When former NBA referee Tim Donaghy was fired and then sent to jail for betting on NBA games, I was hoping commissioner David Stern would call for an independant investigation to learn the truth. I was certain several other officials were involved and there was no way the NBA could sweep this under the rug and still maintain credibility….
Even though phone records showed Donaghy made hundreds of calls to officials minutes before tip offs of games he officiated, Stern ordered an NBA investigation. The results? Shocking!….
The “investigation” took about five minutes and came to the conclusion that Donaghy acted alone. And then Stern announced the discussion was closed and it was time to move on….
This was obviously a whitewash, a cover up and almost nobody believed this fraudulent conclusion. But Stern held his breath, turned blue and got his way. He also lucked out that a few weeks later the league got a Lakers-Celtics Finals, which diverted attention away from the NBA’s chicanery….
The commissioner probably thought he was through with mess, until this week; when exerpts from Donaghy’s new book began to surface. In the book, Donaghy admits to conspiring with fellow officials to get Allen Iverson, who had complained publicly about officiating….
“Among the allegations reportedly made by Donaghy in the book “Blowing the Whistle: The Culture of Fraud in the NBA,” Donaghy was able to bet on games based on information on the styles of officials and some of their relationships with certain players and teams.”
Reaction: The worst news possible for the NBA, which wants to get as far away as possible. But the good new is the publisher is passing on releasing the book, allegedly because the NBA threatened to sue.
I hope some publisher has the guts to run with this, because this stuff is too good. I also wish Donaghy would come clean and admit there were other officials involved….
And Stern should do the right thing, step aside and allow independant investigators to dig into this….
Speaking of upcoming books, Andre Agassi has an autobiography hitting bookstores in November which looks like it’s going to be a blockbuster….
In the book, Agassi reportedly admits to wearing a “mohawk toupee” when his hairline was receding, actually wore rouge, says he “hated his father and hated tennis” and admits to using crystal meth back in 1997…
Obviously, the drug admission is dominating the headlines, but I’m most interested in that mohawk toupee. I can’t wait to sdee pictures of that one….
And wearing rouge is definitely a man card violation. Maybe a permanent revocation. The board will have to convene of this one….
As for the crystal meth stuff, my reaction is a big yawn. Everyone knows that in his younger days Agassi was a hard partying, “image is everything” guy who loved the nightlife and having a good time….
He was young, rich, good looking, smart, talented and famous; so to me it would be a shock if he hadn’t used drugs….
Things were thrown at him quickly and he was a multi-millionaire by the age of 18. And who among us wouldn’t have sown our wild oats and gotten into all kinds of trouble under those circumstances?….
His father sent him to Nick Bollittieri’s tennis academy when he was 13 and he was lonely, scared and away from home for the first time. He responded by growing his hair long, wearing denim, putting on earrings and taking the tennis world by storm. I was a huge fan, because it was about time someone came along and put some personality in the sport….
John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors were fading from the scene and along came this rock star, who dressed differently, had a wild haircut, wore multi-colored outfits and became a phenominon….
And all before he could legally buy a drink….
Since that time, however, he has undergone one of the most remarkable transformations I’ve ever seen: Going from an immature wild child to arguably the most unselfish, gracious, warm hearted person in sports history….
He began by starting a foundation to help underpriveledged kids in the Las Vegas area, but soon found it wasn’t doing enough; so he raised millions of dollars, including his own, to open a prep school in Las Vegas for at risk kids. This was an enormous and challenging undertaking, yet he somehow pulled it off and has made a major difference in these kids lives….
The school now has over 400 students and thriving….
In fact, the first senior class of Agassi’s school had their graduation ceremony in June, with remarkable results: Every single student graduated and every single one of them is going to college. And with the vast majority of the students being minorities, it’s probably the feel good story of the year….
I watched the graduates being interviewed and all of them were bright, articulate and eagerly looking forward to college. It was heart warming to hear of them thank Andre and say they would be the first members of their families to attend college….
Forget all the major titles and accomplishments, this is what Agassi should be most proud of….
He’s happily married to Steffi Graf, has two beautiful kids and both of them are generously giving back to help others….
I defy anyone to name an athlete who has done more to help people than Andre Agassi. Hell, name anyone in any field….
I’ve interviewed him several times and genuinely liked him. My impression was he seemed very sincere, polite, happy with his life and doesn’t have a phony bone in his body. I was very impressed and in awe of how much he’s given back….
Was it a mistake to use crystal meth and then lie to the ATP, thus avoiding a suspension? Of course….
And was it unfair to those players who missed out on money and titles Agassi won when he should have been suspended? Of course….
But it’s also refreshing to read an autobiography where someone actually tells the truth, no matter how damaging to his reputation. For once, we’re going to get a raw, honest look at a flawed person who seems to have learned from his mistakes and gone on to become a tremendous human being….
So he tried drugs 12 years ago and was a wild and troubled kid. So was I and I’m sure a lot of you went throught he same thing. Let he among us who’s not guilty cast the first stone….
Since then, however, he has done so much good and been such a great role model. And in my opinion that’s what we should be talking about….
His former coach and teacher, Bollittieri, put it best recently when asked about Agassi: “I’m proud of Andre for all he’s done in tennis, but I’m most proud of the man he’s become.”….