NBA Conspiracy: Redux
*This article originally appeared May 28th, 2012
The bat phone. If any of you are fans, or have even seen, the original Batman series from the 60's starring Adam West, you will most certainly remember the Bat Phone. It was a red colored phone that, I believe, was not only at the bat cave, but one also sat in Commissioner Gordon's office. Commissioner Gordon would use this phone to contact Batman when the city of Gotham was in trouble. Or vice versa if Batman had happened to solve the puzzle and want to warn Gordon ahead of time.
What does all of this have to do with the NBA and conspiracies? I'm glad you asked and the answer is simple: Commissioner David Stern of the NBA has his very own Bat Phone that he uses to help control outcomes of games.
The theory all started about twelve years ago. And it's roots are traced back to the L.A. Lakers. The Lakers had some classic battles with the Sacramento Kings, yet the Kings were never quite able to get out of the Conference Finals. This was a good Kings team. They had Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, and Jason Williams, to name a few. No matter how hard they tried, the Lakers won out in 7 games, advanced to the Finals, and eventually won a few Championships in the mean time.
Of course I won't completely discredit these victories because the Lakers had a few "decent" players themselves. (See: O'Neal, Shaq and Bryant, Kobe) The Kings would be winning games, but then funny things would start to happen. Phantom foul calls and mysterious violations would begin to plague the Kings. Bryant would mysteriously start getting fouled every time he went into the lane, even though he was getting hit less than he was earlier in the game with no fouls being called. Because he knew that having the Lakers in the Finals would translate into bigger ratings and thus more money,David Stern would reach to his Bat Phone and place a call to the referees. The instructions were simple: Find simple ways throughout the course of the game to help the Lakers out. A foul call here. A technical there. No one would be the wiser.
Over the years, it seemed that Kobe Bryant and the Lakers were at the receiving end of such phone calls. Mr. Bryant has won five titles during this time frame. Not only was the phone used in playoff games, but mysterious calls would start going Kobe's way towards the end of regular season games as well. It also benefited other teams as well. Remember when it seemed all but certain the Mavs were going to beat the Heat all those years ago? Well, one call by Mr. Stern allowed Shaquille O'Neal to win his last title, this time with the young Dwayne Wade. Careful as to not let anyone in on this little trick he pulled, Stern had to be careful to spread things out and let the Spurs win a championship from time to time. The Spurs are the NBA's most boring team, according to most casual fans, so Mr. Stern knew his secret would be safe.
Except I know the truth, David Stern, I know the truth. You proved my theory this very evening. Tonight Mr. Stern lit up the phone that sits in the ref's dressing room with another simple instruction: Find anyway possible to aid Lebron in getting to the Finals. The refs happily obliged in the first half, issuing 3 technical fouls on the Boston Celtics in the first half. These were technical fouls that would have normally not been called in any other game, but David Stern knows something we don't. He needs Lebron in the Finals. Lebron needs the help. (I'd be surprised if Kobe hasn't passed his Bat Phone over to Lebron). Stern knows the Celtics are a good team with a good market, but their time has passed. The NBA is gearing for an Oklahoma City vs Heat showdown, with the market surrounding the match-up of Kevin Durant vs. Lebron James.
(Surprisingly, David Stern has not used the bat phone in the Western Conference yet. Only one game has been played, so there is still time.)
Thirteen years David Stern has been placing these calls. (As I'm typing, a fourth technical was just issued. I think he's reading this blog as I type). The casual fan may believe these are simply bad calls, but after following the progress of such events over the years, I believe otherwise. Will it end soon? Can the Boston Celtics overcome such obstacles to beat the obviously better team? Will someone at least get David Stern a Bat Cell Phone? Has Kobe Bryant seen the last of his championships? Does Tim Duncan have access to the David Stern Bat Phone? Will Lebron ever win a championship? Find out next week. Same David Stern time. Same David Stern channel...