26
Jul
07

Upside to the Donaghy Scandal

Will the Donaghy scandal ultimately help the NBA more than it hurts?  In David Stern’s opinion probably not.  He feels that the quality of the officiating up to this point has be very strong.  We, however, very much disagree. 

Many have pointed out that one of the big downsides to this whole scandal is that it will make the jobs of the remaining NBA referees even harder because they will be under such intense scrutiny and pressure.  To us that scrutiny is a good thing.  

NBA officials work within the parameters of a star system.  Michael Jordan wasn’t supposed to foul out of the game.  35,000 fans who paid to come see Jordan play would not be happy if he sat down for good early in the 4th quarter with his 5th foul.   David Stern knows that the lifeblood of the NBA is the fans and the refs probably know that also.  The refs don’t call too many fouls on star players and Stern doesn’t complain.  In Jordan’s day the fans left happy after most of his games because they watched his phenomenal cross-overs, dunks and fadeaways for 40+ minutes, including the game’s final few. 

The Donaghy scandal may positively impact the NBA by forcing the officials to call the game as they see it.  The casual fan who only came to see LeBron James may not like it when he fouls out, but the true basketball fans will enjoy a game where every player is competing on a level playing field.  When rookie Joakim Noah is hacked by Dwayne Wade this coming season the ref will have to call the foul, and, call it on Wade instead of nearby Dorell Wright.  Instead of giving the superstar a no-call at the expense of a rookie as refs are known to do, or instead of calling the foul but putting it on the next closest non-star instead of Wade as they are also known to do, the ref will feel obligated to make the right call.  Last season he or she would have known that they wouldn’t be scrutinized for protecting Wade because that’s how the NBA works.  However, that ability will be, or at least should be, taken away from them this season because everyone will wonder, “Is he protecting Wade or protecting a point spread?”

This scandal may leave an embarrassing smudge on David Stern’s legacy but hopefully it will lead to better product on the court, at least as far as us true basketball fans are concerned.

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