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Former NBA Referee Tim Donaghy Says The 2002 Kings And 2006 Mavs Would Have Won Finals If Not For The Officiating

(via The Two Point Conversation)

(via The Two Point Conversation)

A lot of fans, and players for that matter, have problems with today's NBA officiating. They think it's "soft," they claim it's "rigged" or any of the other excuses they want to conjure for what they feel like is an injustice carried out against their team or against the league. Most of the time, ref-blaming is just an excuse.

But in the case of Kings and Mavs fans, it might be warranted. After hearing from a former NBA referee that crooked officiating may have cost both teams a Championship in the early 2000s, many within the community are grieving at the thought of a lost opportunity for their franchise.

(via Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News):

Townsend: I’m sure you know that this movie coming out, while not directly or indirectly mentioning the Mavericks, will bring back, I think for fans around here, memories about the 2006 finals because you are on record a few years ago as saying the Mavs got screwed out of that championship.

Donaghy: Oh, and I’ll say it again: There’s no doubt in my mind that the Mavericks should have a ring from 2006. And the Sacramento Kings should have a ring from 2002. And if it wasn’t because of the officiating and the officials on the floor for certain games and the supervisor of officials back in 2006, I think they would have a ring and they should have a ring.

Donaghy resigned as an official in 2007 after it was alleged that he was betting on games that he refereed. Years later, Donaghy released a book entitled "Blowing the Whistle: The Culture of Fraud in the NBA," in which he alleged that the league wanted the Los Angeles Lakers to defeat the Kings in 2002 and also wanted the Miami Heat to beat the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006 Finals.

Investigations have since been surfaced, and nothing concrete was ever really found. Multiple whistleblowers have claimed the NBA themselves try to favor teams in years past -- and there are certainly suspiciously-called games during the early 2000s stretch in particular.

Whether or not that culture exists today seems unlikely. Then again, we can never really know, can we?