josh smith

Originally published in SLAM 134

The following is not an excerpt from Tim Donaghy’s book, Blowing the Whistle: The Culture of Fraud in the NBA. As far as you know.

You know what the best thing about being an NBA referee was? I mean besides cashing in first-class tickets and walking from Cleveland to Chicago in January just so you could bet the money on the Lakers, or telling Joey Crawford that Tim Duncan was making faces at him from the bench again? Those were great, but the very best part was getting the players to do your dirty work for you.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say the Pacers are playing in Atlanta, and you’ve got some guy like Jeff Foster being a real pain in the ass. You know, taking charges, diving for loose balls, going for blocks. Making you have to concentrate on the game instead of figuring out whether you should take Houston over Portland, despite the fact that Portland always seems to cover.

What you’d do is—this is so great—you’d just say something about him in earshot of the other team’s most aggressive dunker. Like, “Hey Foster, ease up on Smith’s mother or I’ll ring you up.”

The rest would just take care of itself.

Russ Bengtson