Joining the Forgotten Maverick Podcast with Dallas Sports Fanatic, former NBA Referee Tim Donaghy discusses a variety of topics including why he became an official, the powerful dynamics of relationships between players and officials, refereeing during the Pacers-Pistons brawl in November 2004, and the controversial 2006 NBA Finals between the Mavericks and the Miami Heat.
Donaghy, famous for his 2007 conviction for placing bets on NBA games (including those he officiated), believes the culture of the NBA at the time influenced the Mavs infamous collapse after beginning the series with two 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.”
By sending Dwyane Wade to a four-game parade at the free throw line, Donaghy believes Dallas was put at a massive disadvantage as Wade attempted 73 free throws over the series’ final four games. In game five alone, Wade shot 25 free throws — as many as the entire Dallas Mavericks team combined.
“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.
Donaghy also believes the NBA’s officiating leadership had their own agenda due to their hatred of Mark Cuban.
“Let’s not forget at that time, Ed Rush was the supervisor of officials,” Donaghy said. “And he hated Mark Cuban’s guts. He absolutely hated Mark Cuban.”
“He’s programing and training these referees to look for certain things that definitely put Miami at an advantage. 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,” Donaghy said.
Donaghy, who currently owns and operates refpicks.com, wrote a book about his experiences with the NBA, “Personal Foul: A First-Person Account of the Scandal That Rocked the NBA.”
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