The NBA is one of the best Sports Associations in the entire world. People from all around the globe tune in to watch their favorite basketball stars perform on the biggest stages. And while we usually think of NBA Basketball as being an honest and truthful organization, sometimes things happen that can cause us to ask one very mysterious question: Is the NBA rigged?
I know, it sounds crazy. But between NBA draft suspicions, weird NBA Playoff twists and even claims from disgraced ex-NBA referees, it’d just be wrong for us not to at least raise an eyebrow. Yes, the NBA is probably not 100% rigged. And no, this doesn't mean you should never watch basketball again. But sometimes when strange things happen, it's best to ask yourself why.
With these 5 Crazy conspiracy stories (that we separated into three categories), it could change everything you thought you knew about the NBA. You may not think the NBA is rigged, but one thing is for sure: these stories will leave you with way more questions than answers.
The NBA Draft is one of the best parts of the offseason, for both fans and college prospects. Throughout the years, the draft has helped struggling teams gather some star power. And while it’s supposed to be a semi-random event, many skeptics claim there's something more sinister going on.
5. Rigged For The Knicks
Take the 1985 NBA Draft, for example. Before the lottery balls became the method for determining order of the draft lottery, the league used envelopes. In the case of the 1985 draft lotto, the accountant who dropped the envelopes “accidentally” bent the corner of one of them. Strangely, the envelope that David Stern picked (after digging around for a suspicious amount of time) to determine the number one pick moments later was the same one with the bent corner. Even stranger, the envelope didn’t belong to some small market team to draft some low-name prospect. The envelope belonged to the New York Knicks, who used their number 1 pick to draft who? None other than Patrick Ewing.
4. The Anthony Davis Hat
Another example of strange Draft day conspiracy happens in 2012, where the New Orleans Hornets had the luxury of picking #1 in the draft that year. They end up picking Anthony Davis, who becomes a pretty huge star (as we know today). Sounds normal right? Until you realize that a picture of Anthony Davis surfaced of him wearing a New Orleans Hornets hat two weeks before the draft would actually take place. Could he have known something we didn't?
It’s common for die-hard NBA fans to get mad at the refs after their team loses. In fact, many people get mad even if their team wins. These days, it seems like every game has way too many controversial calls. Are these occurrences all just mistakes, or are the refs trying to sway the game in one teams favor? It's already been proven that some referees in the past would bet on the game they officiated, but does it go even deeper than that?
3. The Miracle Comeback
Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. The Lakers (one of the biggest markets in the NBA) are shockingly down 3-2 against the Sacramento Kings. In Game 6, the Lakers shoot a whopping 40 free throws in Game 6, to eventually close out the series at home in Game 7. That evidence alone is hardly enough to cause real concern. But a claim from a former NBA referee claims him and his associates just “let the Lakers win.” Surely the NBA would have more to gain by sending the Lakers to the Finals rather than the lowly Kings. Shocked yet?
2. NBA Betting Scandal
This could perhaps be the best evidence (albeit still a stretch) of the NBA fixing their games. Remember the referee that claimed that the NBA rigged the 2002 NBA Finals? His name is Tim Donaghy, and he has taken these NBA Conspiracy claims to a new level. He actually has a book called “The Personal Foul” in which he literally writes about his experience in the league, and how the NBA is not nearly as innocent as they appear to be. Donaghy’s life took a turn for the worst in 2007, when he was actually arrested by the FBI for betting on games and making calls that would change the outcome of games. He pleaded guilty and served time in prison. But even after all that, he came out and began making claims that the NBA directed referees to fix certain games “for the best interest of the league.” The 2002 Western Conference Finals, he claimed, was just one of those instances.
Social Media Leaks
The new age of technology has brought about many social media platforms to go with it. Facebook, Twitter and others often serve as a great way for people to connect with others. The NBA is no different, using almost all platforms to bring basketball wherever it’s wanted. While the NBA is known as one of the better media users it has also, on occasion, exposed them.
Just last season, Dikembe Mutombo congratulated the 76ers on getting the number one lottery pick hours before the official drawing. Again in 2016, the NBA’s Facebook page listed a Cavs vs Cleveland Game 1 Finals matchup before Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals had even taken place. Take these two stories, and mix them with the other “predictions” made on social media over the years, and it really starts to make you wonder.
The NBA, by many accounts, is the best sports league in the world. With that title, however, also comes claims that they seek even more. And while it's still unlikely the NBA is completely rigged, who can deny that it's impossible? To make more money, people are willing to do just about anything. In the case of the NBA, that could very well be true.
With that being said, we still may never get any concrete evidence to support that claim. Even with all the conspiracy stories floating around out there, the NBA has proven itself to be a reliable and honorable league. So when you say that the NBA isn't rigged, you're probably right. But, at the very least, it makes you wonder what what's really going on.