The allegations that veteran NBA referee Tim Donaghy may have shaved points in games he officiated the past two years has rocked the sport. In her column today in Newsday, Johnette Howard points out that conspiracy theories have been around the NBA for years. For example, she tells of two star players back in the 1980's who charted the point spread versus final game score for every league referee because they had some suspicions back then. Other whisperings include the so-called "frozen envelope" that Stern picked out of a bin to give the Knicks the right to draft Patrick Ewing in 1985, and rumors that Michael Jordan's father was killed by the mob because of some Jordan gambling incident gone awry.
from Johnette Howard of Newsday
Back before his own players started attacking him as racist, before his spats with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and the brawl at Auburn Hills, before the dress-code flap and the on-court behavior crackdown and the TV ratings flops for recent NBA Finals -- in short, before the NBA descended into the sort of trouble it knew when David Stern first took over a few decades ago -- Stern used to be known as the "genius" of pro sports commissioners.
Stern will need to channel the old David, the Other David, now that his league has been rocked with the darkest incident in pro basketball history -- an ongoing FBI investigation into a possibly mobbed-up referee, 13-year veteran Tim Donaghy, who may have shaved points in an unspecified number of games the past two seasons, allegedly because of gambling debts he couldn't repay.