7.20.2007

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.

20 Comments:

At 7/20/2007 1:18 PM, Blogger Sparkles*_* said...

All this spinning is making me dizzy.

 
At 7/20/2007 2:04 PM, Anonymous moresports said...

It's a little depressing that I'm not more upset about this. It's strange that I find the recent Michael Vick story so morally reprehensible, but this story is struggling to raise my hackles. The lack of more concrete information has something to do with that (no name, list of games, sense of impact), but I think I just find the individual corruption of the Vick case to be more shocking than the semi-institutional corruption of the ref thing.

Maybe I've been watching too much of The Wire.

 
At 7/20/2007 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That artwork is really cool.

But holy fuck this is some Soprano type shit. At first thought, its got to be terrible for the league, but then I saw the moon fall the sky and decided this is like Lebron's commercials, but better cuz its real. Who knew the refs could be interesting?

Ya know at the zoo what animal is the most dangerous to the zookeepers? (the one that causes the most injuries and deaths) Its a fucking zebra if ya didnt know lol. I think I must have looked at the refs the same way as tourists look at them in the zoo before this. Then they bite your face.

A real look at some of the reffing was overdue anyhow.

 
At 7/20/2007 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and its looking like the ref was into the mob for some money and was fixing games with a gun to his head cuz he couldnt pay. Though that raises the question of whether he was losing on games he was trying to fix to start with (or was it other gambling?).... Which would mean the real problem is still ineptitude lol.

 
At 7/20/2007 3:00 PM, Blogger Aaron said...

Wait a minute, Shoals. Are you saying that NBA conspiracy theorists are anti-semites? I mean, just because Stern is a Jewish lawyer doesn't mean every attack on him is Elders of Zion stuff.

 
At 7/20/2007 3:04 PM, Blogger William said...

This is so made for a movie. A man can dream can't he?

 
At 7/20/2007 3:09 PM, Anonymous Steve J said...

Tim Donaghy is the name. Not sure if this makes me feel better or worse. I would have an ear-to-ear grin right now if it were Joey Crawford.

 
At 7/20/2007 3:31 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Well, as a Mavericks fan, I was hoping it would be Salvatore, but alas, Donaghy didn't work any games during our 06 run to the Finals. He did work Game 3 of the Warriors series, FWIW.

 
At 7/20/2007 4:21 PM, Blogger Tim said...

The real victims in point shaving schemes, are, of course, anyone loony enough to gamble on sporting events. The very notion of point spreads practically demands things like this will happen, it's water running downhill. I'm actually happy about this, because it might save some idiots from the sharks. Looking forward to Simmons's take.

 
At 7/20/2007 5:04 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

aaron--

in the same way that most people found bogut's comments to have racial undertones, the whole "stern as puppetmaster" thing makes me a little uncomfortable. he's the most jewy jew in all of sports, and here he is regularly accused of engineering outcomes. that and praised for his guile and shrewdness.

plus, if it weren't for his genetic predisposition for moneymaking, more people would be saying that someone else should be brought in to save the league.

 
At 7/20/2007 5:19 PM, Blogger R.G. said...

You think Billy Crystal was on the take in "Forget Paris?" At least that would have made that movie somewhat tolerable to watch.

 
At 7/20/2007 5:23 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Imagine being that referee when David Stern calls him. It'll probably be like that scene in "The Fifth Element" when Gary Oldman's character talks to Mr. Shadow over the phone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H10zdd9t1tc

 
At 7/20/2007 6:24 PM, Blogger Aaron said...

The Jewish sense of humor is our own worst enemy isn't it?

 
At 7/21/2007 12:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"plus, if it weren't for his genetic predisposition for moneymaking, more people would be saying that someone else should be brought in to save the league."

I'll be damned if that isn't the saddest fact to grace this site in a fortnight.

 
At 7/21/2007 3:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does the loss of Kurt Thomas affect the identity of the Suns?

 
At 7/21/2007 5:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How does the loss of Kurt Thomas affect the identity of the Suns?"

To me, it only cements it. The only bigs they have on the roster right now is Amare, Shawn, and Boris. Thats like D'Antoni making the statement that he's going to continue to go small and never change. That, and it continues the identity that Sarver is the cheapest GM in basketball.

 
At 7/21/2007 1:01 PM, Blogger crazylegsjackson said...

Kurt Thomas is about defense.

The Suns are not about defense.

While relatively insignificant, this move is a relief for me as a Suns fan and a fan of FD ball. Makes me think the Suns are only going to get more kinetic and frenetic under Kerr-D'Antoni rule.

 
At 7/21/2007 2:24 PM, Blogger endlessscott said...

I have that fishtank...

 
At 7/21/2007 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kobe is going to have the best year of his career from outside the arc.

 
At 7/21/2007 9:46 PM, Anonymous johnny5 said...

Deciding not to pay 16mil for Crazy Eyes while you already have one of the highest payrolls in basketball does not make you the Cheapest GM (you mean owner) in Basketball. I'll miss him, though.

 

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