Whether we like it or not, perception is often viewed as reality. It’s irrelevant if there’s no truth or substantial evidence to back up conspiracy theories, but Wednesday night May 30th, 2012 will go down as an infamous night in NBA history. It started with soon to be New Orleans Hornets owner, Tom Benson (the same guy that’s running a Saints team mired in a hideous bounty scandal) showing up at the draft lottery in New York all but assured of landing the right to draft franchise changing freshman, Anthony Davis (who is more Kevin Garnett than Marcus Camby). And it ended with another officiating atrocity that cost the Boston Celtics any legitimate chance of taking the eastern conference finals from the Miami Me Machine.
It doesn’t matter how in depth and complicated the lottery proceedings might be, the perception is that this was rigged to give a staggering franchise hope. Benson promised Stern that he wouldn’t move the Hornets out of the bayou, and the Hornets cashing in on a 13.7% of winning this sham is being viewed as a thank you from the NBA Gestapo. Did you know the league still controls the Hornets? Of course they do.
There were Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Badcats poised to, finally, be given a break after finishing with the worst winning percentage in NBA history, but their place in the “save a miserable franchise” line had been jumped by the equally abysmal and going nowhere Hornets. If this was ’07 and there were, potentially ,two franchise changing players (sorry, Greg Oden), the conspiracy theorists could be silenced today. But as nice as Thomas Robinson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s games are, they aren’t Anthony Davis. And once again, MJ had to be interrupted on the 17th hole with horrific news.
But Stern’s bullshit didn’t stop at the lottery. It traveled with the speed of LeBron’s receding hairline down to South Beach in time for his crooked officials (this can’t be debated…ever) to rip a potential victory away from the Celtics. You’d think a performance that Rajon Rondo (44 points on 16-24 shooting, 10 dimes, 8 boards and played all 53 minutes) put on would give him the benefit of the doubt from clowns like Ken Mauer with the game on the line in overtime, but that would change the league’s objective.
Dwyane Wade and LeBron James combined for 4 fouls in a ridiculously competitive overtime playoff game. 4. The only saving grace is that the garbage the Heat get away with is catching on with the casual fans. They make the old Shaq-Kobe Lakers as likable as New York City fire fighters and policeman circa 2001.
Tell me, how is Wade allowed to club Rondo in the face on a layup attempt at point blank range with no call? Mind you, this was a tie game in OT when this silliness occurred. Check this out if you somehow missed it…
That’s fair, right? Oh, and how is Wade allowed to extend his leg and kick Kevin Garnett to get the call, and how does KG get T’d up for getting fouled?
Because it’s Stern’s mandated order to get the Heat to the finals, that’s why. Since LeBron gagged all over himself again down the stretch (missed lefty layup, bricked 19 footer at the end of regulation & two awful free throw misses in OT), the Heat again needed it to be #5on8 in order to win.
It’s a travesty and the casual fans are rightly disgusted and furious. I can’t defend a league that so blatantly and desperately is creating a clear path for one team to the finals. Oh, you want to say I’m just a Heat hater? Okay, then defend the fact that LeBron shot 24 free throws (the Heat as a team shot 47!) and the Celtics shot 29… I’ll be sitting here awaiting your continued silence. And did I mention that hall of famer, Paul Pierce fouled out of another playoff game? Comical.
Wednesday night was a black eye on Stern’s league, and I’ll bet you he couldn’t care less. His objective is much like Vince McMahon’s… It’s all about the money. The Hornets needed a life line and the Heat bring ratings. It’s that simple and virtually impossible to argue legitimacy in this league. Even if the refs missed the call on Rondo on accident and the lottery isn’t rigged, the perception of Stern’s league is that it’s as corrupt as Chicago politics. And that might as well be reality because the Gestapo has given no reason to believe otherwise. I’d love to tell Stern that he’s pissing off a legion of casual fans, but that wouldn’t affect him one bit. We all follow the money, and the commish is no different.