These are four words that don't belong together - especially not in a headline. And then to further the Sopranos-esqueness, we add point shaving, referees betting on the games they officiate, and referees in debt to their mob bookies. They all add up to NBA seasons for the past several years with way more problems than just an asterisk in the records here and there.
Going to an NBA game had been an opportunity to watch the best in basketball compete - we thought. It now appears that many games' outcomes were dependent not on players talent and game play, but on the needs of a gambling referee and his mob controllers.
Sports fans criticize the WWF for its scripted wrestling matches and their foreordained outcomes. Fans who follow professional wrestling, as least, know what they are paying for and its not to line the coffers of organized crime. Nobody would bet on the outcome of a professional wrestling match, unless they were complete morons. Now, it appears, that the same can be said about professional basketball.
David Stern, commissioner of the NBA, has a very pro-active track record. This should help in the days ahead, as the NBA struggles to come to grips with the unleashed python of organized crime in their midst.
Stern has been adamant in turning down proposals to put a team in Las Vegas because of gambling fears. Putting a team in Las Vegas could be one of the ways forward for the NBA. As the Nevada gaming commission points out they have the legal tools to oversee unusual activity as far as the movement of the line and that type of conduct. the NBA officials are in constant scouting for a deserving referee. Who knows, you might get this once in a lifetime chance of officiating in the most famous basketball league in the world today.
Patience is the name of the game, so if you really have a strong desire to become a basketball referee, you should be determined enough to reach your goal of becoming one of the most difficult, yet enjoyable sports-related job.
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