NBA Conspiracy Theories

NBA Conspiracy Theories

Enter the Conspiracy.

Conspiracy theories and the NBA, two different things, right? Well, today, they’re going to be combined into one. You may have heard of these conspiracies if you follow the NBA, but do you know the full story of them? The 1985 Draft Lottery, Michael Jordan’s first retirement, and the 2002 Western Conference Finals are going to be the focus of this article. So, if you like conspiracy theories or the NBA, take a deep dive into some of the NBA’s most interesting conspiracies.

1985 NBA Draft Lottery

For those who don’t know, the NBA Draft Lottery decides what teams get the first 14 picks in the NBA Draft. There are specific odds for each team to get the first overall pick. There were, at the time of 1985, envelopes used with teams’ names in them. The team that got picked last would get the first overall pick. The 14 teams that are in the lottery are the teams that missed the playoffs or traded for a pick from a team that missed the playoffs.

Now that you know that, let’s get into the 1985 Draft Lottery. The 1985 draft contained stars like Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, and Chris Mullin. There is speculation that the envelope for the New York Knicks was hit against the corner of the draft lottery glass ball so that the NBA commissioner, David Stern, could know which one was the Knicks envelope. Two men who owned a company in New York were the ones who picked the envelopes from the glass ball. There is much speculation that those two men who owned the company in New York paid NBA commissioner, David Stern, to not pick the envelope with a bent edge so that the Knicks could get the first overall pick. There is even video evidence of Stern dropping the envelope with a bent edge and picking up another envelope. (1985 NBA draft lottery short – Bing video). The envelope with a bent edge, of course, being the Knicks’ envelope. The bent envelope, the owners of a New York company, and the Knicks’ getting the number 1 overall pick feels way too suspicious for this conspiracy to not be true.


Michael Jordan’s First Retirement

Michael Jordan is famous for many things, his game-winners, going undefeated in the finals, but perhaps the one that gets talked about the least is Jordan retiring in the middle of his prime. In 1993, Jordan announced his retirement. Many people think he retired due to his father passing away and wanting to play baseball, but there is possibly another reason.

Jordan always had a gambling problem and that must have come with his intense drive to always win. Jordan had multiple instances where he broke the rules just to win. Michael Jordan cheated on an old lady in a card game. He refused to pay a man a million dollars when he lost a bet, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if David Stern banned him from the NBA for a season because of gambling. It would also make sense if Stern were to ban Jordan because the NBA is a company and does not want to have people that are poor influences representing the it. There is also video evidence of Jordan saying, “if David will let me back in the league…” (Ballislife – MJ’s controversial comment about David Stern – Bing video).

Jordan came back in the 1994-95 season, but only played 17 games that year since he returned late. Oddly enough, there weren’t any more big gambling issues with Michael Jordan. It seems very suspicious that there were no more big incidents with gambling for Jordan again. Stern supposedly banning Jordan for a year may have worked. It seems like there is too much added up for it to not be true, but you all should form your own opinions on the subject.


2002 NBA Western Conference Finals

The 2002 Western Conference Finals, featuring the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Sacramento Kings, always sparks controversy when brought up because some believe it was rigged. People never really know the facts of why it could have been rigged. Three massive things need to be pointed out to show that the series may have been rigged.

Starting with the free-throw discrepancy in the fourth quarter. This was a 7-game series in which 7 or fewer points decided 6 out of the 7 games. In Game 1 of the series, the Lakers won by 7 points. The Lakers attempted 8 more free throws in the fourth quarter of that game than the Kings did. If they take as many as the Kings, the game would’ve been closer and there could have been a different outcome. The Kings ended up taking games 2 and 3, but the fourth-quarter free throw attempts favored the Lakers in game 2 and favored the Kings in game 3, neither would have impacted the final score. At this point, the Kings have a 2-1 lead in the series, and they have a chance to take a 3-1 lead in game 4. The Lakers ended up winning by 1 point, but they attempted 6 more free throws than the Kings in the fourth quarter. Any fewer free throw attempts for the Lakers would cause Overtime or a loss. This game also featured Robert Horry’s fourth-quarter takeover and the game-winner. In Game 5, the Kings win this game by one point, and while the Kings attempted more fourth-quarter free throws, both teams attempted 6 free throws in the final five minutes.

Game 6 is what really leads people to believe that the series was rigged. This game was famous for the Lakers attempting 27 fourth-quarter free throws to the Kings 9 attempts. There was also a very controversial foul called on Doug Christie, which should have been an offensive foul on Kobe Bryant. Keep in mind, at this point, the Kings lead the series 3-2 and are down by one point. If they called the foul on Kobe Bryant, it would have sent Doug Christie to the free-throw line, and he could have given the Kings the lead. Instead, the Lakers ended up winning by 4 points, sending the series to a game 7. The Lakers ended up winning by 6, due, in large part, to the fact that the Kings attempted no free throw in Overtime, opposed to the Lakers’ 8 free throw attempts in Overtime.

Another reason this series could have been rigged is that the Lakers were one of the biggest markets in the league at the time, coming off two straight championships, opposed to the Kings who were a mid-market at the time with no championships. The NBA may have not wanted to see a small market team make the NBA Finals. The last reason this series could have been rigged is that the head referee, Tim Donaghy, was famous for betting on games. He may have voted on the huge favorite for this series, which was the Lakers. He would end up getting banned from being a referee after the NBA Commissioner, David Stern, found out a few years later. Please take into consideration what was said, but also form your own opinion on the subject.


NBA Conspiracy Theories are a complicated topic. Some may seem like that they don’t have enough evidence behind them, and some will feel like there is too much evidence to even be considered a conspiracy. At the end of the day, though, every conspiracy theory is an opinion, whether of a few or many people. It is also important that you take into consideration what was said, but also not let it shape your entire opinion. Once again, the NBA is a business, so it is not surprising that they try to cover up so many things to keep their company afloat.