Fact-checking Tim Donaghy

Tim Donaghy is still around, mostly because he’s in financial trouble and is trying to find a way to parlay his history of gambling on (or fixing?) NBA games into some semblance of a post-officiating career. Henry Abbott put together a nice post about Donaghy that seems to debunk much of what he has said.

* Donaghy recalls a conversation he had on the court with Phil Jackson that Jackson tells ESPN’s J.A. Adande never happened.
* He describes relationships between Allen Iverson and referees Steve Javie (who he says hated Iverson) and Joe Crawford (who was allegedly a fan) that biased their calls, and made picking Iverson games easy ways to make money. But those betting rules, in fact, would not have led to winners.
* He told a stirring tale of locker room run-in with Charles Barkley, but Barkley told ESPN’s Mark Schwarz no such thing occurred.
* The three palming violations Donaghy remembers in some detail that were really two.
* He wrote that he won bets relying on Dick Bavetta’s habit of keeping games close, but looking at scores proved betting like that would not win you money.
* He described in some detail the friendship between referee Joe Forte and then-Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello, which inspired him to pick Fratello’s team to beat the spread when Forte reffed. But in that period, Fratello’s teams beat the spread less than half the time.

Even Donaghy’s publisher has severed ties with him.

Generally speaking, I don’t think there is a lot of game-fixing going on. To err is to be human, and NBA referees make a LOT of bad calls. It doesn’t mean they’re doing it on purpose. It’s an impossible job to do perfectly.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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