Allen Iverson & Steve Javie

How a $25,000 fine kicked off the refs’ revenge campaign against Allen Iverson

It’s no secret NBA referees had it in for Allen Iverson. Tim Donaghy, the former ref who was sentenced to 15 months in prison for a gambling scandal, admitted to it in his first major television interview after completing a sentence.

Tim Donaghy’s gambling scandal 

Donaghy said he officiated “a lot” of the estimated 100-plus NBA games that he placed bets on. He had a success rate of 70 to 80 percent, solely based on inside information instead of having to affect the outcome personally.

According to CBC, the 13-year NBA veteran said he could accurately predict results based on a particular crew’s views on Iverson, especially after a $25,000 fine he had received for criticizing Steve Javie following the Nuggets’ loss to the Sixers during the 2006/07 season.

“I thought I got fouled on that play, and I said I thought that he was calling the game personal, and he threw me out,” Iverson said after getting rejected late in the game. “His fuse is real short anyway, and I should have known that I couldn’t say anything anyway. It’s been something personal with me and him since I got in the league. This was just the perfect game for him to try and make me look bad.”

Targeting Allen Iverson

“We felt as a group that he should have been suspended,” Donaghy said of Iverson’s fine. “Because he wasn’t, we felt like we would teach him a lesson.”

The next game, the refs began their revenge campaign against A.I. as the Nuggets faced the Lakers. The superstar guard was even called for a discontinued dribble, which is rarely called in the NBA. Donaghy said the crew deliberately looked past a few plays where The Answer was obviously fouled. As a result, Iverson, who entered the game averaging 28.3 points per game, put up 16 on 5-17 from the floor, and the Nuggets lost 123-104.

In an interview with CBS, Donaghy even said that a referee supervisor laughed about the treatment of the Nuggets guard during the game with the crew. Despite all of it, Donaghy said he never attempted to fix games. 

But he was the one leading the campaign against Allen Iverson. Let’s just hope today’s refs aren’t doing the same things to current NBA superstars.