The Instigator
Pro (for)
8 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Are the NBA finals rigged?

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/17/2016 Category: Sports
Updated: 4 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 259 times Debate No: 92841
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)




This is a challenge to anyone who wants to debate whether or not the NBA as an organization has directly influenced the outcome of the 2016 NBA Finals. Requirement for proof on behalf of the "pro" argument being preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt.


I accept this challenge and assume that since Pro has the burden of proof, he will begin first.
Debate Round No. 1


It is essential to begin by defining the three key elements of unethical activity: means, motive and opportunity.

Means: The ability to carry out the act.
Motive: A significant reason to carry out the act.
Opportunity: The scenario in which one would be able to carry out the act.

For the NBA to influence the Finals:

Means: The NBA has complete control over referees, scorers, and administrators.
Motive: Oracle Arena holds 19,596 people. The Quicken Loans arena holds 20,562. According to and citing online distributor, the average price of a ticket for games 6 and 7 is currently $1,014 (I should note that this is the lowest number I could find; other ticket distributors' estimates range to nearly $2,000. I am granting benefit of the doubt by taking the lowest possible number.) Multiplying these numbers means a potential estimate of $47,720,212 for Games 6 and 7. While the actual number will be lower since many tickets were issued ahead of time, this does not take into account the extremely high TV ratings that Games 6 and 7 will garner, generating more revenue and bringing the total back to or even past the number above. Even IF the number doesn't quite reach the one above, there is a very clear financial motive.
Opportunity: The NBA remains in contact with its officials and administrators at all times, even including direct radio links to the courtside during the game (ostensibly for replays and scoring assistance, though there's nothing to stop these from being exploited for other purposes).

I believe this soundly proves the NBA has means, motive, and opportunity to force the Finals to include Games 6 and 7 if at all possible. Now the question becomes whether there was any action in furtherance of this.

Exhibit A is the flagrant foul called on Draymond Green in Game 4 due to an "altercation" with Lebron James. The play in question shows no more contact from Green to James than it A) from James to Green; if anything, James was the instigator and B) no more than any number of other fouls that were not judged flagrant. Green had arguably been the Finals MVP up to that point, so anyone with knowledge of the game knows that sitting him would have a significant negative impact on Golden State. In addition, the flagrant foul was called retroactively the day after the game, meaning that it had to be discussed. If indeed what Green did was enough to warrant a Series-altering suspension, it shouldn't have taken a whole day to realize it.

Exhibit B is the six foul calls against Stephen Curry in Game 6. Several were highly questionable, to the point that Curry (generally considered one of the league's more respectful superstars) lost it and threw his mouthpiece in frustration. I'll be honest, I don't know how to cite a source for this; you either watched the game or you didn't.

Exhibit C is that Tim Donaghy, who probably knows more about slanting basketball games than any other person alive, has openly declared Green's suspension fits the profile of the activities he himself took when rigging games, and that the league has often pressured officials to help teams trailing in a series. I'll preempt the "Tim Donaghy is a liar, why would you listen to him?" reply with this question: If Bernie Madoff told you an investment you were about to make was part of a Ponzi scheme, wouldn't you reconsider your investment? The fact that someone is a liar and crook doesn't mean they don't know what they're talking about. In fact, it strengthens their case. No one knows more about Ponzi schemes than Bernie Madoff, and no one knows more about slanting basketball games than Tim Donaghy.

Given the means, motive, and opportunity above and the clearly pro-Cleveland slant of the officiating after the series appeared poised to end after Game 5, the preponderance of the evidence speaks to a directive from the league to its officials to try to get the series to seven games. True, the evidence is circumstantial and there is no "smoking gun", but it fits very well with the Latin phrase often used in legal parlance "res ipsa loquitur", or "the thing speaks for itself".


Udel forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Since you forfeited round 2, not introducing any arguments or rebutting any of mine, there's not much I can offer here other than to reiterate:

Means, motive, and opportunity are firmly established. Multiple overt acts in furtherance of the overall "crime" (I use the quote marks to emphasize this is NOT a criminal matter) are established, and an expert witness testifies to the pattern of behavior as established illegitimate behavior. In any civil court this would be sufficient to meet the preponderance of the evidence standard established as the necessary threshold for my "pro" argument.


Udel forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by enderwiggin 4 months ago
I don't think the NBA directly told the refs to throw it, but I must say, some (like 5 out of the six) of those calls on Curry, and that reach-in on Green were very, very suspect.
Posted by CentristX 4 months ago
How couldn't it be? All these ridiculous calls, when the GSW should have obviously swept the finals. Who goes 73-9 and barely stumbles through the playoffs? That's ridiculous!
Posted by dsjpk5 4 months ago
Yes they are
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by fire_wings 4 months ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by ericfleishman 4 months ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Con didn't even partake in the debate.