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Conspiracy Theory The NBA fixed the 2002 Western Conference Finals so that Kobe Bryant, Shaquille...

Conspiracy Theory The NBA fixed the 2002 Western Conference Finals so that Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and the Lakers would beat the Sacramento Kings. Why People Believe It In Game 6, the Lakers attempted 40 free throws, including 27 in the fourth quarter. The Kings shot 25 for the game. Several calls seemed awful at the time. Since then, point-shaving ref Tim Donaghy has alleged that the NBA advised two of the three referees in the game to tilt Game 6 toward L.A. so the series would go seven games. Upon Further Review (On a scale of 1 to 10, how believable is this?) I'll give it a five, and let me explain: I don't believe for a second that David Stern tells his officials to fix games. Never, in a thousand years, would I believe that. It would make Stern a felon, and also a moron -- the NBA has far more to lose than gain by doing that. Stern is way too smart and principled for that. So: why a five? Well, we're talking about believability here, and a lot of people in the NBA are suspicious of referee assignments. They will never say it publicly, but they complain privately. Certain zebras have reputations for favoring certain teams, or for being unfairly harsh to certain players. It's not about fixing games or even about boosting television ratings. Sometimes it's just about personalities and styles. So the NBA wouldn't have to tell anybody to do anything unethical. It could just assign a certain ref with the expectation he will help the right team. I'm not saying this happened. I'm saying that, when coaches, executives and players in your own league believe it could have happened, you get a five on the believability scale. Currently trending as a 'Yes' in SI's Michael Rosenberg's top 10 sports conspiracy theories
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