Disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy talked about his trials and tribulations about gambling on the NBA on Thursday’s edition of “The Dan Patrick Television Show,” which airs 8-11 a.m. on DIRECTV’s The 101 Network.
Here are some excerpts:
Would you have done things differently or not at all?
“I would certainly not have done it at all. My decisions affected a lot of other people in a negative way, so I wouldn’t have done it at all.”
On gambling problem as NBA ref:
“The betting consumed me and I became addicted to it. It was easy for me to predict things and I was able to bet on NBA games that I was officiating in. … I was so successful at making these picks at 70-80 percent correct, that I didn’t need to help a team get a win. I was never asked to fix a game.”
How did you eventually get caught?
“I got caught because I got involved with people in organized crime talking about me during a wire-tap. I wanted to stop and these guys picked me up outside a hotel and took me for a ride in a car and said they wanted to continue to get information. They said they’d expose me and threaten to come down to Florida and visit my wife and kids.”
How much money did you make betting, Tim?
“Over a period of time of about four years, I made about $100,000. I was already making good coin as an NBA ref. It wasn’t about money at that time. … I used relationships to determine lines to games and provide information.”
Did the NBA ask you to fix games?
“The group supervisor and the head of officials would instruct you to make certain calls in certain games. It’s certainly manipulating a game. … In 2005, Dallas was put at a clear advantage when they were down 2-0 and it was swinging back to Houston.”
Any funny business in ‘06 playoffs between the Kings and Lakers?
“The Lakers were put in a clear advantage in Game 6 of that series.”
Last time you heard from Commissioner Stern?
“I haven’t. I did try to contact the league office and they blew me off. They still owe me money.”
In an interview Tuesday morning on Dan Patrick’s national radio show, which airs 8-11
a.m. on DirecTV’s 101 Network, TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley discussed a wide range of topics. Here are excerpts:
On how concerned should the Lakers be with their play in Game 2 – even though they beat Utah: “The Lakers will win the West, but Oklahoma City will have been their toughest series.”
On the Cavs loss against the Celtics last night: “LeBron just doesn’t look the same. He don’t look 100 percent to me. Hell yeah the Celtics have a really good chance of winning that series. The Cavaliers play so slow sometimes. They get all their baskets letting LeBron go one on five. They need to play a lot faster.”
On the Dolphins line of questioning with Oklahoma State star receiver Dez Bryant: “You shouldn’t ask someone if your mom was a prostitute, but If you tell someone your dad was a pimp — that makes you an idiot.”
On the Arizona immigration law: “I’m disappointed we came up with the law. We should find a way to help people get citizenship. I’m very disappointed in John McCain also. You should also fine anyone who hires an illegal immigrant.”
On whether or not police should taser fans who runs on the field: “You might kill somebody. I always give the police the benefit of the doubt. I think they should just beat the hell out of them, but not necessarily tase them.”
I had an opportunity to talk with ESPN basketball analyst Jeff Van Gundy for a Q&A in The Oklahoman on Friday. Here are a few more questions for Van Gundy, one of my favorite NBA analysts.
Have you enjoyed your broadcasting career?
I do enjoy it. You don’t have the highs or lows of coaching. It’s more in a right-in-the-middle lifestyle. There are certains aspects of coaching that I miss. But I learned awhile ago, not to worry about what’s next. I just worry about what I’m doing now. And I’m having a good time with it and I really like the guys I’m working with. If your doiong a secondary type of career, it’s absolutely essential that you enjoy working with those people because you’re not that comfortable doing something totally different and so you really have to like and enjoy the people around you.
Were you disappointed you didn’t win the Sports Emmy for game analyst?
Frankly, I didn’t even know they did that for sports. Something asked if I was disappointed to lose. I said, Heck, I was surprised to even be nominated. I just try to say what I see. When I came into it, people said, Are you worried about it impacting your next coaching job. My thing was I’m not about what is next. If somebody would not hire me because of an opinion I had on the TV, then it probably wouldn’t work out anyway. I’m the beneficiary of the guys around me because Mike and Mark do such a good job of withstanding my bouts of crazyiness.
Who is your pick to reach the NBA Finals?
Cleveland in the East. I think L.A. deserves my pick, but if you told me that San Antonio was able to advance then and play them, and they eventually beat in L.A. in a tough series, I wouldn’t be shocked. I think a lot of it depends on the health of Bryant, beause if he is healthy, I think their size plus Bryant makes them a very difficult team to beat in the Western Concerence. And I think Cleveland has upgraded their challenge from last year. Yes, I think it’s going to be Cleveland’s year, but there are some very good playoff matchups.
In a TNT conference call Tuesday to preview the NBA playoffs, Charles Barkley cited the Oklahoma City Thunder’s porous defense as one reason why the Thunder will lose to the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
TNT will broadcast about 45 playoff games in 40 days.
“They have a bright future, but they are not going to win right now,” Barkley said of the Thunder. “They are a little young, their defense has been getting worse the last two or three weeks. I always say my biggest regret in my career is that I wasn’t a great defender. There are two stats I always look at, defense and rebounding. That’s the only way you’re going to win a championship, really good defense and rebounding the ball. Oklahoma City, the last 10 games, their points have really been going up. A couple of games they’ve given up about 120 points and if you’re giving up 115 or 120 points consistently, you’re not going to beat one of the elite teams in the playoffs.”
Other comments from Barkley: (Coach) Scott Brooks has done a terrific job, (Kevin) Durant is one of the 10 best players in the world, I love the point guard (Russell) Westbrook, I love Jeff Green, (Serge) Ibaka is terrific. They have a really bright future. I had Scott Brooks as ‘Coach of the Year’ all year, then I leaned toward (Phoenix’s) Alvin Gentry and I finally settled on (Milwaukee’s) Scott Skiles. Oklahoma City has done a great job and they’ve done it the right way. They’ve done it through the draft. They got three guys who are going to be All-Stars.”
Other comments from the conference call:
Analyst Kevin McHale on the positive experience the playoffs will be for the Thunder: “You’ve got to get a few scabs on your knees a few times in this league. If you really want to run fast you’ve got to fall down a few times. For Oklahoma City, they are going to maybe fall down and get a few scabs, but they are really going to remember that. They’ll remember that loss and these playoffs will be a great time for them. Kevin Durant is really going to find out what the playoffs are all about and they need to because they are going to be in the playoffs for a long time.”
Analyst Doug Collins on the many questions marks in the Western Conference, including the Lakers: “In the West, yes, the Lakers appear to be the team to beat, but they’ve got a lot of question marks right now. You’ve got to be concerned about Kobe Bryant right now with his finger injury and, more importantly, it sounds to me like he’s having some problems with that leg getting lift on his jump shot. He’s not shot the ball well in the last three games. Andrew Bynum coming back, is this going to be similar to last year with him not being a factor in the playoffs? If he doesn’t play and play well than Lamar Odom has got to start and it hurts the Lakers’ bench. That’s been very up and down all year, they’ve not been able to get any great production. And you’ve got to be concerned about when they play against fast point guards if Derek Fisher can contain them with all the pick-and-rolls you’re going to see because the Lakers don’t defend the screen-roll very well. Everyone had Denver ticketed to being the Lakers’ biggest challenge in the West because of the way they’ve played, but you’ve had Kenyon Martin hurt, the loss of George Karl and what he has meant to that team. There are so many question marks going in.”
Barkley on Bryant needing to adjust his game when he is injured: “(Kobe Bryant) is really banged up. (The Lakers) have really been going through the motions the whole season. Kobe uses so much energy every single night. He’s going to have to tweak his game at some point and say, ‘I’m making this move and I’m not trying to score. I’m trying to pass it to Andrew (Bynum), I’m trying to pass it to Pau (Gasol).’ You have to learn as you get older that you can’t waste all your energy. Scoring 25 or 30 points a night, it takes a toll on you. He’s still using so much energy every night and as you get older, you don’t get healthy, you just get older. (His finger injury) doesn’t hurt his FGA’s (field goal attempts). He hasn’t stopped shooting. If his finger is hurt and you’re not making shots, make a move with (different) intent. If his finger is hurt, he can become more of a set-up man because every defense is geared towards him offensively. He’s going to have to change his game a little.”
TNT and NBA Digital will team up at 7 p.m. Thursday for a special interactive edition of TNT NBA Thursday, integrating TNT, NBA TV and NBA.com.
TNT’s Emmy-Award winning studio team of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith will call the Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls game.
A camera will be focused on the crew throughout the game and, for the first time, fans will get live commentary from the trio during select commercial breaks. Smith also will provide a running Twitter commentary from courtside.
Fans also will vote online each quarter to select for one player each from the Bulls and Heat to be the focus of an isolated camera.
NBA TV’s Matt Winer, Kevin McHale and Chris Webber will provide studio coverage from Atlanta.
The second game will feature Dallas at Portland at 9:30 p.m. with announcers Marv Albert, Mike Fratello and David Aldridge.
ESPN’s Todd McShay in Norman for OU Pro Day
ESPN Scouts Inc. Director of College Football Scouting Todd McShay will provide reports on ESPN on Thursday from the University of Oklahoma’s Pro Day, where projected first-round quarterback Sam Bradford and other prospects from the school will conduct workouts for scouts and coaches. McShay will also cover Pro Day at Texas (March 31) and Notre Dame (April 9).
CBS announcers lineup
Here’s CBS announcers for the regional semifinal and final games Thursday through Sunday:
Salt Lake City — Gus Johnson and Len Elmore.
Syracuse — Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas.
St. Louis — Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery.
Houston — Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg.
Reggie Miller’s heated playoff rivalry with the New York Knicks and Knicks fan Spike Lee is featured in the entertaining ESPN documentary, “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks,” which debuts at 8 p.m. Saturday.
It’s a must watch for NBA fans, and another exemplary effort in the “30 for 30″ film series.
Miller’s matchup with Knicks guard John Starks, a former Oklahoma State player and Tulsa native, plays a major role. After Starks refused to shake his hand before a game, Miller said he started taunting him at every opportunity. Starks reached his boiling point when he headbutted Miller during the 1993 playoffs, resulting in his ejection and a $5,000 fan. Starks got the upper hand at other times.
The highlight of the film came in the Game 1 of the 1995 playoffs. With the Pacers facing a 105-99 deficit with 18.7 seconds left, Miller scoring an amazing eight points in nine seconds to pull out the victory. The previous season, he gave Lee the choke sign after he scored 25 points in the fourth quarter of a Pacers’ victory.
In a TNT All-Star game conference call last week, analysts Doug Collins, Kevin McHale and Reggie Miller spoke highly of Thunder star forward Kevin Durant. Here are a few of the quotes from the call.
There are seven first time All-Stars this year, which one are you most impressed with this year?
Doug Collins: Kevin Durant to me has been amazing. This young guy, I mean he scores so easily. He can shoot the ball with range. He’s getting out on the break, running the floor. And more importantly, Oklahoma City is playing well. This is a team that has a winning record on the road. They are in the playoff hunt. Kevin Durant has just been phenomenal. This is a guy if he stays healthy is going to win three or four scoring titles before it’s all said and done. He gets to the foul line now. He can shoot the 3. He’s going to be able add a little post up to his game. He’s the complete offensive player. He’s been terrific.
Fans at the Ford Center have started chanting “MVP! MVP!” for Kevin Durant. What does Kevin have to do to actually get in the diologue with Lebron and Kobe?
Doug Collins: I put him in my top five. I also had Lebron, Kobe, Durant, Steve Nash and Carmelo Anthony. The thing I go on is what has he brought to that franchise. I mean those people are so excited about basketball in Oklahoma. It’s an incredible environment, what they’ve done there. … He’s consistent. He’s fun to watch. He plays with great energy. And Reggie and Kevin you guys know, a big part of being a star is that charisma, that energy you bring where you walk out on the floor and you can just feel it. You bring a presence and he has that. At the same time, I think he is incredibly humble. His team is winning. They have done a nice job of putting pieces around him and they have a lot of draft picks. They are in the thick of things in the playoff race. As long as they are, I think have to start talking about him now. Is he probably going to win over Lebron or Kobe, the chances are probably not. Now that he is an All-Star and you are starting talking about the breadth of what he does for his team, I just love the young guy and they way he plays the game.
Kevin McHale: I talked to Rex Kalamian, their assistant coach there and I know Rex pretty well, and Rex was saying what he did this year that was different from previous years. Granted he is such a young player, but he came in with a real mental and physical commitment to the defensive end. Where he was going to try on the defensive end. He was going to work hard. He was going to get better defensively. … I think as he gets better on the defensive end, their team improves, they start getting better, he will be talked about as an MVP candidate. I personally believe he will win a couple of MVPs. You’re talking about a guy at this stage in his career in Doug’s top five, which I agree with, those are great players. I think he will win MVPs. There is a time for all things and right now is not his time to win a MVP. But it his time to shine and his time to really put Oklahoma on the map as far an NBA team.
Reggie Miller: Look, will he win an MVP this year, no. That’s obviously going to go to one of the big two in Kobe and Lebron. This is my magic number. If they can get to 50, 55 games (on his 25-point streak), you certainly have to strongly consider this guy if he continues to play like this. I go back to what Doug touched upon earlier, when you talk about these teams, how do they perform on the road, Oklahoma City is winning huge games on the road. What is scary when a young athletic team finds a way to win on the road. So 50 to 55 games and he can continue to play like this and score and elevate his team, you absolutely have to put him in the same breath with Carmelo, with Lebron, even Dwyane and Kobe. You have to put him in that same conservation. I agree with Kevin, It probably will happen more so later on his career because these guys are at the pinnacle of their career right now. I hate to muddy the waters, can you imagine if the Portland Trail Blazers, if hindsight looking back and I hate to say that because I love Greg Oden, but can you imagine him with Brandon Roy and LeMarcus Aldridge and that young team as well. That’s even scarier. You can definitely put him in the same breath, 50 to 55 games.
Here are some of the postgame comments from NBA TV analysts Kevin McHale and Chris Webber after the Thunder’s 89-77 over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night. It was the Thunder’s fourth appearance this season on the network’s “Fan Night.”
McHale on a new nickname for Kevin Durant, as compared to Basketball Hall of Famer George ‘The Iceman’ Gervin: “He’s ‘The Icicle.’ Long, skinny and cold-blooded.”
Webber on the Thunder’s defensive effort against the Trail Blazers: “This year, out of all the games we’ve watched, this is one of the best defensive efforts I’ve seen by a team.”
McHale: “They are confident and they know they can play defense.”
Webber on the Thunder: “This team is mature. This doesn’t happen much in the NBA with a team jumping like this. This is really something special to see.”
McHale on Thunder guard Kevin Durant’s scoring ability: “He scores very easily like any great scorer. What makes him unique is that he can make the long jump shot and he makes contested shots. There are times when you are up on him and you’re playing great defense and he rises up and knocks it down right in your mouth.”
Webber on Kevin Durant: “He’s one of the smoothest players I’ve ever seen. Every game he continues to break down this myth. I remember when he came into the league, people said, ‘he needs to lift weights. He needs to gain 50 pounds.’ For what? He’s going by you, he’s not going through you. This guy is a beast. When it comes to scorers in our league, (Durant) and Carmelo (Anthony) are right there at the top of the list for who can score the easiest.”
Webber on Oklahoma City fans watching the Thunder grow up together as a team: “(Golden State) had a young team that grew (together) and they beat Dallas (in the first round of the playoffs). That whole fan-base got to watch that team grow. Oklahoma City fans better take advantage of this because, believe me, it does not happen often when it grows (like this). I’m a (Detroit) Lions fan and you see where I am today. This Oklahoma City team is young, they’re good and hopefully they can stick with the plan of youth.”
Before the game, Webber on OKC’s formula for a winning team: “You have to give the coaches and GM’s credit. There are some teams that win because you have a great player and a great coach. This team wins because they have great players, but they have a great system. If you are playing good, you can be thrown in any spot and still get your game off so it is really a great system team.”
Although the reserves for the NBA All-Star Game have not been announced, Thunder star forward Kevin Durant is a unanimous choice of TNT studio analysts to be picked for the West team. The team will be announced at 6 p.m. Thursday on TNT’s pregame show.
Durant, Mavericks center Dirk Nowitzki and Trail Blazers guard are unanimous choices of TNT analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Chris Webber.
Barkley said he didn’t pick Lakers forward Pau Gasol because he has missed 17 games due to injury. He said he didn’t pick Hornets guard Chris Paul because he felt Rockets guard Aaron Brooks should be rewarded for his excellent play and the Rockets have a better record than the Hornets.
Unanimous picks for the East team are Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace and Raptors forward Chris Bosh.
Here are their selections:
TNT’s West All-Star picks
Chris Webber: Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, Brandon Roy, Chris Paul, Zach Randolph, Carl Landry, Chris Kaman
Kenny Smith: Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, Brandon Roy, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Aaron Brooks, Pau Gasol.
Charles Barkley: Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, Brandon Roy, Zach Randolph, Deron Williams, Aaron Brooks, Chris Kaman.
TNT’s East All-Star picks
Chris Webber: Rajon Rondo, Gerald Wallace, Chris Bosh, Mo Williams, Jamal Crawford, Paul Pierce, Shaquille O’Neal.
Kenny Smith: Rajon Rondo, Gerald Wallace, Chris Bosh, Mo Williams, David Lee, Paul Pearce, Chris Rose.
Chris Webber: Rajon Rondo, Gerald Wallace, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, David Lee, Joakin Noah, Joe Johnson
Turner Sports Interactive and TNT NBA Analyst Mike Fratello have launched MikeFratello.com, a Web site that will be regularly updated with exclusive information, analysis and insight from the “Czar of the Telestrator.”
Exclusive features on the site include:
Fratello fundamentals – Mike puts on his coaching hat to explain basketball strategies.
Mike’s fantasy pick – The Czar gives his expert advice on which player is in store for a big fantasy week.
Question of the week – Mike answers some of the bigger questions surrounding the NBA.
From the booth – The Czar shares what he and fellow broadcasters are up to in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
Czar’s week in review – Mike analyzes the previous week of NBA action.
Weekly polls – Mike asks a new poll question every week and allows fans to answer.
Top telestrator moments – Mike breaks down NBA footage in a way only the “Czar of the Telestrator” can.
Stories from an NBA coach – Mike recounts episodes from his NBA coaching career spanning over two decades.
Fired up – Mike voices his opinion on issues around the league.
–TNT will present a Martin Luther King Jr. Day tripleheader on Monday — Phoenix at Memhpis, 4:30 p.m.; Dallas at Boston, 7 p.m.; Orlando at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m.
–CBS’ “60 Minutes,” 7 p.m. Sunday, goes to American Samoa to find out how a territory with a population less than the capacity of a pro football stadium sends more players to the NFL than any similarly populated place in America.
–The NHL returns to NBC at 11:30 a.m. Sunday with Chicago at Detroit. Mike “Doc” Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter) will call the action.
–Brad Faxon, a winner of eight PGA Tour events, has joined NBC’s golf coverage as an outer tower commentator.
–The next edition of HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” which debuts at 9 p.m. Tuesday looks at concussions in the NFL and the collapse of the Dallas Cowboys practice facility.