If you ever thought NBA games were fixed, you might be right. The New York Post is reporting that, as part of an investigation into organized crime, an NBA official was allegedly gambling on games that he officiated. The referee would make calls to affect the point spread. According to the article, the referee is aware of the investigation and will surrender next week.
The article alleges that the referee in question had a gambling problem and eventually owed the mob so much money that he began to fix games for them.
The NBA’s only statement thus far has been: “We have been asked by the FBI, with whom we are working closely, not to comment on this matter at this time.”
Darth Stern is most displeased.
Update 2:45pm: The Boston Globe is reporting the official is Tim Donaghy. According to the article:
Donaghy made headlines in 2003 when he gave a technical to then-Blazers forward Rasheed Wallace during a game in Portland, and was then confronted by the player on the loading docks of the Rose Garden afterward.
Update 5:30pm: Commissioner Stern has released the following official statement on NBA.com.
“As we previously stated, we have been cooperating with the FBI in their investigation of allegations that a single NBA referee bet on NBA games that he officiated. As part of that cooperation, we were asked by the Government not to comment about the investigation, but in light of the widespread press coverage and the naming of the referee, Tim Donaghy, we consider it appropriate to make a fuller statement.
“We would like to assure our fans that no amount of effort, time or personnel is being spared to assist in this investigation, to bring to justice an individual who has betrayed the most sacred trust in professional sports, and to take the necessary steps to protect against this ever happening again. We will have more to say at a press conference that will be scheduled for next week.”
More interestingly, and article was uncovered dating back to 2004 where Phil Jackson and Shaquille O’Neal made comments about the game being “predetermined”. The referee was Donaghy.