From the realm of ‘Are we still really talking about this?’ disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy told a Dallas Mavericks fan podcast the Miami Heat can thank the league’s manipulation of the series for its first championship.
Donaghy, famous for his 2007 conviction for placing bets on NBA games, told the Forgotten Mavericks Podcast the NBA meddled with officials to try and extend the series after Dallas went up 2-0 and it eventually cost the Mavericks the series as Dwyane Wade went from averaging 12 free throws a game over the first two games to 18 a game over the Heat’s four straight victories.
“Basically, Dallas was up in the series,” Donaghy said. “With that being said, the way it was back then, was that the NBA would come in in order to extend a series, to go over plays that they felt should have went in Miami’s favor that didn’t and that went in Dallas’s favor that shouldn’t have and they started to program and training the referees to look for certain things.
“I think basically Dallas basically got screwed out of a championship in that situation because the NBA started to manipulate the series to make sure it was extended and Dallas could never recover from it.”
Donaghy said Ed Rush, the NBA’s supervisor of officials at the time “hated [Mavericks owner] Mark Cuban’s guts.”
“He’s programing and training these referees to look for certain things that definitely put Miami at an advantage,” Donaghy said. “Ed Rush used to tell us that Mark Cuban was someone that created a lot of extra work for us, constantly calling the league office and that really just got everyone to start to dislike Cuban.”
This story is hardly new.
Cuban complained about the officiating throughout the series and just a couple years ago there was a report Cuban hired a former FBI agent to investigate the NBA after the series.
Donaghy put out a book in 2009 after he served 11 months in federal prison for the gambling scandal.