When the Sky Falls, a Baby Is Born
So I am still way more puffed up about these archeological chortles than the ref thing. But since some of you are paying me now, I feel some responsibility to make my voice known. Train to catch or no train to catch.
Look, I know that on the surface, this sucks for the NBA. The rumors of Stern somehow fixing games in advance are really fucking stupid, and aren't the same thing as this breaking calamity. But it still involves corruption and impurity in the ranks of officiating, and has made it forever impossible to just believe in sweet, sweet incompetence. With very few exception, NFL refs are just thought to be lousy when they're wrong. The NBA has long had trouble shaking the suspicion that there's something else going on; for certain, this is most certainly SOMETHING ELSE. That dimension of discussion has now been proven, even if it's not along the same lines some had expected it to be.
But in another way, this is really good for the league. Fine, some games--most likely regular season ones, which everyone agrees mean nothing--were competitively tainted. Yet this most ordinary of sports scandals might serve as a reality check on all the stupid shit people say about the NBA. This is how things are weird in a sport; the commish doesn't write the script for the postseason in advance, the refs aren't programmed to give close calls to whoever garners the highest ratings, and China isn't secretly controlling the whole thing from behind the muslin curtain. I know that, to some, the NBA is so boring that only fantasy and projection can make its existence worthwhile. For these anti-fans, the imagined NBA is as important to hate or bitch about as the real thing is for us believers.
In this same disambiguating manner, it should bring some of the fucked-up heat off the players. It's become a truism that THE NBA IS FUCKED somehow implicates both thugged-out indulgence and Elders of Zion plots. I guess that stars getting calls (or movng through the playoffs) because 1) they don't know how to really play the game and 2) the refs are told to let them advance would bear this out. Other than that, though, I really can't see how the two are connected. And today, we are being reminded, in no uncertain terms, of the difference between bitching and scrutinizing. Does the NBA have a problem? Yes, with a ref who fixed games. Does that in any way make the players seem worse, or lend credence to the Bogut-sanctioned stereotypes about them? No--it has absolutely nothing to do with them
So in sum, it's a wake-up call: both for the NBA, which has to address and clean up after it, and the people who hate the league and need to get their fucking heads on an extant course.