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Is the NBA rigged?

Conspiracy theories have long been a major part of the world and the NBA. There are numerous claims that the NBA is rigged and everything is determined by the league in advance.

Is the NBA rigged? The NBA is not rigged in any way and everything is coincidental. The championship of various teams, as well as matches, are not played out in advance and the teams are responsible for their performance.

However, throughout the existence of the NBA, numerous theories have been put forward both by spectators and experts who doubt the fairness of the league. We will have a further look at each of them and what makes them so popular in the United States.

Theories are inherent to the NBA

Whether you like conspiracy theories or not related to the NBA, they are an integral part of any discipline. Whether it’s Chris Paul, who was traded to Los Angeles twice, or Michael Jordan, who joined the Chicago White Sox when he had problems with gambling, people love to look for hidden meaning out of nothing to do.

Chris Paul Saga

Even the tight schedule of the 2011-2012 NBA season and the excitement that gripped everyone when the season finally began could not erase from the memory of Chris Paul’s failure.

After countless rumours of an upcoming point guard trade, CP3 was eventually sent to the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a three-team deal. But then the contract was cancelled. Deciding that the deal would infringe on New Orleans’ interests, David Stern and the league leadership stepped in and vetoed the league.

Paul was immediately sent back to Los Angeles, this time to the Clippers. Such actions have given rise to many rumours and conspiracy theories regarding the ulterior motives of the Commissioner‘s act.

After that many years have passed and right now, Paul is a member of the Phoenix Suns which failed to win the championship title against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Draft lottery

The NBA draft lotteries have spawned many conspiracy theories, but the most famous was the Patrick Ewing draw in 1985.

Presumably, the NBA management wanted to secretly get the No. 1 draft to the team they needed, bypassing the lottery. They say the player choices were rigged and Patrick Ewing ended up in the Knicks.

The lottery consisted of a random selection of an envelope from a large container. Therefore, two theories have emerged as to how the rigging happened:

  • The New York Knicks envelope was pre-frozen so that Stern could easily identify it.
  • The corner of the New York Knicks was folded up, so Stern could easily find it by touch.

There is also a video on the Internet regarding the fixed lottery, but not many people watch it seriously.

There are other draft conspiracy theories, such as rigging in favour of weak teams. This included the incredible luck that allowed the Washington Wizards to win the first pick when Abe Pollin’s widow represented the team in 2010. The same applies to the Cleveland Cavaliers when they were represented in 2011 by the son of Dan Gilbert with Recklinghausen’s disease, and the team unexpectedly won the first draft.

Retirement of Michael Jordan

Could it be that Michael Jordan was actually suspended from basketball because of his gambling problems, and he didn’t voluntarily leave to play baseball?

Conspiracy theorists believe so, but all arguments are purely speculative. Jordan left after three titles with the Chicago Bulls. He wanted to take up baseball because he had spent too much energy at Dream Team and was trying to cope internally with his father’s death. His departure came only four months after the NBA began their investigation into his gambling connections.

The most important quote from the adherents of this theory belongs directly to the greatest player of all time: “Within five years, if I feel the urge to play again if the Bulls accept me, and if David Stern allows me to return, maybe I will return.”

Was Stern’s permission really necessary to “return”? Only if Michael was really suspended due to gambling problems, supporters of the theory say.

Clay Bennett’s hometown is Oklahoma City

Is it a coincidence that the businessman who bought the Seattle Supersonics called Oklahoma City his home?

Clay Bennett acquired the team from Howard Schultz in 2006 with a tacit agreement that the team would remain in Seattle. Presumably, he violated this agreement, without even making any attempt to revive the team, and immediately began collecting money for a new stadium.

Not in favour of Bennett is the fact that he did not sue Schultz and agreed to voluntarily pay 75 million in 2008, right before the team moved to his hometown and renamed Oklahoma City Thunder.

Intentional Tanking

This is a theory that is confirmed every year at some point, and it happens over and over again with enviable consistency. In every season, teams desperate to make the playoffs start thinking about the future and what to do. As a result, they begin to intentionally lose and give away games.

Of course, it is difficult to determine the actions that coaches are taking to lose the game or to see some hidden shenanigans. But it’s safe to say that it exists. After all, the first draft pick is worth a lot.


The NBA judges screwed up a lot at times. We can recall the sixth game of the 2002 playoffs between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers, and the 2006 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks. Some of the whistles in these games were completely inexplicable.

The work of a referee is based on subjective perception, and therefore they will always be criticized, especially in cases where it is revealed that the referee is betting on matches.