“If I Did It…” : Disgraced Former NBA Ref Tim Donaghy Peddles OJ-Inspired Manuscript
Cheater Ref Tim Donaghy pens hypothetical confessional. Says NY Times Book Reviewer Michiko Kakutani, "He picks up where OJ’s bloody gloves leave off. Whether or not Donaghy did it is not for me to say, but you have to give him credit for working an entirely new genre, one not seen since the nonfiction novel. It’s a bold literary experiment.”
NEW YORK, NY (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) – “I'm going to tell you a story you've never heard before, because no one knows this story the way I know it.”
So begins the first chapter of Tim Donaghy’s manuscript, tentatively titled “If I Did It,” which reportedly details Donaghy’s early relationship with Vito “Two Thumbs” Gambone and the low-level mobster’s band of affable, if psychopathic, gambling cronies. The latter part of the manuscript reportedly describes details of the games that might have been fixed, as they would have occurred had Donaghy in fact fixed them.
The former NBA referee faces up to 33 months in prison at sentencing on July 14 for betting on basketball games over two seasons, including ones in which he officiated.
“It began on the night of November 2, 2005, the Bucks are in town playing the Nets, and it concerns the
murder of my ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her young friend, Ronald Goldman game’s outcome. I want you to forget everything you think you know about that night – the 195.5 over/under, the 206 points scored, the Bucks beating the 8 point spread, the stopped shot clock, the nearly severed heads, the broken whistle and bloody glove – and about all the other nights under investigation, because I know the facts better than anyone.”
According to Donaghy’s attorney, “other than the remarkably vivid details of clearly bogus calls – both made and not made – over the course of two NBA seasons, the book, in my understanding, is complete fiction. As is global warming, the theory of evolution and the law degree on my office wall.”
In Donaghy’s hypothetical scenario, he has an unwilling accomplice named "Slip" who tells Donaghy to stop making bogus calls or doing anything to influence the game’s score or outcome.
“Timmy, I knows you in debt up to your eyeballs, but you can’t be making charging calls under the basket when you’re standing at the half-court line. People’s gonna get suspicious. And the time in New York, you slip, you’re on your ass, you’re facing the wrong direction and you’re calling Shaq for a three second violation. And the motherfucker ain’t even cross the three point arc. I mean, what the fuck!”
But time and again, Donaghy’s desperate pleas for help – and a promise to cut him in on the action -- bring a reluctant Slip around.
“If I were a dirty ref – if, and that’s a BIG IF -- it wouldn’t take much to tamper with the point total,” reads a typically tormented passage in Donaghy’s rambling manuscript. “And so what if you make a completely ridiculous call while you’re on your cell with Jimmy the Book, it gets lost in the 48 minutes of officiating incompetence that fans have come to expect. At least 65% of all NBA calls are purely arbitrary – even a casual NBA watcher knows this. Now, if you ask me, it’s not the intentionally bogus calls that threaten the integrity of the game, it’s the rampant incompetence – and the fan’s knowing acceptance of it. That’s the scandal. And that’s what Stern and the FBI should be investigating, not whether some schmuck with a gambling problem might or might not be in bed with low-level mobsters fixing games and making the regular NBA season more irrelevant than it already is.”
Donaghy vows to use the proceeds of the book sale to “find the person actually responsible for making the calls – or not making the calls – I’m alleged to have made. Or not made. As the case may be. I will not rest until he, she or they are brought to justice. If it turns out that I in fact am the guilty party – again, a BIG IF – I’ll be the first to admit it. Repeat: If.”
“If I ever see that little bastard again, I’ll cram one of Shaq’s size 22s down his friggin' throat,” said Vito Gambone, the mobster linked to Donaghy. “I’m saying if.”
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