Skip to content

Even team personnel believe referees are picking on them at NBA’s ordering

Jul 23, 2013, 10:15 AM EDT

rod thorn nba AP

The NBA is out to get [insert your favorite team].

I know it. You know. The NBA certainly knows it. It’s the one out to get [insert your favorite team] in the first place.

Sure, even Lakers, Knicks and Heat fans believe the NBA is out to get their team. But we know that’s ridiculous. The NBA truly hates only the [insert your favorite team].

Occasionally, the media will say you’re being irrational, that those in business realize the league doesn’t play favorites. Balderdash!

Rod Thorn, the NBA’s old and new President of Basketball Operations, in an interview with David Aldridge of

Me: What was the single most entertaining complaint call you got from a team back in the day?

RT: The ones that used to get me were the guys who said they knew the NBA was trying to get them. What’s transpiring with these calls we’re getting? You guys don’t like me. You’re out to get me. Those were the ones that used to crack me up. Like, if we ever told the referees to get anybody, how long do you think it would take to be on a blog, or in the paper? About five minutes? Maybe 10 minutes at the most? Either overtly or covertly. So we know that’s not going on.

Thorn’s last term as President of Basketball Operations ended in 2000. I don’t think blogs were positioned to widely disseminate news of the NBA playing favorites back then, so I call hogwash on Thorn’s excuse.

The league really is out to get [insert your favorite team].

  1. spursareold - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    Rod, it’s been on blogs since the 2002 Lakers Kings abomination.

    • fanofevilempire - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      ah, get over it, stop being a drama queen.

    • bucrightoff - Jul 23, 2013 at 11:29 AM

      Get over what? Kobe breaking Mike Bibby’s nose and Mike Bibby getting called for the foul? Yeah, sorry for getting my face in the way of your elbow Kobe…

      • somekat - Jul 23, 2013 at 12:31 PM

        or (going back a way), how about Deke standing there, Shaq hitting him with a round house elbow in the mouth (which required a dozen stitches), and Deke getting called for fouling Shaq

        See my point below though, they aren’t out to hurt your team. They ARE out to help certain teams/players

  2. mitchication - Jul 23, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    As a life long bball fan, I’ve noticed one thing; the players are faster than the refs. Look at film, how many times does it appear a ref called a foul simply because it LOOKED like there was a foul? I think the NBA needs to reconsider on-court referee placement. Maybe in opposite corners and the third being a “rover” of sorts. Plus, consider the amount of talking between ref/player. Refs are human, with human eyes and imfluential human brains. Just consider it.

  3. bucrightoff - Jul 23, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    Why is it such a stretch? Just a guess, but a Milwaukee-Minnesota NBA Finals would rate below most Monday Night Raws. The NBA is a business that thrives when stars and big markets are thriving. Its not the NFL where you could put any two teams in the league in the Super Bowl and get a massive rating. The NBA needs one of about 5 or 6 teams to get a good rating. Sad, but true.

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:12 AM

      This year’s finals were between US TV markets #16 and #37.

      We now return you to your regularly scheduled paranoia.

      • bucrightoff - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:47 AM

        Only 12 months until LeBron leaves and you can return to your regualrly schedule doing nothing until the next Miami team matters so you can bandwagon them.

  4. somekat - Jul 23, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    The NBA is not out to hurt any single team, that is ridiculous, and would hurt the league

    However, they are out to help certain teams/players. That’s why it is the only sport with “superstar rules” that are different than every other player. Is Calvin Johnson allowed to just throw DB’s around while the ball is in the air? Does Albert Puljos has a strike zone half the size as other players? Is Sidney Crosby allowed to just spear people to get the puck? No, it’s only in the NBA that the best players aren’t expected to play by the same rules as everyone else

    They aren’t exactly trying to hurt your team, they are just trying to help the Lakers/Celtics/Melo/Lebron/Kobe, the list goes on.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 23, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      “Is Calvin Johnson allowed to just throw DB’s around while the ball is in the air?”

      No, but if you get within 5 feet of certain QBs (ahem, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning) you can expect a flag.

      “Does Albert Puljos has a strike zone half the size as other players?”

      Maybe if Joe West is calling the game.

      “Is Sidney Crosby allowed to just spear people to get the puck?”

      Chris Pronger was allowed to spear people.

      Every sport has preferential/star treatment. It’s just the way it kind of is. It’s unfortunate but it’s not just the NBA. It just gets more attention in the NBA because that’s the way it is. Just like how steroids are as much of a problem (maybe more) in the NFL but gets far more attention in MLB.

  5. atlbrave5 - Jul 23, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    I’ve been involved in the “officiating” business for about 10 years now and I will say that as long as human referee’s are expected to call a fair and even game, then there will always be complaints and doubt about the job they are doing. People are so passionate about their team and half of those people don’t even have a clue on what the exact rule is by definition. Yes, there are bad calls, blown calls..ect. But, it is no different than the best players in the world missing jump shots and having turnovers. If you wanted perfection then the games would be officiated using nothing but robots, camera’s and monitors. And even with that I would still suspect errors (see college football cpu rankings).

    People need to let the refs do their jobs, and understand that most often games are not fair, balanced and even because THE TEAMS AREN’T ALWAYS FAIR, BALANCED AND EVEN. So the calls are going to be often unbalanced because of agression or lack there of. A player like D. Wade that drives the lane 10-20 times per fame is game is going to get fouled and sent to the line and a player like Ray Allen might go to the line only once because he took 10 3pointers…People need to get with the program and understand the science behind basketball…it’s anything but exact.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2092)
  2. L. James (1852)
  3. K. Irving (1668)
  4. K. Bryant (1661)
  5. J. Smith (1431)