which he claimed that NBA executives directed referees "to manipulate games" to "boost ticket sales and television ratings."Full Story >>