Posted by: Jeremy | October 29, 2009

If you can’t trust an NBA ref, then who can you trust?


Turns out Donaghy isn't the only dirtbag amongst NBA refs

Remember Tim Donaghy, the NBA ref that was banished from the league and sent to jail for betting on games? Well, when he wasn’t busy getting beaten up, he was writing a book that exposed his former co-workers for the massive fraud they too are. His tell-all, “Blowing the Whistle”, was set to be published next month before the NBA threatened to sue. Nevertheless, the P.I.s at Deadspin got an advanced copy of the book and published some excerpts yesterday.

Included in Donaghy’s book are accounts of how NBA refs took bets to see who would be the first to call a foul, with the first having to tip the ballboy, who doubled as their locker room attendant. That, he says, often led to games going two or three minutes off the tip without a whistle, since nobody wanted to pay up. Yeah, that makes sense, you know, because the games are actually about the referees, not the players (Actually they’re not. Note to NBA refs: You’re nobody.) He also talks of how they’d team up to call technical fouls on the league’s “bad boys” for the slightest show of protest, and gives an account of how they all agreed to screw over Allen Iverson in a 2007 game because A.I. said he thought Steve Javie (a fellow ref) had it in for him when Donaghy admitted he actually did.

The most interesting excerpts have to do with everyone’s favourite old man, Dick Bavetta. On the hilarious side, he claims Bavetta is so obsessed with hearing his name on TV that he hired someone to take note of every mention and calls her after each game for a recap. On the other hand, Donaghy claims working with Bavetta was “like pursuing a graduate degree in advanced game manipulation”. He gives a few examples of Bavetta handing a couple key playoff games to the Lakers, namely Game 7 of the 2000 Western Finals against the Blazers and Game 6 of the 2002 Western Finals against the Kings. According to Donaghy, before the latter, Bavetta said, “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.”

Anyway, plenty more excerpts in Deadspin’s story, so check it out. And I thought MLB umpires were bums



  1. Wow, so Bavetta is in it for more than a kiss on the mouth from Charles Barkley. Unbelevable.

    I was kind of hoping the replacement refs would be around all season. They’d make mistakes, but at least they’d be focused on calling the games right, instead of how many points they can shave.

  2. It drives me crazy watching Raps game and listening to Devlin and Leo ass kiss these guys all night too. Unfortunately the refs didn’t get their way last night with LeBron losing…

  3. […] when he’s finished leaving his mark on games this season. In case you missed it, the infamous Tim Donaghy said working with the 69-year-old Bavetta was “like pursuing a graduate degree in advanced game manipulation” in a tell-all that the […]

  4. […] really could’ve gone either way, so I’m guessing the savvy, motivated crew of NBA refs had their money on Denver from the get-go. Hey, I’m not gonna fight it — any loss by a mediocre Eastern Conference team benefits […]

  5. […] Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because she’s the only female or that I think she Donaghys games — I just think she’s a horrible game-caller. Steve Nash seems to agree, as […]

  6. […] Violet Palmer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because she’s the only female or that I think she Donaghys games — I just think she’s a horrible game-caller. Steve Nash seems to agree, as evidenced by […]

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