I’ll have to admit, conspiracy theories amaze me. I’m intrigued by the theories and the theorist that come up with them. They stick strong to what they believe in; even the most outrageous theories carry enough truth to create some type of doubt. It’s what motivates conspiracy theorist to keep coming up with the most ridiculous theories. That’s why to this day, sadly, there are people who will tell you Big Foot is real, Neil Armstrong never landed on the moon, and somewhere deep in the abyss of the ocean, there is a lochness monster swimming around. Yeah, it’s comical but people actually believe this stuff. I feel like anytime a conspiracy theorist begins to theorize, there should be X-Files music playing in the background.
I bring up conspiracy theories and their ideology because this is the time of the year when all the NBA “conspiracy theorist” come out. I’m noticing it more and more as I check my Facebook and Twitter during these competitive playoff games. Here’s my take on the whole “NBA is fixed” topic. First of all, I notice that the National Basketball Assocation is the only league that gets hit with the “fixed” tag. You never hear it from NFL aficionados when a referee blows a call, and you’ll never hear it from baseball fan when the ump clearly messes up. Yes, there’s outrage from the fans, but you’ll never hear how commissioner Goodell or Selig has an agenda set out to help certain franchises win. I’ll never completely understand it, but if I had to make an educated guess on why it’s that, here’s mine: In the NBA, fans have a bigger attachment to the players because, in person, it’s the one sport to where you are extremely close to the players on the court, and on television, there faces are more visible and noticeable. So we grow to know the players more. For some reason, there’s a disconnect between the player and fan. New York Daily News sports writer Mike Lupica once said the NBA is the only league where the fans hate the players. I couldn’t agree with him more. Somewhere along the line, hatred sets in, and that’s why I believe the NBA has so many doubters and conspiracy theorist. It’s definitely a disconnect in a league that is hugely popular.
Here are some hypothetical circumstances the NBA would deal with if it were fixed…
1. Majority of the leagues marque franchises are bad– If the NBA were fixed, don’t you think the league would make sure its most popular franchises are at least respectable. The Celtics, Lakers and Knicks are the league’s most marketable teams, but yet, all three have been dysfunctional this year. Big market teams drive the meter in professional sports, and most of the NBA’s big market teams, as of right now, are irrelevant. Let’s look at some of the NBA’s best teams: Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers. Do you notice the correlation? They’re smaller markets teams. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good for the league to have some type of parity, but as a billion-dollar industry, you want your big city teams to be good. It’s better for business. Rhetorical question: if the NBA were to fix its league, why would the smaller market teams be the league’s most successful teams? Hmm, it’s beneath me, but I’m pretty sure some conspiracy theorist will come up with a reason why that is. Remember, you still have guys searching for Big Foot…
2. Vegas, Vegas, Vegas – One of the prime reasons on why the NFL is so popular is because of one city: Las Vegas. It is the city where gamblers go to bet on their team or against their team. Gambling in sports generates billions of dollars annually. The NBA, on the other hand, is hugely popular because of Vegas as well. Not as much as the NFL, but it’s still pretty popular. So think, if the NBA were to be fixed, the ramifications of dealing with the sharks in Vegas would be extremely troublesome. The league knows it makes a lot of its money from Vegas, so why would they messed that up by attempting to fix the league? Trust me, the last thing the NBA wants on its plate is to deal with a pissed off mob boss from Vegas because his money circulation was messed with by a fix league. And that’s not the only burden it would have to worry about, we’re talking about million-dollar lawsuits the NBA would have to deal with. You think any league wants to worry about that? Would it really be worth it?
3. The Head Man in Charge– In the 1985 draft, a highly touted Georgetown Husky player by the name of Patrick Ewing was the one player every NBA team wanted. The New York Knicks- a big market team- was in need for a superstar. So Patrick Ewing would of been the ideal centerpiece for that franchise. Well, it just so happened that the ping pong balls went the New York Knicks way, and they drafted Patrick Ewing with the number one pick. Instantly, the conspiracy theorist had a big problem with that, and they made it known. People swore that the current commissioner at the time, David Stern, fixed the ping pong balls to go the Knicks way, because a more successful New York team makes for a more profitable league. But can someone please explain this: if David Stern had an agenda to fix that lottery in the past, then why have the Knicks been the laughing stock of the NBA for the past two decades? This is New York City we’re talking about here. The mecca of all sports! Do people actually believe David Stern, who is an established attorney, would risk his 20-million dollar a year salary and freedom(due to possible prison time) to fix a draft lottery? It’s astounding that people actually believe David Stern has been fixing the league for the majority of his tenure. The Lakers, Celtics and Sixers have all been down at some point during Sterns time as commissioner. There’s no benefit, at all, for David Stern to risk his illustrious career over fixing games. His contract is not incentive based; certain teams success is not beneficial to him.
So NBA conspiracy theorist, the ping pong balls were not fixed, they just happened to sway the Knicks way on that day. The league does not have a say on where players will play. Hey, Kevin Durant, one of the best players the NBA has ever seen, plays in a city that has silos and windmills. If the NBA were fixed, Oklahoma City would not be a destination spot for any transcendent player.