Monday, June 15, 2009

Was that the NBA or the WWF?

Now that the playoffs are over, I can finally give my assessment of playoffs. Congratulations to the Lakers on what was proven to be a well deserved championship. Credos to the Magic who are an up and coming team and sure to hear more of them in the future. They managed to get to the finals when it was clear they weren't suppose to. It was obvious from day one that Stern wanted a Kobe vs. Lebron finals. The ratings from such a final would had not only gone through the stratosphere , but to the moon. I'm sure many have heard this before because I know I have, but after 32 years I've been watching the NBA, this year's playoffs were some of the worse I've ever seen. Mainly the reason was the officiating. Stern can fine the players and coaches, but I'm not part of the NBA so I still have the freedom of speech to tell what I think of the officiating: it was downright terrible. Consistently inconsistent, incompetent, and at times wondered if there were officials in the game or was I watching a game on the playground.

The NBA is gaining a reputation that the commissioner, Stern, is rigging the games. I remember the years that the Mavericks won 64 games, but Cuban kept insulting the Commissioner and the officials. He had assessed over $1 million in fines (he's a billionaire, so it was pocket change for him). When the Conference Finals came, I knew that they would lose because there was no way Stern was going to have the Mavericks with all Cuban had done to expose the corruption by this small and pathetic man in the Finals. Turns out they lost in 6 games and were lucky to win the two they did. The officiating was very suspect there and still is now. In 2002, the Kings were clearly robbed by horrible officiating in Game 6 and the Kings shot themselves in the foot in Game 7 with poor free throw shooting and lost the series. It was one of the worse kept secrets that Stern didn't want two small market teams in the finals (New Jersey had already won their series) so had the memo out that the Kings are to lose. Had the Kings not shot themselves in game 7, a game that never should had been played, Stern's plan would had failed.

Officials can rig a game only so far. However, this year, the officiating was so awful that everybody was complaining and rightfully so. What I saw this year was a complete travesty. I am a softball umpire and was a basketball referee for two years but got out. I wasn't a good referee and felt that the game would be better served if I wasn't. I knew my limitations and accepted and did what was right. However, with Stern, he backs up the incompetent group and they were mainly just plain incompetent this year and clearly were given memos about how to officiate some games. Game 3 of the Denver-Mavericks was a prime example. Sure the official couldn't know if he would hit the three, but he ignored the obvious foul to give them the chance and it paid off. Those fouls are automatic and egregious. That no call was either complete incompetent or trying to let the Nuggets steal the win. I'll wager if they had missed, they would had checked to see if a foul was committed and put them on the free throw line. Among other comedies of errors there were missed calls on given fouls, first and ten's that were allowed, two point shots called 3's, missed 24 second violations (one of the officials in the finals had missed like 6 of them during the playoffs). How do you miss that call? The clock makes a distinct buzzer sound and the ball must be out of the players hand and touch the rim. Many bizarre calls, both no calls and fouls on people that weren't in the area. I mean it really looked more like the WWF than the NBA this year.

My biggest gripe isn't so much the bad, incompetent, or the rigging of games by the officials. I'm sure they're getting their orders or at least rewarded for their incompetence by Stern. He's discriminating as well. Not one official in the finals was over 60 years of ages (there are 4 officials 60 or over). Only one was in the playoffs. The most experience officials weren't in the playoffs this year and the most inexperience, other that Joe Crawford who's nick name is Nitro for a good reason, he has a bad temper. Not a good trait for an official. This man pays himself in secret, he does the ping pong balls with a tech in secret so we only have his word of the order the balls came out. He's evasive and acts like a cretin. Frankly, I like to see him removed as Commissioner. Dishonest and secretive men like Stern aren't fit to be running a hot dog stand, much less the NBA. As long as he's commissioners, the officials are going to continue to be bad, corrupt and incompetent. As long as he's commissioner, the NBA is going to become more like the WWF and we already have a WWF. We don't need another. And a great game will be destoryed.

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