Sports Medley: NBA
Corruption 13 Jun 16
by Tony Medley
The most outrageous
action by any sports league has always been, in my mind, Commissioner of
baseball Kennesaw Mountain Landis banning Chicago White Sox third
baseman, Buck Weaver, for life in 1920 solely because he was approached
to throw the 1919 World Series and refused, but failed to reveal the
plot. Weaver had been the White Sox star in the Series, batting .324
with 11 hits and fielding flawlessly.
Then the NBA
suspended Golden State’s Draymond Green for the fifth game of the 2016
NBA Championship Series. Almost since its inception after World War II,
the suspicions of corruption have hovered over the NBA. In the ‘50s it
was all but acknowledged that its teams would throw playoff games to
lengthen each series because the teams needed the money. The Boston
Celtics in particular lost some playoff games to teams that didn’t
belong on the same court with them. Losses ensured there would be a few
more paydays before the series’ ended. Everybody winked at this because
the league needed to survive.
In the Semi Final
series between OKC and Golden State, Green kicked OKC’s center Steven
Adams in the groin twice and basically nothing happened, when he should
clearly have been suspended for a flagrant foul. Why? Because Golden
State was in jeopardy of losing to OKC and the NBA didn’t want its best
team out of the playoffs, so Green, maybe Golden State’s most valuable
player, was slapped on the wrist.
Then in the fourth
game of the Championship Series, NBA demigod Lebron James walked all
over Green and Green got up and kind of touched James on the arm. No
penalty was called, no technical, nothing. Green basically walked away,
even though James came after him. However, the Cavaliers lost the game
and Golden State took a 3-1 lead back to the Bay Area. The series was
threatening to be ended after five games, which the NBA viewed as a
disaster because it was getting big ratings.
So, ex post facto,
the NBA Office said they were charging Green with a “flagrant foul,”
(something they had not done when he kicked Hayes in the groin, twice in
the same game, actions that were clearly intentional and far more
violent) and suspended him for the crucial fifth game.
Since Green had been
guarding James and holding him to inept performances and had also been
scoring well, the best way to ensure that the Cavaliers would win the
fifth game was to get rid of Green, and that’s what they did,
retroactively assessing the charge and penalty. They could have just
called it a technical foul, but that wouldn’t have gotten rid of Green.
In actuality, Green did nothing; in fact he basically walked away from
James, showing admirable discretion. If anyone should have been called
for a foul it was James, but he’s the NBA’s Ubermensch.
Green guarding him, James ran wild in the fifth game, and the Cavaliers
won. With Green guarding James in the first four games, James and guard
Kyrie Irving drove an average of 19.8 times per game and shot 43.5%
averaging 17.5 points per game. In the fifth game, with Green not in the
building and unable to defend against James, they only drove 18 times
but shot 70.6% and scored 31 points.
It’s not only on
defense where Green was missed; his replacement, Harrison Barnes, only
made 2 shots out of 14 attempted in 38 minutes of play (14.2% v. 46.7%
for the year), many of them wide open 3s, with 5 rebounds. Green is
averaging 14.8 ppg and 9.3 rebounds per game for this series. Worse for
Golden State, center Andrew Bogut hurt his knee so is probably out for
the rest of the series. If Cleveland comes back to win, they have the
NBA Office to thank.
Worst Home Run
Call: Vin Scully used to have the best home run call, “Cut on and
belted!” he would intone. For some reason he dropped this a couple of
decades ago. Dick Enberg, when he took over play by play for the Angels
said he thought he had to have a trademark call, so he came up with
“Touch ‘em all!” I’ve always felt of all the home run calls, that was
the most inane. That was before June 6, however, when Colorado Rockies’
Trevor Story hit a three run home run against the Dodgers. “Take a good
look; you won’t see it for long!” said Colorado play by play telecaster,
Drew Goodman, who easily takes over the crown from Enberg.
Say it again,
Sam: Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis on Muhammed Ali, “He
will always be remembered and he will never be forgotten.”