One of the darkest points and scandals in NBA history involved the referring scandal based around betting on games with Tim Donghay in the center of attention. Fittingly enough, he was a part of the crew engaged in the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings, which many believe was one of the biggest robberies in NBA history.
The star of that team, Chris Webber, made an appearance on The Ringer’s Real Ones Podcast with Logan Murdock and Raja Bell and was asked about that Sacramento team and what they were capable of. Of course, the 2002 series against the Lakers came up.
“I think it’s the, you know, I guess it’s the Lakers. I don’t know if that was 2002 or 03. That’s the year we got cheated, I think, in Game 6… The year Robert Horry hit a crazy shot… It was that year. It was that year. You know, me and Kobe used to talk about it all the time. (…) That was the team. We should have won the championship, and we didn’t because we didn’t follow through after being disappointed in Game Six.”Chris Webber, The Real Ones
C-Webb obviously still has a tough time reminiscing about that series, as the Kings got stripped of an excellent opportunity to win the championship. They were one of the most fun teams to watch, combining great chemistry, attitude, and support from the Sacramento fan-base. With numerous great players alongside Webber like Bibby, Divac, Stojakovic, Turkoglu, and more, they were a massive problem for the Lakers.
Game 6 in Los Angeles is considered the most poorly reffed game in NBA history. Numerous phantom foul calls were called, especially on Shaq. Vlade Divac and Scott Pollard weren’t allowed to be in his vicinity, as they both fouled out. Shaq was stepping over the line on every single free throw, Webber was being called for offensive fouls on things Shaq did on every possession, and the Kings were getting no calls on the other end. The most significant example is that the Lakers shot 40 free throws as opposed to the Kings’ 25 attempts from the free-throw line.
The crazy part is even though they were getting robbed, it was still a very close game as they almost pulled it off. The emotional drain taken out of them would have a considerable effect, as they lost Game 7 at home. David Stern denied the referring scandal being linked to this series, but it is pretty apparent that it is a lie, and the Kings had no shot of winning that series. For some, that makes the loss easier to bear, but it makes it even worse for some Kings and, in general, NBA fans. Just one of the worst events in NBA history.