Brad Rock: NBA playoffs prove that there's no conspiracy

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  • Allthingsjazz SLC, ut
    May 13, 2011 11:02 a.m.

    I remember Larry Miller indicating that Stockton also wondered about how games were called. Even though Larry as an owner refused to believe it??

  • The Great Houdini Rye, CO
    May 13, 2011 3:47 a.m.

    The angel of STERN is/are in full command,don`t be fooled,he`s subtle,but in charge,NY might be the big market,but Boston,LA,Miami and Dallas have bigger fan bases,go ahead believe brad rock,I know it`s rigged,once in a while "stern" will let you think it`s all on the up and up,not so

  • Draft dumbie Farmington, UT
    May 12, 2011 10:06 a.m.

    The other thing I have noticed is that the NBA puts a muzzle on the national sportscasters, so that they do not point out when there has been a bad call in most instances--especially in the playoffs. When there is a "phantom" call that is called for the favored team, the sportscasters don't comment that they did not see a foul at all. Rather, they fail to show a replay, and make some comment about how the aggressive team gets the calls. When there is a lot of contact on a shot that does not get called (on the non-favored team), the sportscasters talk about how the favored team is playing good physical defense.

    Local sportscasters are not muzzled as much, whereas they can just be referred to as "homer" sportscasters, which ruins their credibility when commenting on bad calls.

  • Draft dumbie Farmington, UT
    May 12, 2011 9:54 a.m.

    Back in the Jazz hey day, noone can deny that Karl Malone got lots of calls he didn't deserve--as star treatment. Then, as he got into his twilight years, he no longer got those calls. The same thing is now happening with Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan. They are suddenly 20% less good, because they are no longer getting star treatment.

    On the flip side, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are nice young players, but they are 20% better (and their team is that much better), because they get star treatment--same as Dwayne Wade and LeBron James. For some reason, the NBA has never given Deron Williams much star treatment. I have seen Deron drive to the basket many times and get completely hammered, with no foul called. If that were one of the chosen "stars" the foul would have been called every time. Maybe now that Deron is in a big market, he will get the star treatment, which will make him and his team 20% better than they really are.

  • Bearone Monroe, UT
    May 12, 2011 9:43 a.m.

    But remember--the NBA loves TV ratings and they see the ratings from the NCAA b-ball tournament the last several years when Memphis made their run and last year when Butler made their run. The ratings were really high.

    People love to watch an underdog fight the big boys and be successful.

    Just saying----

  • Draft dumbie Farmington, UT
    May 12, 2011 9:37 a.m.

    Your theory about an NBA conspiracy is flawed, because the conspiracy is not always a big market vs. small market conspiracy. If the NBA can have good teams in LA and Boston, it would prefer that, but when those teams are no longer exciting to the fans, the NBA picks a team and a style of play it thinks is exciting to the fans, and then favors those teams.

    This year the favored teams by the NBA are OKC and Miami. It is easy to see that the NBA "spots" those teams with an advantage in most games of 10-12 points by the way the referees call the games. For example, on one end of the court (the non-Miami, non-OKC end) there will be significant contact on a shot or steal, and there will be no call. On the other end, even if there is no contact at all, if the Miami player (usually Dwayne Wade, LeBron James or Chris Bosh) misses the shot or loses the ball, there will be a "phantom" foul call. In this way, without being too noticeable, the referees cam easily subsidize one team by as many as 10-12 points.

  • Draft dumbie Farmington, UT
    May 12, 2011 9:26 a.m.

    It was clear in last year's playoffs that the NBA had chosen OKC as one of the new standard bearers for the league. Guess which team shot the most foul shots this year--OKC. Guess who is not getting calls anymore--Kobe Bryant.

    The league has decided that it will no longer treat Kobe Bryant as a super star and give him "phantom" calls, and look how that has affected his game and the Los Angeles Laker's season. In the game where the Jazz beat the Lakers, Gordan Hayward stole the ball from Kobe Bryant, with a lot of contact, but no call. In past years, there would have been a foul called, but not now, because Kobe is no longer the darling of the league--it is now Kevin Durant and the OKC Thunder, as well as the Miami Heat. Guess which teams are still in the playoffs--the Miami Heat and the OKC Thunder.

    In watching games between the Celtics and the Heat, both teams were equally physical, but Miami got calls and Boston didn't. In watching games between OKC and Memphis, both teams were equally physical, but OKC got calls and Memphis didn't.

  • josemb navotas, philippines
    May 11, 2011 8:27 p.m.

    very nice article. i enjoyed reading it. and frankly, i believe teams win championships by having the 1. right personnel, 2. right coaching, 3. right system and 4. winning attitudes. the '97-'98 jazz finals teams have 3 of 4 of those. they just didn't have the added star power to get them over the hump. ron seikaly and brian williams spurned the jazz those years. two big men that could've given the bulls trouble in the paint and give malone more open spaces to operate in. and you gotta admit, that bulls team was formidable with jordan, pippen and rodman, and phil jackson coaching. true enough, big market teams have big budgets and thus can attract big stars. big bucks and good management equals championships. that's not conspiracy; that's real life.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    May 11, 2011 4:26 p.m.

    OK, it's obvious that Phil Jackson ticked off the league. Kobe maybe got two and-ones driving to the hoop all series, and Gasol was mugged into submission, no whistles. That said, the Refs did not put in those 20 3's in game 4. :-(

    So, while there may be biased trends, they can be overcome. Games 1-3 were close, anybody's game, despite calls.

    Mavs executed down the stretch, Lakers did not.

    Oh, and I am a HUGE Lakers fan.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    May 11, 2011 2:10 p.m.

    The most obvious conspiracy was the Tim Donaghy and crew in game 3 of Suns-Spurs in 2008. Google "Suns-Spurs Controversy". I remember thinking it ranks up there among the most obvious. Donaghy was convicted 2 years later.

  • Sokol Las Vegas, NM
    May 11, 2011 1:59 p.m.

    Yes, for the first time Rock I agree with you....I think this year has been the most exciting playoffs in a long time...I believe the instant replay has helped tremendously. I am glad, because the other sports NFL MLB seem to have less of a feel that their sports are rigged.

  • mulrich Provo, UT
    May 11, 2011 11:37 a.m.

    Jordan's retirement in '93 had nothing to do with gambling. The league has never suspended a player for playing too much poker.

    I imagine Jordan retired in '93 because of the emotion of losing his father. His father always loved baseball and playing baseball has MJ's way of showing respect to his father. Also, the NBA game wasn't challenging enough to Jordan. The Bulls had just completed a rather effortless 3-peat. Jordan needed a challenge and playing baseball (which he had no skill in) filled that need.

  • Judge Smailes Cedar Hills, UT
    May 11, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    who cares about the NBA! The officiating is horrible with a Superstar bias. When Jose Canseco wrote his book on steroids in Baseball, nobody believed him but Jose turned out to be right! Brad, go read Tim Donaghy's book(former NBA ref) about how the NBA is officiated and fixed. I believe every word Tim said!

  • E S K I M O Westminster, CO
    May 11, 2011 11:15 a.m.


    How much did Stern pay you write this article?

  • SportsFan101 Bountiful, UT
    May 11, 2011 11:12 a.m.

    Anytime huge money is involved, you better believe something else is going on behind the scenes.

  • Silly Rabbit Magna, UT
    May 11, 2011 11:09 a.m.

    Well Brad why did Jordan retire the first time at the prime of his career, well he didnt retire, but how does the NBA suspend the face of the league with a huge gambling problem which was making the league look bad. Well MJ was suspended its oblivious, all of this was after the strange murder of his father, gambling debts maybe? The league had to do something, was it a conspiracy no they just had to save face and not embarrass the entitled face of the NBA. Remember at one point MJ thought he should get paid by all teams in the league a cool million a year, and Larry Miller and other owners balked and spoke out against that.

    Well Brad I don't believe in conspiracies either but there is defiantly covert stuff done at the high corporate level of the NBA, to make sure the money keeps rolling in. Who in the nation would watch the Utah Jazz play the Washington Bullets/Wizards in the finals?

    So Brad thanks for the distraction Ill get back to my UFO, Roswell, Kaspun Yar, and this Obama birth certificate research, good article though keep it up.

  • byronbca Salt Lake City, UT
    May 11, 2011 11:02 a.m.

    I don't think that there is an NBA conspiracy, but I do believe that some refs like Dick Bavetta and Joey Crawford are company men, meaning that they will sometimes ref games based on what they think is best for the NBA and not necessarily what is the fair call.

    Usually reffing biases manifest themselves in a disproportion of 50/50 calls going to a team with a superstar that people want to see.

    The most biasedly officiated NBA series I have ever seen was the Mavs VS Heat finals. Mavs were up 2 to 0 when it seemed like the NBA made guarding Dwayne Wade illegal and the Heat went on to win the series 4 to 2. The last Jazz/ Bulls series would be #2.

  • redcliffs Ivins, Utah
    May 11, 2011 10:34 a.m.

    I'm going to play devils advocate here a little. While I do believe there is some star treatment that goes on in the NBA, I don't think it's a much as some people make it out to be. What I see constantly is fans see referees calls with their hearts, and not their heads. I see plays all the time where the Jazz fans boo a ref's call on a Jazz player where I can see (especially in slow motion) there was a foul. Fans boo alomost every call a ref makes against players on the home team so you know there is not a lot of objectivity there. I feel in most games there are bad calls made agains both teams in the course of the game. Let's face it, it's pretty hard for the ref's to see everything going on at the speed of today's NBA games. So while there is some star treatment that goes on, you also have a lot of fans that are watching games just looking for a call against their favorite player or team that they can boo the ref's on.

  • mulrich Provo, UT
    May 11, 2011 10:32 a.m.

    Their are no conspiracies in the NBA. People who say otherwise are just whining because their them lost. Are their poorly officiated games? Yes. Are their bad calls? Yes. Do these impact the outcome of a game? Rarely. Are there people that don't actually watch the league but still think they know what they're talking about? Yes.

    If you watch enough games you'll see that bad calls go in-favor of both big and small market teams in equal quantities. You'll notice that superstar players get more calls because they get fouled more often or know how to sell a foul. Rookies don't get calls because they don't know the tricks of the trade; how to foul without being noticed, how to draw attention to contact, etc. Superstars know the tricks and take advantage of them.

    Basketball is one of the hardest sports to officiate yet the NBA refs still make most calls correctly.

  • bricker pleasant grove, ut
    May 11, 2011 10:21 a.m.

    How about LA 17 titles and Boston 18 title for a little proof of the consiracy?
    They can't tilt it every year but just about. The superstar treatment will evetualy kill the sport.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    May 11, 2011 9:59 a.m.

    Claiming "Playoffs prove ... there's no conspiracy" is naive in the extreme.

    One would has to be brain-dead not to see the preferred treatment of superstars as opposed to that of the role players.

    The NBA, as well as all other professional sports, is solely a money-motivated business enterprise from top to bottom, including league management, teams, officiators, and most players.

    Fans love sports but they are incurably naive, just like those of professional wrestling, roller derby and "reality" t.v.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    May 11, 2011 9:31 a.m.

    I agree with you Mr. Rock. I, also, enjoy the similarly to the NBA unbiased professional pro-wrestling matches.

  • We the People Sandy, UT
    May 11, 2011 9:30 a.m.

    Let us look at some past travesties that show the NBA is rigged:

    2002 Western Conference Finals. I do not have space to describe how badly that series was rigged for the Lakers.
    2006 NBA Finals. Ditto, but for the Heat.
    1998 NBA Finals. Jordan no-call, three point shots called as 2s for the Jazz and 2s called as 3s for the Bulls.
    Donaghy fixes games.

    Other questionable instances:
    Cleveland conveniently receives the number 1 pick when local star Lebron James is projected to go first in the draft.
    Patrick Ewing to the Knicks.
    Lakers trade virtually nothing for Kobe Bryant.
    The NBA allows teams to assemble ridiculous teams (Heat, Lakers, Boston).

    Commentators all make comments about how rookies and veterans are treated differently with regards to fouls called. Superstars get passes while the Adam Keefes of the league get hammered.

    Is the NBA rigged? With billions of dollars at stake each year, you had better believe it.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    May 11, 2011 9:11 a.m.

    Cute article. What the Rockmonster doesn't realize is that the conspiracy is not against cities and teams but favors INDIVIDUALS. I quit watching the NBA 10 years ago because stars get all the calls and are protected. A foul on Michael Jordan was different than a foul on Craig Ehlo. The day Stern decided to market the league with the faces of individuals (ie Jordan, Hakeem, Iverson et. al.) is when the NBA went from first to 5th in viewership, now currently behind NASCAR and the PGA.

    The NFL is king because it markets "teams" over "individuals". If Jordan had played in Sacramento, the conspiracy would simply have taken place in Central California instead of Chicago.

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    May 11, 2011 8:55 a.m.

    I said it before and will say it again - David Stern is really not happy with LA Lakers. LOL, love it! Go Oklahoma City!

  • 5 Orem, UT
    May 11, 2011 8:02 a.m.

    If there is anyone who believes that officials don't favor certain players I would like to meet him or her. It is a fact that superstars get better treatment than either a lesser know player or a rookie. That being true, how can you how believe that favoring players does not favor the teams for which they play? This is not a conspiracy from the league, but it happens because everybody knows that superstars and dynasties attract more fans, or as commentators say "put more seats in the seats". Officials do this on their own because they know more money for the league means more money for them. They have gone no strike for more pay. Occasionally the league polices this to try to tone it down, but it is their best interests as well. Who wants to reduce the money coming in. The NBA has not been called a sport for years. It is called even by the players themselves a business, and entertainment. The officials are just the choreographers.

  • Richard Saunders Provo, UT
    May 11, 2011 7:53 a.m.

    Mr. Rock, I don't think most fans believe that the NBA decides the outcome of every game, but this playoff is an exception to the rule that the big market teams and the stars are favored. Have you heard of Tim Donaghy? Two teams have won more than half of the championships, Boston and Los Angeles. Watch the calls made against an Earl Watson compared to the calls against a Dywane Wade and tell me the game is absolutely fair.

    As a side note, just like the NBA, the Federal Reserve should be held more accountable. When people believe everything is okay just because the most ridiculous conspiracy is untrue, than we have a real problem.

  • DH48 West Jordan, UT
    May 11, 2011 7:38 a.m.

    The conspiracy is more from the players than from the NBA. SO many of the players want to be in the big markets. Free agency allows them to gravitate to a few select teams such as the Lakers, Chicago, Boston and Miami. Small markets can pick up players and have a couple of good years but eventually those players will move to a large market with other top players. This is why certain teams, primarily the Lakers, can be good year after year. They can always attract the top players. The big name players do not want to be in no name cities.

    This is the very reason why I have come to despise the NBA. Free agency has made it a joke and greatly reduced the ability of small market teams to be consistently competitive at a high level. San Antonio with Tim Duncan, and Utah with Stockton and Malone being exceptions to that.

  • Lone Star Cougar Plano, TX
    May 11, 2011 7:16 a.m.

    Brad, If you saw the Dallas Mavs and the Miami Heat finals 4 or 5 years ago you cannot deny there is some sort of fixing going on in the NBA.

    I think it has to do more with who causes the most problems for the league and for the officials. Mark Cuban used to rant about the officiating and be fined. He wouldn't care, he had plenty of money. So, the NBA and officials fixed it where the Mavs would not win in the playoffs. Great seasons - then out in the first round.

    This year, Mark Cuban has been quiet and all of the sudden we beat the Lakers in 4 straight. Some argue that the officials didn't like the Lakers coach because of what he says about the league. They are out in 4.

    Add to this the imprisoned ref caught cheating and he says that the other refs controls who wins and it seems pretty clear to me. The NBA looks fixed to me.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    May 11, 2011 7:01 a.m.

    So are youi suggesting aliens really didn't crashed at Roswell in 1947?

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    May 11, 2011 6:46 a.m.

    Your poll questions are skewed as the great majority of Utah fans would make hardly any of the forced choices you have available.

    You have a biased sample from the start; hence, your results are unreliable.

    In order to do valid research, you MUST have randomization to eliminate bias.

    Your results on this poll, such as with all "journalistic" polls, are meaningless.

    Any pollster who conducts legitimate survey research follows correct sampling principles.

  • peter Alpine, UT
    May 11, 2011 6:32 a.m.

    Sorry Brad, man may have walked on the moon, but Oswald was only a decoy, a distraction, from the real culprit behind the Kennedy assassination. And you will never convince me that the NBA officiating is unbiased as long as big money is involved.

  • Bugoff Houston, TX
    May 11, 2011 12:28 a.m.

    The big market bias comes indirectly thru the lack of a hard salary cap. How many championships has LA bought? Ditto for CHI in an earlier decade. BOS also paid tons in lux tax for their championships. They are at 77 this year.

    POR could afford to buy one if they were run well. SA has a great organization and built around Duncan. They are at 70 Mill.

    The Mavs salary is at 88+ mill. Cuban may have finally luck out by spending for years. LA is at 91.

    The Jazz are at 76 Mill and have a losing record to show for it. That mainly reflects bad contract management decisions in the past, dreadful drafting and a Vet bias that was very expensive. The Vet bias is being reversed as AK and Okur come off of the books and as the Jazz add two lotto picks.

    The Jazz will contend when they max out the team WP48 for reasonable cost. OKC is at 57+ and MEM is 70 mill. Both used the draft and some FA/trades to build contenders for reasonable.

    The Jazz are fixable but it will take the right players and time.

  • OU812 Layton, UT
    May 11, 2011 12:19 a.m.

    Go ahead, keep your head in the sand. We're not buying it. You can tune into ANY game and see calls that are biased. Even players know when calls are being biased. Its not rocket science. When there are opportunities to make millions to hundred millions in revenue if certain teams make it and certain teams do not. What way do you think any right minded CEO is going to tilt the table? It doesn't have to be a conspiracy, it only has to be slanted.