- The Washington Times - Friday, August 3, 2007

The Kevin Garnett trade has pushed Tim Donaghy out of the news cycle, the Celtics are poised to claim the 3-on-3 NBA championship next June and David Stern, of course, is employing his old bag of manipulative tricks while standing behind a screen of deniable plausibility.

Or perhaps Stern had a hand in the bridge collapsing in Minneapolis.

If not, then it possibly was the work of the Bush administration.

The addled minds of America have a million of them.

Keith Olbermann, start your sputtering.

The Garnett conspiracy theory comes from the NBA’s nut-wing branch, forever conditioned to see ulterior motives in events large and small.

Donaghy is their man on the grassy knoll, their confirmation that seeing is not always believing in the NBA, their cue to remove their pasty faces from the keyboard and come out in the sunshine to take a bow.

All this passes as intellectual enlightenment, as it is defined down in the age of the modem.

If Stern actually were the master puppeteer that he often is portrayed to be in cyberspace, he certainly would not have allowed the small-market Spurs to win the NBA championship four times in the last nine years.

Not only are the Spurs from a small market, but they play a brand of basketball that only the purists can appreciate, as their modest television ratings inevitably reveal.

Yet these immutable facts do not persuade the conspiracy theorists. Finally, all their paranoia has been rewarded in the form of a crooked referee.

This should provide them with enough sustenance to last another generation and a rallying cry: “Remember the crooked ref.”

That will be Donaghy’s legacy and Stern’s bane.

It does not matter that even a broken clock is right on two occasions each day.

The misguided thinkers given to extrapolation surrender themselves to their obsessive-compulsive disorder.

If they could channel their energy in a more productive manner than conspiracy theories, they possibly would be richer in spirit and resources.

But such an approach would be counter to their dour dispositions.

Being snarky is the cyberspace equivalent of being so cool, so with it, so happening, although you would not want to have a beer with the authors.

They would be too consumed with sating their technological addictions to have time to engage a live human being in genuine dialogue.

No other professional sports league attracts conspiracy theorists the way the NBA does.

That is partly because the game is nearly impossible to officiate, the subjective element of it is pronounced and it celebrates the individual far more than football and baseball.

You see, Stern desperately wanted LeBron James to reach the NBA Finals last June on the corporate say-so of Nike.

That explains why the Pistons, inexplicably, were unable to play at their customary high level in the conference finals.

If you go by this strained logic — that Stern orchestrates outcomes to best suit the NBA as a whole — then James never should have been allowed to go to Cleveland.

You have to figure James would have served the purposes of the NBA far better as a member of the Knicks than the Cavaliers.

But the lottery did not go down in that fashion, and James went to Cleveland, and Mike Sweetney went to New York.

Stern also has been unable to fix that which is broken with the Lakers, which undoubtedly hurts the NBA.

And if Stern were thinking truly big — and the league does have offices in Paris, Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai — he probably would have had Yao Ming advance beyond the first round of the playoffs by now.

You cannot overstate enough the importance of the 1 billion-plus market of China.

These small details are nowhere near as much fun as the conspiracy theory of the moment.

Garnett to Boston?

Stern’s fingerprints were all over that transaction.




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