Perhaps the most compelling recent evidence on the side of those who believe the NBA is fixed came to light when former NBA referee Tim Donaghy publicly stated that the league manipulates games through control over their officiating.
“I think there was a situation where certain referees, in my mind -- and it obviously proved successful -- could change the point spread in an NBA game based on relationships by four or five points,” he told Van Susteren. “And when you talk about adding four or five points onto any line that's at Vegas, it's like sitting at a blackjack table and knowing that your first card is an ace when the dealer starts to deal … Right, and I think the, you know, NBA fans are very knowledgeable. And over the last 10 or 15 years, they know that a lot of unusual things have taken place.”
He went on to explain that referees “deliberately” give fouls to less-popular players vs. big stars because “it’s the way you were trained” to be a referee.
“Referees are trained in the fact that, obviously, you don't want to be throwing the stars out of the game, or you don't want to be giving a star a foul that you can give to somebody else who's in that area,” he said, adding later, “Obviously you don't want to give a Kobe Bryant or Shaquille O'Neal or LeBron James a foul that may be his second or third foul in the first quarter, to where he's going to have to go to the bench. I mean, it was openly discussed in meetings that, you know, people paid big dollars to see these stars on the floor.”