Thursday, May 28, 2009

LeBron's Playoffs to be Overshadowed by Conspiracy Theorists

Everybody loves a conspiracy theory.

NBA has long had to quell ideas and rumors of the playoffs being fixed, and it became even more of a problem after the whole Tim Donaghy thing. People love to look at plays and results as something more than coincidence, as something "the league wanted to happen."

Does the league want certain teams or players to be playing on TV as much as possible? Of course. The NBA is a business, and it wants to see its most marketable players with as much face time as possible. However, Daniel Stern had more power over the result of a game in Celtic Pride than David Stern currently does.

What LeBron has done in these playoffs is nothing short of remarkable, and I don't think he's done. If his teammates break out of their shooting slumps, then the Cavs could quite possibly become the ninth team to come back from a 3-1 defecit.

The games have been too close to say the Magic have dominated and the series could very easily have been over by now. By that same token, with a couple of different plays, the Magic could very easily have been down 3-1 in the series.

But if the Cavs end up coming back and winning the series, this will all add more fuel to the fire of NBA Conspiracy Theorists. It can't just be that LeBron is the MVP and could will his team back from the brink of elimination. It has to be "what the league wanted."

If the NBA truly does "make things happen," it has done a horrible job at giving itself the best possible results:

The Cavs' first two rounds were done as quickly as possible this year. Wouldn't the league have an interest in prolonging those series? Wouldn't it be good for the league to make the games closer?

Game 7 of Atlanta-Miami would have been a perfect chance to give us LeBron vs. D-Wade. Wouldn't that have been a better matchup for the league than LeBron vs. Joe Johnson? (By the way, if you are an all-star and you're not known by your first name or a nickname, you need to talk to your agent ASAP.)

The San Antonio Spurs have almost no marketability (except for ABC being able to pimp "Desperate Housewives" with Eva Longoria in the crowd), yet they won over and over again. Why would the league - if it rigs the playoffs - allow the Spurs to win so many titles? In 2006, in suspending Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw, the NBA basically chose the boring Spurs to advance over the much more exciting and marketable Suns. What would the league have to gain from that? Lower ratings?

The 2005 Finals put the Spurs against the defense-driven Detroit Pistons. The result was a seven-game borefest. If the league controls the results, why would it do this?

The answer to all of my questions is there is no answer, because the league may have a rooting business interest, but it doesn't change the outcome, and it doesn't choose the matchups. If it does, then the league is comprised of the worst businessmen on the face of the earth.

It's a shame, because it is possible we will see some great things in the next week from LeBron and the Cavs, but some people might be too suspicious to appreciate it.


  1. Ok, Suns fan. Enough with all the Spurs hatred. You're just upset because the "more watchable and marketable" Phoenix Suns were never, ever built for enduring a long playoff run and never even made an NBA Finals series, much less won a title. ;-)

  2. They were in 2006, before Amare and Boris were suspended for going towards Nash and NOT Robert Horry and NOT escalating the fight. Still, the NBA would have been crazy to "pick" Spurs over Suns. Think of the repercussions! Teams would start trying to build teams that are fun to watch, can shoot 3-pointers, and can do something besides drive. Oh! Won't someone please think of the children!