Under the Radar

Will Tim Donaghy's Book Bring Down the NBA?


Smart gamblers stay away from basketball because they know the games are the most easily fixed. 

There are only ten players on the court, so it's easier for one or two guys to change the outcome of a game. Since the games move at such a quick pace with fewer breaks in the action than football or baseball, the refs can have an enormous influence on outcomes by calling (or not calling) fouls.

Disgraced NBA ref Tim Donaghy, convicted of giving insider tips on NBA games to professional gamblers, used his fifteen-month prison stay to pen Blowing the Whistle: The Culture of Fraud in the NBA, an exposé of not-so-honorable tactics used by both refs and the NBA league office.

Once Random House announced a release date for Donaghy's book, the NBA's lawyers went into overdrive and intimidated the publisher into canceling the book.

Deadspin obtained an advance copy of Blowing the Whistle and has published excerpts that include allegations about referee gambling, personal prejudices of individual officials in favor or or against certain players or teams and orders from the league office that certain players shouldn't be touched.

"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."

ESPN reports that the NBA has now responded to the Deadspin post, promising to look into the allegations in a book the league didn't read before they shut it down.

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