An Open Letter To Adolf Stern...
Congratulations on letting the integrity of your sport be seriously compromised because of as you so eloquently put it, a "rogue, isolated criminal". A 'rogue, isolated criminal' that has been on your payroll for the past umpteen years...shaving points off of games the way a barber shaves facial hair. And to think, for all the effort you've put into trying to "clean up the league's image", you played Nero in the end. Oblivious to the empire that's slowly crumbling and burning around you as the NBA gets played. So now, you've got players like LeBron, D-Wade and Kobe all dressed up to look like fools in a league that you've left open to the type of scandal NOBODY wants to be a part of. As if it wasn't enough that our players are barely feared on an international level, it's your fault that now...the one sport we've all grown to love and adore will never be looked at the same AGAIN.
Yet, for all of these precautionary measures you have in place, obviously your system can't be THAT foolproof. Can't be THAT infallible, because one 'rogue, isolated criminal' figured ways in and out of it. Oh and I'm of the thinking it might be a great idea for you to keep Phoenix off of your itinerary for the forseeable future if you plan on sitting in on games. I can't imagine the Suns Nation will be too happy with the fact that this 'rogue, isolated criminal' probably cost their team the series and a more than feasible shot at a title this past May. As bad as the Brawl in Detroit was, the integrity of the men calling the game wasn't in question or even attack. Just a couple of knuckleheads who felt the need to get the audience involved because some putz had to launch a cup of beer at Ron Ron. You slapped a couple of cosmetic rule changes on the books which the Players' Association (spinally deficient bunch they are), easily rolled over for. But how do you fix this, Adolf? How? Your rogue, isolated criminal more than likely cost a team a title with the final game he called of his referee career. Thank God he didn't officiate any games of the Finals, I would've been looking for this guy if he gave Cleveland its first pro title in close to sixty something years. And thinking back about ten years, I think the league has slowly but steadily been hitting this point. Now you want to start going back and looking at certain games, then wonder if a ref had something to gain by this team winning or that one losing. The league is a shell of what it was in the 80s when the Celts and Lakers just swapped the title back and forth between each other, with the Sixers, Rockets and Pistons being transitional champions in between. Not the 90s when you had the rough and tough Bulls and the West giving us the Rockets in the two years Michael retired. The league was physical at one point, man to man defense, actual quality teams in the Finals every June it seemed. Now, you're cringing at any team that the East produces if it's not Miami or Detroit. Your league has now become the one thing you hoped it would never be on top of hard to watch past the Western Conference playoffs. Suspect. Shady. No credibility. Oh and to think, if Timmy does the predictable spinally challenged criminal thing and start dropping dimes on other crooked refs...you may as well invest in a badminton league because it's all over. So for your sake and the sake of what's left of your "league", hope that one rogue criminal doesn't go plural.
A Very Disappointed NBA Fan