Scandals, scandals everywhere — NBA Playoff Series was fixed! So says ex-NBA referee Tim Donaghy. Donaghy told the feds that two refs fixed the outcome of one playoff series – and that officials were told not to eject star players from games for fear of hurting ticket sales.
These shocking allegations are contained in a court document filed Tuesday by Donaghy’s lawyer. It describes the “inner workings” of the NBA in which top league executives used referees to manipulate games.
Donaghy pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Federal Court to charges of betting on games he officiated. He told FBI agents that “league officials would tell referees that they should withhold calling technical fouls on certain star players because doing so hurt ticket sales and television ratings,” the document said.
The referees allegedly ignored flagrant fouls committed by the team that needed to win. They also reportedly called “made-up fouls” against the other team which led to the ejection of two of their players. The team favored by the refs won that night and the next game to win the series.
The document does not name the teams but the LA Lakers vs Sacramento was the only series that went to seven games in 2002. The Nets won the Eastern conference and the LA Lakers won the Western conference. LA Lakers were the champions in 2002.
Donaghy claims that:
· He was told that two refs who were “company men” acting in the interest of the NBA conspired to extend a playoff series in 2002 to a seventh game.
· A supervising referee told refs that an unidentified NBA executive did not want them to call technical fouls on star players or boot them from the game.
· Referees have accepted autographs, free merchandise and meals from team coaches and managers.
· The league reprimanded a referee who disobeyed that order in January 2000 by ejecting an unnamed star player from a game in the first quarter.
· One referee used a team’s practice facility to exercise and another played tennis with an NBA coach.
Donaghy’s lawyer John Lauro filed the four-page letter to Federal Judge Carol Amon because none of the information was included in the government’s letter to the judge seeking leniency for Donaghy when he is sentenced next month.
Lauro has gone to war against Brooklyn federal prosecutors for offering plea deals to Donaghy’s betting accomplices that give them less time than the disgraced ref, despite his extensive cooperation.
“These activities were against NBA rules, indeed, such inappropriate relationships could influence the outcome of games,” Lauro wrote. Lauro said he withheld the names of the teams, referees and league officials because the feds may still investigate the allegations.
2002 Western Conference
· Sacramento Kings ( 1 ) vs. Utah Jazz ( 8 )
· San Antonio Spurs ( 2 ) vs. Seattle SuperSonics ( 7 )
· LA Lakers ( 3 ) vs. Portland Trail Blazers ( 6 )
· Dallas Mavericks ( 4 ) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves ( 5 )
· Sacramento Kings ( 1 ) vs. Dallas Mavericks ( 4 )
· San Antonio Spurs ( 2 ) vs. LA Lakers ( 3 )
· Sacramento Kings (1) vs. LA Lakers ( 3 )
2002 Eastern Conference
· NJ Nets ( 1 ) vs. Indiana Pacers ( 8 )
· Charlotte Hornets ( 4 ) vs. Orlando Magic ( 5 )
· Detroit Pistons ( 2 ) vs. Toronto Raptors ( 7 )
· Boston Celtics ( 3 ) vs. Philadelphia 76ers ( 6 )
· NJ Nets ( 1 ) vs. Charlotte Hornets ( 4 )
· Detroit Pistons ( 2 ) vs. Boston Celtics ( 3 )
· NJ Nets ( 1 ) vs. Boston Celtics ( 3 )
· LA Lakers vs. NJ Nets
2002 NBA Champions
· LA Lakers