Any athlete would tell you if you've left the outcome of the game in the hands
of the officials, you haven't done your job. Sure Jordan pushed off, but that
was after stripping the ball off Malone at the other end.The Jazz
need to win a championship in the next few years(preferably while Sloan is still
here) so we can stop dwelling on this. Some very painful memories, these.
Great article. Whether Jerry will admit it or not, I will...those horrible
calls have haunted me for years. And I hadn't remembered that Bavetta was the
one reffing that game...in light of Donaghy's allegations, it's all starting to
add up now. The Bulls certainly didn't want a Game 7 of that series when it
would have been played in SLC and Jazz had home court advantage. It's likely
the Jazz could have pulled that off, and without Bavetta there to nudge it
Chicago's way, MJ's legacy could have been tainted with a Finals loss...can't
have that. In a game decided by 1 point, those 5 points loom large. Who says a
ref making 1 or 2 bad calls a game can't influence the outcome?
Sloan has the right attitude!
I love it. Sloan says "you could drive yourself crazy" by over analyzing a game
that happened 10 years ago, a game whose outcome can't be changed. And then the
rest of the article does exactly that.
It's fine to let it go and not dwell on it...after the situation has been
rectified so that same referee can't do the same thing to other teams in the
future. By not protesting with the league, by not making an issue out of it, by
not drawing public and media attention to the obvious blown calls, how do you
expect NBA refs to improve their game or stop cheating because they think no one
will challenge them on it? If you roll over and let them walk over you, they
will keep right on walking, which they have, evidenced by Kobe's 19 FT attempts
per game average in this year's Jazz-Lakers series. The league has mechanisms
in place to for teams to protest referee behavior and the league has methods for
disciplining referees. There is no shame in using these when the same referee
makes so many "errors" in critical playoff games. Why do you accept his late
apology? Isn't part of being sorry not continuing to make the same types of
"mistakes"? You formally protest to the league-through the media-and THEN you
let it go so it doesn't eat you up inside.
I love this article. And anyone who doesn't think referees don't have a say in
the outcome of close games is fooling themselves. But like Sloan says, "What
are going to do?" Dwelling on what might have been is just a waste of time.
It's just a game. Everybody is still getting rich off the game and us common
folks still pay to watch it. So what ARE you going to do?Can I just
add one more comment? Delaney makes me sick the way he says "this is not the
first time a known convicted criminal has lied about me before the judicial
system" wanting to remind us all of his "heroic" days as an undercover cop. He
has proven on the basketball court that he is not a hero, he is a coward who
can't even stand-up to some hostile basketball fans. He's a disgrace to all the
good cops who put their lives on the line every day.
wasn't that bad. Russell was already on the ground at that point. What gets me
is when they called Russell for the ghost-carry earlier in the game. I remember
it was a tense play with momentum starting to swing the Jazz's way, and they
call a carry on Russell. It's another example of how letting things slip over
the years has given the refs power to call or not call whatever they want
whenever they feel like they need to swing the momentum.
For people who watched Game 6, Jordan's legacy is already tainted. It's not his
fault, so I feel sorry for him in a way.Coach Sloan sets a good
example for the rest of us. Sure he came within a few blown calls of a
championship, but that was years and years ago, and he moved on right away. How
nice if we could all leave the past in the past, in sports and otherwise.
I agree. Let's just accept the fact that the NBA (National Basketball
Entertainment) is good, clean sports entertainment fun for the whole family
(Gambino, or otherwise) and move on, for crying out loud!
Fix the problem. It DOES matter, even 10 years later because it did not get
Do they have to bring up those painful memories from that game? I had almost
forgotten about it, when they have to bring it up yet again. First, I think
Dick Bavetta should hang it up. Whether he was involved in fixing any games or
not is another story, but that dude is so old how can anyone expect him to be a
top notch ref? He was old in 98 and he's still in the league. I don't get it.
Anyway, as far as game 6 in the 98 finals, it definitely is a tough game to
think about when replay shows two bad calls involving shots, went against Utah.
The Michael Jordan "pushoff" wouldn't have mattered had those other 2 calls been
correct. Who knows what would have happened in game 7 if Utah had won, but
unfortunately, we'll never know.
The Jordan "push-off" has been overblown so much with time. It has gotten worse
as the years have gone on. He didn't push Russell to the ground, no way. Did
he use his hand to get some separation? Totally, but he didn't shove Russell to
the ground. I remember watching it live and never saw Jordan touch him. It
took the third replay at a different angle to see that Jordan put his hand on
Russell. Plus at that stage of the game, the refs let them play. That's the
way basketball is. A no-call was the right decision. Harper's shot probably
shouldn't have counted but you have to look at the replay frame by frame to see
that it came just a fraction after the shot-clock expired. That's a tough call
full speed. Hard to blame the refs for that. However the Eisley shot is
inexcusable. We were ripped off on that for sure. Does it make a difference by
the time the final buzzer sounds? Possibly but there was so much basketball
left after that shot. It was ten years ago, we all need to let it go (me
How come nobody is mentioning how dirty a player John Stockton was and that he
got away with more uncalled fouls than anyone during his career? I bet you
weren't thinking about that for the last 10 years.
The NBA is fixed! I love the Jazz and I have followed them religiously since
1979 when they moved to Utah. The sad thing is I will most likely give up on
watching the Jazz also as the NBA moves closer and closer to Pro-Wrestling.
The worst call was not mentioned. The series before the famous Jordan push off,
MJ stole the ball from Karl Malone by slapping down on Malone's forearm. In the
replay, Bavetta was standing right beside the players, looking right at the
play. He saw that foul and never blew the whistle. Then Jordan went down to
the other end of the court, shoved Bryon Russell, and won a title.
I can't believe the words that were typed by Bill. John was not a dirty player,
he was a tough player. One who set picks, took charges, etc. Give me a break
Bill.. Go back and watch the games again.. Sounds to me like a little
Josh is right. You can't leave it in the refs hands. Jordan's shove was
questionable at best even with the replays, it was ticky-tack. Stockton and
Malone used to do the same thing. Basketball is best when there is some
contact. This isn't golf. But there was nothing questionable about Malone
getting stripped. Why is nobody blaming him? The two shot-clock violations
that went against us hurt but you can't just say "there is a five point swing,
hence we would have won by four." You just can't say that. Were there any
questionable calls that went against the Bulls? Probably. Maybe I'm just
getting old but it seems to me like the refs are worse in today's game than 10
years ago. I think they are all corrupt today but I just don't have that view
for years past, and that includes the 1998 finals.
Get a life Bill. They only thing ANYBODY has on Stockton is he was always able
to get position on the opponent to make them commit an offensive foul. He
didn't foul and get away with it.Real mature picking somebody that
Watch the replay again. On the steal, Jordan slapped the ball and Malone's hand
which is part of the ball. He did not hack his arm. Now you're just grasping
at straws. If we are going to mention every little thing here, how about
Jordan's layup that brought the Bulls to within 1. He was surrounded by three
Jazz as he went up for the shot, bumped numerous times along the way. No foul.
Must be a conspiracy.
Chuck, thanks for the post, I was waiting patiently for an "un-biased" Jazz fan
to debate my point. The NBA is fixed, the Bulls didn't deserve to be champs,
Jordan wasn't good he had the refs in his back pocket and Stockton wasn't dirty,
he was "tough". I remember an SI or ESPN article from the 90s that asked
current players who they thought were the dirtiest. Malone, Laimbeer and
Stockton were the top three. Thanks again Chuck, you made my day. Oh and to "re Bill", isn't Jordan retired too?
Cmon guys, I'm a diehard Jazz fan and we can debate the 98 finals or the refs or
the pushoff or whatever. But it is pretty common knowledge that Stockton was
one of the dirtiest players of all time. Let's get down from the soapbox.
The NBA game will change when/if the fans demand it by not watching or attending
games. Tell the commish why you are not watching and follow through. The
problem is that it would hurt the local team, and if it isn't done league wide
nothing will happen.
Let's all take the same degree of emotion and put it into somthing we have
control over: Stopping the Osama-Obama/Socialist express!
I'm moving on. Does it seem to anyone else that with a week before the nba
draft the Jazz have had very few work outs with draft prospects? Is there a
trade set up, do they already have it worked out to get what they want?
I seem to also recall another controversial call (or non-call) involving a Jeff
Horny 3-pointer in that game, sometime either late 3rd or early 4th. I can't
recall the exact situation, if it was another shot clock violation called that
should not have been, if they said he toe was on the line for a 3 when it
wasn't...something along those lines. Anyone recall? In any case, I believe
this was another horrible call and the kind that shouldn't be missed - a
non-judgement call. Fouls like the MJ one on B-Russ are calls that I can
swallow easier, though it did seem like a push.
no2ndOsama, have you forgotten it was George Bush Sr.'s families that had such
close ties with the Bin Laden family? Have you forgotten George W. Bush has
failed 7 years later to capture the man responsible for the attack that has
killed 3000 Americans on American soil? And you're worried about Obama? I agree the Jazz got hosed in the Eisley call and the Harper call, those
are both reviewable and should've been fixed... I've always thought the push off
on Russell was ok, no way any ref makes that call in the closing seconds.
People need to remember that the Jazz and Karl Malone benefitted from the refs
for many years. Malone led the league in FT attempts something like 7 or 8
times, while Jordan led once, and Kobe led once... we've gotten our share of
The NBA is fixed??? Really.... well it I guess it really benefited the league
when San Antonio, the 38th largest media market, won the championship three
times. They probably loved setting up that boring, barely-watched Detroit/Spurs
series. Everyone is the recipient of bad calls, everyone feels liked they're
picked on, every team that loses in the playoffs feels like 'The Man' is keeping
them down. Let's remember, the Jazz had the ball with under a minute
to go and a one-point lead. Karl got stripped and we didn't even get a shot off.
Then, after Jordan's eventual game-winner, we still had plenty of time to come
up with one of our own, but we didn't even get a shot off. Whose fault is that?
Some of the calls were bad, but when you have multiple chances to win, whose
fault is it really?
Dick Bevetta came out in the last couple of years and admitted they missed both
24-second calls 'debated' here and elsewhere.The debate is moot. We
have the video evidence and Bavetta admitted it - belatedly.
I agree with 400ex, lets just move on... the '98 finals is an ancient and
exhausted debate. I think the Jazz have had few workouts because they have a
very well stocked roster already. I'm guessing their going to trade away some
or all of their 3 picks. If they keep one, I'm hoping they do get Roy Hibbert,
but its starting to look like they may need to trade up a little to get him.
Yeah, Russell got pushed a bit to create space, Howard Eisley got robbed, and
Ron Harper got away with one. That's not evidence of a conspiracy though.
Consider this... 1997, Western Conference Finals Game 6... John Stockton's
miracle shot (anyone remember how great that was?? I was watching while working
for a caterer, and I burst out of the kitchen and started hugging random guests
at the wedding!). Great moment in Jazz lore, but go watch the replay on Youtube
sometime. Karl Malone literally bear-hugged Clyde Drexler to keep him from
contesting Stockton's shot. It was up to Barkley to rumble out and try to
challenge it, but he had no chance.The bottom line is this: calls go
both ways. We got bailed out with a no-call in that game, we lost after a (few)
tough no calls in the Finals the next year. Not a conspiracy, just life.
The Jazz had their chances. If Karl Malones has any clue that Jordan stopped
following Hornacek through the key and came back, Malone hits Horney for an easy
lay up and the Bulls would have to hit a 3 just to send it to overtime.Don't forget that AFTER Jordans game winning shot, Stockton had a WIDE OPEN
THREE AND HE MISSED when the ball hit the back of the rim and bounced out.
There were calls the Jazz got hosed on, but they still could have won that game,
if they would have just executed one more time.
As I recall there is a NBA ref that is admitting to fixing games for all the
gambling refs and also because the NBA told him to fix games.
So Bill... If I understand your point, you're saying that because John Stockton
was a "dirty" player and somehow received preferential treatment, that now
justifies all bad calls/no-calls. Is that right?I may be confused
but it sounds to me like your post might be "biased" toward bashing John
Stockton rather than about the quality of NBA officiating.
NBA officiating has played a big part in who wins important games, yes there are
series that the officiating can't control i.e. the sweep of the Lakers prior to
the finals. On the other hand the officials have determined who won. The NBAs
mouthpieces continually talked up the desired finals teams which they got and
see who is officiating these important games. Stern does not have to make calls
or talk to anyone, they just assign those company officials to the games. Trust
me Donaghy is not the only one who is dirty. What about those that were
convicted of tax evasion for selling their 1st class plane tickets and buying
coach tickets and pocketing the difference and some of those were never fired
and then there is Joey Crawford. What is he doing blowing the whistle again
especially games involving the Spurs. For these reasons and many more I don't
think we can take the NBA any more seriously than the WWE.
No2nd Osama,From a "vicious Mormon Jazz fan" I tell you to shut up
with your Obama bashing. Obama will be a much better president than George W.
Bush. And contrary to what many Deseret News reading think, you can be a "card
holding" Mormon Democrat! I do not have a major problem with Jordan's steal of
Malone, even though he did hit Malone's hand, or Jordan's pushoff on Bryon
Russell. Referees almost always swallow their whistles in those situations at
the end of games, especially in the playoffs, even more so in the Finals.
Michael Jordan was never going to be called for a foul in those situations. The
referees generally give the benefit of the doubt to the road team, because they
are playing so well in a hostile environment, if they are still in the game like
the Bulls were, only down one point. My problem is that Bavetta and company
waved off Eisley's three and tacked on Harper's late 2-pointer. The Bulls would
have been down by six when Jordan stole the ball from Malone and there would
have been a game 7. Although no ones knows who would have won game 7 in SLC.
"readers" not reading
The truth of the matter is that NBA officiating is inconsistent at best, biased
at worst. The NBA is a business with a focus on making as much money as
possible. Stars and large markets drive more revenue. Anyone who claims that
these factors don't have some influence on officiating is wearing some serious
blinders. While some big Orwellian type control or conspiracy is
highly unlikely, I beg someone to definitively show that there are not multiple
standards applied to overall NBA officiating. In regard to GIVE IT
UP's post about San Antonio - they are/were loaded with stars with appeal
outside their home market. Also keep in mind that there are some
teams that have enough talent and focus that the quality of officiating has
little bearing on the outcome of games. The true championship caliber teams are
the ones that can transcend the external factors and win regardless. Unfortunately, the Jazz have never been at that level. Love or hate MJ, his
competitive fire could always elevate him to a higher level in tight situations.
Stock had some of that too but didn't have the same athletic ability. Malone
couldn't elevate his game leaving us 0-for-2.
To: Jerry, Jerry, JerryWhistle blowers always lose. Do you know what
would happen to Jerry Sloan if he publicly complained about calls and questioned
the integrity of the NBA officials? Jeff Van Gundy did it and look what happened
to him! We would get even less calls and even more unfair officiating the next
time around. Thats why you can't dwell on it!To: Give it upWhen people say the NBA is fixed they are not claiming that the best team
never wins. Its just that in close games in crucial juntures the calls always
seem to go the the team with the biggest star and market. If the game isn't
close it can't happen. So between two pretty evenly matched teams the officials
can make a huge difference. You can try as hard as you want to convince me the
Lakers are better than the Jazz this year and you will never do it. Its just
that the Jazz and Lakers are pretty evenly matched and so his royal highness
Kobe and the Lakers got the calls and the series!Lot of good it did
them cause they ran into Boston who actually plays defense!
No bias here Tuffy, I have nothing against dirty players. It takes all kinds to
make the NBA and world go around. My point is let's be honest. Stockton got
away with as many non-calls as anyone. Things have a way of evening themselves
out. Kind of like this thread. When I first read it, all I saw was the Jazz
got robbed and every call went against them. Now I look back and the last few
posters have offered a less one-sided opinion. Not wrong or right, just
The question I have is would there have been a foul called on Russell if Jordan
had missed the shot? None of the players wants to find out there efforts were in
vain. It takes all of the sense of accomplishment and pride away from the game
if the refs have been slanting the games. But, it's hard to ignore the blatant
missed calls and questionable calls that seem to control the flow of the game so
often. I laugh when they are asked, "Coach, What do you need to do to win the
game?" The bottom line is put the ball thru the hoop more often than your
opponents. Score enough points by a big enough margin and the bad calls don't
hurt so much. If the starters are on the bench in foul trouble, then the bench
has to pick up the slack. Use their talent and hustle!!!
NBA = WWEI defy anyone to show us the NBA rule book, and then hold
it up to any game played and you will see that there are no rules. Three steps
after picking up the dribble? What's with the 'bunny hop' where you take two
steps, jump up, come down on both feet, and then jump up to the basket?Where is the rule that says you can only push the basketball down when you
dribble, you can't push it from the side, and you can't palm it and curl you
hand over it as you move down the court.What's with the pansy half
circle under the basket where the offensive player cannot be stopped?How
can a game like the NBA be refereed by only three old guys, watching ten
players abuse each other, and calling a foul sometimes, but never at the end of
the game "that is the time when the are gonna let them play" Horse pucky! The
rules change as the game clock starts to run down????Besides,
calling a foul when the shot is good, is ridiculous. If he was fouled, how did
he get the shot to go in?
Calls can go either way, we tend to ignore the ones that go for us. A
championship team needs to be good enough to not let the outcome rest with the
refs. Boston is a good example. They won by 39 points and there is no debate
who is the better team. The Bulls won the two titles because they hit the
bigger shots. Losing to the greatest player in the history of the NBA is not a
bad consolation prize.
John, maybe you'd like to bring back the peach baskets and underhand foul shots.
Political extrapolation? If you're afraid of a socialist transfer of power
you're likely a irrational fascist bastard republican. The present fascist Bush
regime has blatantly looted America for it's own personal agenda. Reality is,
your grand childrens' children will still be shouldering the debt of this global
mis-appropriation. Perhaps socialist control cannot possibly remedy the
situation in the next 4 - 8 years however, it's imperative to stop the
hemoraging of US dollars directed solely at the gain of an elite few. The world
is a crooked unsavory place beyond my comprehension. Not surprisingly the NBA
is not immune. Prevailing practice mostly lacks integrity. EVERYWHERE! Who's
looking at you when you stare at a mirror?
Jerry please do us all a favor and retire after anotherearly exit in the
playoffs. I am so grateful you havebeen our coach during all of these
early exits, butthe time has come, please some younger coach who can
relate to the players of todays game take over and also a coach who will defend
the 3 point shot.Please Larry recover quickly and find us a new mentor.
Yes, people the NBA is Fixed operation. We have a former official saying he
fixed games he worked so he and other gamblers could benefit financially. He has
also claimed other officials are involved along with the NBA office!! What else
do you need? Remember, alot of officials were involved in cashing in Airlines
tickets for money a few years back. In other words, these officials know whats
going on. Its not a one man operation. I quess alot of people will just bury
their head in the sand and refuse to believe it and the NBA will feed us with
all kinds of propaganda saying it isn't true. It has become wrestling in shorts
for big money. I left the NBA as a fan after that 98 series with the bulls
because I knew something wasn't right with the officiating. As it turns out, I
may be right that bavetta had a hand in the outcome. I havent attended a game
since and I will not in the future. Good luck NBA, I'll stick with the NFL.
@ John have you ever actually played basketball? @
everybody elseI don't think any ref in the NBA then or now is going
to call a push-off foul on Jordan at the end of that game, even halfway through
the first quarter that is a no-call 95% of the time. That was poor defence by
Russel, I don't care what he tells himself or the media, he didn't even get a
hand up on that shot.Fact: NBA Referees have intentionally changed
the outcome of games. That is indesputable, one of them was caught in the act
and admitted doing it. However, that does not mean all NBA games
are fixed, in fact I would say that most of them aren't.The thing I
find most interesting is that there has been rumors floating around, ever since
I can remember and long before Donaghy, about the NBA encouraging officials to
call important swing games involving big market teams (like game 3 when they are
down 0-2, or game 6 down 2-3) , in favor of said big market teams. The more I
watch the NBA the more I think there is some merit to those rumors.
Stockton was not a dirty player he set screens legally within the frame work of
the rules and the offense.
It should not matter what time of the game it is, who the player is, what the
score is, or anything else. A foul is a foul. People make mistakes but come
on, the jazz were robbed because they didn't have the nba marketing machine (MJ
at that time) on there team. Now that he is gone they need the lakers to play
the celtics to keep the new marketing machine going. its a crock!!! Jordan is
not as good as his stats and records show. Malone is a deadbeat
dad.Jordan is a deadbeat dad, husband and a gambler.Stockton was a
classy player and family man.Kobe is a deadbeat husband/ thugNBA is a deadbeat organization and people should boycott it.Obama
is a deadbeat all around and there is no way his socialist-heavy government
waste is going to help this country at all.Amen
down with obama
I used to complain about the Jordan push-off and this game has, admittedly,
haunted me. However, I have realized in the last while that if it is a call that
is so debated, it probably wasn't that bad and I don't think I saw it until the
replays. By the way, kudos to Joel for his comments--they were quality! Anyway,
most things were questionable, except the Howard Eisley 3-point shot being
negated. That was one call I just couldn't understand, but regardless, it was a
great game and too bad the Jazz couldn't be ahead by a few more points near the
end so it wouldn't be as controversial. Also, Bryon Russell is to be commended
for his class act comments about the no-call.
Stupid Dick Bavetta.
NBA is tainted by the refs. How often do you here about the refs and or umps in
other leagues talked about for there horrendous calls.(hardly ever) Yet NBA
officials are talked about daily for there calls. Its the only league where the
stars get the no calls and rookies get every call against them. I honestly would
like to see just one game where all calls were justified. Its unbelievable at
times to watch some of the calls. Refs making calls from the other side of the
floor when there is a ref right there. A call made at one end and then at the
other end a similar play happens and a no call. We need some
consistency from these refs. It should not matter what your name is either. Who
doesn't remember "the Jordan Rules". That is a mockery of NBA officiating cause
they usually gave Jordan an advantage. We all knew it and so did the players.
Not Jordan's fault but Stern's fault. He could have dealt with this a long time
ago and shaped these guys up but never has which makes you wonder if he wants
the superstars in the finals.
That series was rigged. Bavetta was paid by some big time gamblers to make
those calls. The other refs probably were paid off as well. The Eisley shot
was the most obvious, followed closely by the other two missed calls. Why
didn't the other refs say that Eisleys shot went in??? Was nobody watching???
That wasn't even a question.Boo David Stern for letting this happen.
I loved how he was booed by Boston even after they had just won the
championship. The NBA needs to fire all the refs in question and really address
this problem to make the fans trust the league again. Thanks Tim
Daughnahy for being honest.
I try to move on from that horrible game six. I don't worry about the Jordan
push because it never should have come to that. The Eisley three ball was a
horrible call, and as I recall there was a three from Chicago that was released
well after the shot clock that was counted wrongly. There's a six point swing
there so it would have negated Jordan's "Heroics." I realize we can't have it
back but when I see similar things going on today with officiating it haunts me.
The only way you can win legitimately in the NBA is to blow every team out and
not even give the Refs/League a chance to interfere. If you give them an inch
they'll take it and more. David Stern gives off the appearance of virtue but
truth be told he wreaks of corruption and has since he took over. It is no
coincidence that since he became commissioner officiating contoversies always
seem to arise. I have no confidence in the NBA- it stinks. As they bombard us
with "NBA Cares" ads during the season it really tells me they care alright-
about making money by giving the big markets the title.
Didn't I read these Sloan quotes in a D-News story last week?
I agree with you totally! Is college basketball officiating any different? Too
much of the game at either level is controlled by "judgement" calls and there is
no consistency in what is an offensive foul. I guess it all depends on what "is"
Lakers and Lakers ditto, Seriously, you two need to get out of bed
with George W. and get lives. Travel to almost any country in the world. They
hate Bush and have a more negative view of the U.S. than during the Clinton era.
If the Jazz can learn to win on the road next year, which they could not very
well this year, they will be in the 2009 NBA Finals! Assuming they can go 37-4
or better at home again. Mark my words!
I can't believe this article had to explain who John and Karl are!