Disgraced former NBA referee, Tim Donaghy, has been making the interview rounds recently (including a spot on 60-Minutes this past weekend) speaking about his soon to be published book. In his book, Donaghy details how NBA referees conspired to alter the outcome of games. Here are some of the highlights from his book that he has discussed in his interviews with various media outlets.
– Donaghy bet on basketball games but never ones in which he was officiating. He would, however, help out friends by telling them which games to bet on, based on the knowledge he had of certain officials tendencies. He would even go so far as to call officials before the games that night and pick their brain, trying to gain insight into how they would call the game.
– Donaghy claims that certain players were singled out by officials for their negative attitude towards the refs. Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace were two of the more prominent players named. Iverson was supposedly singled out for threatening an official and Wallace was singled out for calling out the referees on their biases. Donaghy even went so far as to claim that he conspired with fellow referees Bernie Fryer and Gary Zielinski to punish Iverson during a Jazz-Nuggets game in January 2007 (a game which he bet on). This was supposedly punishment for Iverson’s criticism of Steve Javie a few days before.
– Conversely, Donaghy claims that Joey Crawford was more apt to give Iverson favorable calls, given that Crawford’s grandson idolized Iverson.
– Donaghy claims that Dick Bavetta mentioned that he got the call to officiate the game if the NBA wanted a specific team to win. Bavetta was the go-to man to guarantee a victory. Donaghy also alleged that Dick Bavetta told him that he liked to “keep games close”.
– Donaghy claims the NBA forced Random House into backing out of their publishing deal and the NBA tried to force CBS not to air the 60-Minutes segment.
– Donaghy confirmed that superstars, such as Kobe and LeBron, get preferential treatment from officials
– Donaghy claims that the inmate who knee-capped him while in prison was a representative of a New York crime family.
– Donaghy claims that referee Joe Forte was more lenient with Mike Fratello coached teams, given that the two are very close friends.
– Donaghy stated that the NBA was more entertainment than competition, due to the personal biases of the officials.
– Donaghy says that he made over $100,000 betting on NBA games. He even had a steak where he picked 15 out of 16 games correctly.
David Stern issued a statement after 60-Minutes aired the Donaghy segment, stating “Tim Donaghy repeated his allegations against his former colleagues, NBA referees, as well as the NBA. Those allegations have been fully investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the government completed its investigation, finding that the only criminal conduct was that of Mr. Donaghy.”
I’m still not 100% sure that I believe everything that Donaghy claims. But it certainly is entertaining!
BONUS: There is video of the 60-Minutes segment online at CBS.com.