Memoir of a crooked ref

I love basketball and I love memoir — I’m taking Lynn Stegner’s famous course — so I cannot resist a quick cut and paste, based on something in the Yahoo feed, about a crooked referee NBA and his memoir from 2009 which was supposedly pulled but an excerpt remains, reprinted here. I’m also hoping to write about the photo run in the New York Times showing the top All Star NBA dunker, in six or so merged stop-action images, crossed with the famous illustrations from Sports Illustrated circa 1951 that shows in detail Bob Cousy’s invention of the behind the back dribble. (I’ve run it before, I think).

I’m also hoping to post something about noticing just now on my Apple SmartPhone that the lyrics to Boots Riley the Coup soundtrack to “Sorry to Bother You” spells a formerly banned word that conures up excrement — four letters — but using growlix or astericks or dashes to obscure the formerly common word for Black People. So now it’s okey to say “shit” but not “n_____” or “n____”? N-word. I just think its weird.


words by Boots, censorship by the man

I’m meaning to anecdote or addend my essay about Boogie Cousins to recount the thing about him not liking or getting Chinese astrology. I wonder what sign he is? I used to think I was dragon but am actually rabbit or hare or cat if Vietnam.

And I was working on another photo essay.

I’m also hoping to read Wallace Stegner story about the Big Sky country, having just read his memoir of “Great Falls”. Also, since I tried to be influenced it when I submitted to Lynn’s class an experimental epistolary about my freshman year at Dartmouth in 1982, to read anew WS story about “Canby” and his college days, or somebody’s or all of ours.

“Two weeks before the 2003-04 season ended, Bavetta and I were assigned to officiate a game in Oakland. That afternoon before the tip-off, we were discussing an upcoming game on our schedule. It was the last regular-season game we were scheduled to work, pitting Denver against San Antonio. Denver had lost a game a few weeks prior because of a mistake made by the referees, a loss that could be the difference between them making or missing the playoffs. Bavetta told me Denver needed the win and that it would look bad for the staff and the league if the Nuggets missed the playoffs by one game. There were still a few games left on the schedule before the end of the season, and the standings could potentially change. But on that day in Oakland, Bavetta looked at me and casually stated, ‘Denver will win if they need the game. That’s why I’m on it.'”

“I was thinking, How is Denver going to win on the road in San Antonio? At the time, the Spurs were arguably the best team in the league. Bavetta answered my question before it was asked.

‘Duncan will be on the bench with three fouls within the first five minutes of the game,’ he calmly stated.

Bavetta went on to inform me that it wasn’t the first time the NBA assigned him to a game for a specific purpose. He cited examples, including the 1993 playoff series when he put New Jersey guard Drazen Petrovic on the bench with quick fouls to help Cleveland beat the Nets. He also spoke openly about the 2002 Los Angeles-Sacramento series and called himself the NBA’s ‘go-to guy.’

As it turned out, Denver didn’t need the win after all; they locked up a spot in the playoffs before they got to San Antonio. In a twist of fate, it was the Spurs that ended up needing the win to have a shot at the division title, and Bavetta generously accommodated. In our pregame meeting, he talked about how important the game was to San Antonio and how meaningless it was to Denver, and that San Antonio was going to get the benefit of the calls that night. Armed with this inside information, I called Jack Concannon before the game and told him to bet the Spurs.

To no surprise, we won big. San Antonio blew Denver out of the building that evening, winning by 26 points. When Jack called me the following morning, he expressed amazement at the way an NBA game could be manipulated. Sobering, yes; amazing, no. That’s how the game is played in the National Basketball Association.”

To me game-fixing seems like something from the 1950s NCAA or of course the 1919 World Series — and come to think of it I had a long talk by phone with a guy from Marin who did or is doing a big installation in Chicago about the Black Sox (and he doesn’t seem to think it was a thing).

I’m filing this under “words” and “filthy lucre” and “sports”.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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