“It’s entertainment, you know? We make records. It’s entertainment, that’s all it is. It’s like our (expletive) jobs.” – Dr. Dre, The Show Soundtrack, 1995
“That (expletive) ain’t basketball out there. It’s all (expletive) entertainment. You all should know that (expletive). It’s all (expletive) entertainment.” – Rasheed Wallace, following Game 5 against Boston, 2008
Sure, the NBA is entertainment. But is it complete fiction like the world of rap music or the WWE, or is it entertaining because it’s true competition?
As if the Kings and their fans needed more ammunition, Tim Donaghy’s allegations of game fixing by NBA referees bring the whole “reality” question to a head.
While nobody’s claiming all NBA games are rigged, statements like those made by Donaghy (or his lawyers, to be more specific) make the league sound just like an all-male version of “The Hills.”
Only instead of weird, flesh-colored beards like the one Spencer Pratt sports, the NBA’s beards run the gamut from pubescent (Paul Pierce) to grizzly (Baron Davis and Drew Gooden).
But like “The Hills,” many perceive the NBA as reality-based in a television world where reality is never a guarantee — just a word used to market shows filmed without classically trained actors.
But in the spirit of keeping it real, here’s the most troubling trend about this whole Donaghy thing: America is becoming Tattle-Tale Nation.
In the land of “innocent until proven guilty,” the validity of accusations is judged less by evidence presented than how juicy and salacious those claims are or the degree that people want to believe them.
Jose Canseco’s house recently went through foreclosure, he has at least one drug addiction that we know of, but his allegations of steroid use in baseball were celebrated as if he was alerting the country to John F. Kennedy’s true assassin.
Donaghy is a gambling addict, facing a prison sentence for manipulating point spreads in several games as he sunk deeper into an abyss of debt mixed with organized crime. Now he’s claiming to have knowledge of conspiracies that have already been suspected for years, and his lawyers are making allegations any NBA observer could have made without being on the inside like Donaghy was.
Maybe the increasing acceptance of rats, canaries and stool pigeons is due to a distrust in our government. Everyone’s heard the saying “it comes from the top” (almost always in regards to something negative), and with an administration currently in office that looks at transparency almost like a terror threat, faith in those with money and power is at an all-time low.
How much of our news these days comes from leaks or anonymous sources? They usually aren’t investigated or forced to back up their accusations, but neither are desperate tattlers like Canseco or Donaghy.
By no means is this writer naive; I’ve mentioned the disparities in officiating from game to game before. And it’s upsetting that important games where livelihoods and legacies are at stake sometimes look manipulated by puppet masters named Bavetta and Salvatore.
But isn’t it even more distasteful that this society has reached the point where cheats, crooks and other tattle-tales are looked upon as the beacons of truth instead of rogues looking to preserve their own broken lives? I already had suspicions the NBA was officiating differently from game to game … but I refuse to let the cries of a degenerate gambler add any fuel to the fire.