Tim Donaghy’s Book Has Great Dirt on NBA Refs | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Tim Donaghy’s Book Has Great Dirt on NBA Refs

Timdbook Former NBA referee and infamous gambler Tim Donaghy wrote a book titled, "Blowing the Whistle: The Culture of Fraud in the NBA."

It was slated for publication later this month, until the NBA threatened to sue the publisher.

The book which you will never read confirms our biggest fears, the league ordered referees to sway the outcome of certain games and playoff series.

I will warn you, it contains despicable stuff. Enough to forever taint your opinion of the NBA. 

While the book remains locked up in a warehouse, fortunately for us, some excerpts were released:

On the infamous 2002 Western Conference finals matchup between LA and Sacramento:

In the pregame meeting prior to Game 6, the league office sent down
word that certain calls-calls that would have benefitted the Lakers —
were being missed by the referees. This was the type of not-so-subtle
information that I and other referees were left to interpret. After
receiving the dispatch, Bavetta openly talked about the fact that the
league wanted a Game 7.

"If we give the benefit of the calls to the team that's down in the
series, nobody's going to complain. The series will be even at three
apiece, and then the better team can win Game 7," Bavetta stated.

On Denver's quest for a playoff bid in 2003-04:

Bavetta told me Denver needed the win and that it would look bad for
the staff and the league if the Nuggets missed the playoffs by one
game. There were still a few games left on the schedule before the end
of the season, and the standings could potentially change. But on that
day in Oakland, Bavetta looked at me and casually stated, "Denver will
win if they need the game. That's why I'm on it."

I was thinking, How is Denver going to win on the road in San
Antonio? At the time, the Spurs were arguably the best team in the
league. Bavetta answered my question before it was asked.

"Duncan will be on the bench with three fouls within the first five minutes of the game," he calmly stated.

Bavetta went on to inform me that it wasn't the first time the NBA
assigned him to a game for a specific purpose. He cited examples,
including the 1993 playoff series when he put New Jersey guard Drazen Petrovic
on the bench with quick fouls to help Cleveland beat the Nets. He also
spoke openly about the 2002 Los Angeles–Sacramento series and called
himself the NBA's "go-to guy."

On star treatment:

If Kobe Bryant had two fouls in the first or second quarter and went to
the bench, one referee would tell the other two, "Kobe's got two fouls.
Let's make sure that if we call a foul on him, it's an obvious foul,
because otherwise he's gonna go back to the bench. If he is involved in
a play where a foul is called, give the foul to another player."

On how they repeatedly called palming on Allen Iverson as retaliation for his public rant against Steve Javie:

Sticking to our pregame pledge, each of us whistled Iverson for
palming in the first quarter-we all wanted in on the fun. The
violations seemed to affect Iverson's rhythm and he played terribly
that night, shooting 5-for-19 with five turnovers. After getting
repeatedly whistled all night long, Iverson approached me in an act of

"How long am I going to be punished for Javie?" he quietly inquired.

"Don't know what you're talking about, Allen," I responded.

I know, Tim Donaghy is a broke scumbag. But I find it hard to believe he could make up all the details in these stories. Be sure to check out the link to Deadspin for more excerpts.

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  • Danno

    I always knew Bavetta was a crooked motherfucker.

  • FSantos33

    Just the way of the Refereeing culture (Mobb/Stern) but it doesn’t make it right. These guys just got a new two year contract; just great, great. Was there any excerpts involving the Celtics? I didn’t find anything.

  • AboveTheRim

    So you’re saying at least 2 of Kobe’s rings should have asterisks by them.

  • Jason

    This is a messy situation. If true, it’s Black Sox and Pete Rose x 1000. It reduces the NBA to WWE status. By that fact alone, that this would be a systematic corruption, I have a hard time really buying it. Yes, the conspiracy theories are fun and mocking Stern and the refs are fun, and the refs certainly don’t help themselves by their atrocious performances, but these are very serious accusations.
    As for could if he fabricate stories like this? Absolutely. Adding pathological liar to the list of other degenerate stuff this guy is isn’t that much a stretch, especially if he’s in revenge mode. And just reading those anecdotes, they’re lame. If Bavetta is corrupt, you think he comes out and says, I’m the NBA’s go-to guy? When asked how the Spurs lose, a corrupt guy doesn’t come out and say it, he says “Don’t worry about it.”
    These stories seem like he made lame dialogue to fit every stereotype about the league and the refs.
    Look, I don’t want to be naive, but I don’t want to be gullible either. It’s really hard to say who’s being honest here, but Tim has near zero credibility and the systematic corruption is really a gigantic accusation that would essentially be like nothing else ever in sporting history. Can we really just take these excerpts at face value?

  • Idaho_Jim

    Which mulit million/billion dollar industry dosen’t have corruption and manipulation. ALL while claiming to be fair and transparent.
    Did anyone really think we’d be watching Den-Orl last year for the championship?
    If they did Iverson like that, did Cuban’s Mavs really have a chance against D-wades stardom. Touch foul anyone?
    TARP, IRAQ/AFGAHN, NBA, TV-Ad Revenue…$$$$
    Capitalism at its finest.

  • DRJ

    Donaghy certainly has credibility problems. And just as certainly, many of his stories are probably true, or mostly true. Think back… we’ve seen the refs sway games, over and over again. Calls that an infant wouldn’t make. Outright bias. We’ve been complaining about it for years. It never was possible for all that smoke to be there with no fire.
    Stern may have pulled the NBA out of the fire with the lawsuit threats that stopped publication. But… the problem for him is that we live in the age of hyper-information. The book will find its way out… already has. I love the Cs and all, but not the NBA in which they live. My hope is that there is an investigation, hopefully by Congress. If these allegations are true, let’s see more of these guys do the perp walk. And if Stern was in on any of it, let’s see him in cuffs.

  • idaho_ZEN_jim

    thrusday haiku:
    Sport is forever Pure
    Pro-Sport Has Intrinsic Taint
    Money and Power Corrupt

  • Lee

    I believe that NBA refs are crooked. For Donaghy to go behind their backs and let this out, it just shows how untrustworthy these guys really are. Being a ref for all these years had an effect on Donaghy’s choice to let this out.

  • Lee

    I wrote about this whole situation on my site. Tell me what you think: http://ltsports.net/2009/10/29/does-donaghys-book-reveal-something-about-refs-in-general/

  • It’s amazing that people still believe half of what they read.

  • Idaho Jim

    the guy was convicted of betting on games he worked. he got thrown under the bus by his company (nba), not surprising that he went back at them.
    everyone though jose canseco was a joke for his tell-all on steriods
    where there’s smoke…..

  • Bas Rutten Jr.

    Holy shit. 🙁