In MIke Popovich's weekly column he quotes David Stern on the NBA officiating scandal. Also includes Dajuan Wagner's persistence and Tony Parker's French honors.
Commissioner David Stern was upbeat and looking forward to the future when he spoke to the media in San Antonio before the start of the NBA Finals.
He looked a lot different Tuesday when he talked about what could be the biggest scandal to strike the league.
The FBI is investigating former referee Tim Donaghy for allegedly betting on games, including some he officiated, during the past two seasons. Donaghy reportedly is expected to surrender this week.
Stern stood before the media in New York this week, saying this is the most serious and worst situation he has experienced in 40 years as a fan and an employee of the NBA.
“I feel betrayed by what happened on behalf of the sport,” Stern said. “This is not something that is anything other than an act of betrayal of what we know in sports as a sacred trust.”
Regaining the public’s trust will be Stern’s biggest challenge in 23 years as commissioner.
Some sports fans are a forgiving group when athletes get in trouble. A player’s ability to help a team win sometimes clouds character issues.
But in light of the Donaghy controversy, some people are going to think twice about shelling out big bucks for a night at an NBA arena.
Stern believes Donaghy is alone in these allegations, that no other officials have bet on games. The FBI also is investigating whether Donaghy provided confidential information that would enable people to place wagers on NBA games with an advantage.
“We think we have here a rogue, isolated criminal,” Stern said.
In fairness to the fans and the rest of the referees, Stern and the league will have to continue taking big steps to reaffirm it.
Dajuan Wagner is not giving up.
The former Cleveland Cavaliers first-round pick’s career has been cut short by a knee injury and colitis, which ultimately led to the removal of his colon. But he has never lost sight of his goal of getting back to the NBA for good.
Wagner, 24, is playing in a couple of Philadelphia-area summer leagues. He attempted a comeback with Golden State during the 2006-07 preseason, but there was a concern about his stamina.
Wagner told the Cherry Hill (N.J.) Courier-Post he is feeling like his old self now.
“I’m getting there,” Wagner said. “I feel good. I feel like I’m almost there, just a little bit more conditioning. ... I’m eating good. I feel way better than I did last summer.”
Wagner still ranks second on the Cavs’ all-time list for 3-pointers made by a rookie with 55 in 2002-03. With the exception of one game with the Warriors this past year, he has not played an NBA regular season game since the 2004-05 season.
“Where I come from, we never quit,” said Wagner, a Camden, N.J., native. “I don’t have any quit in me, so I’m just going to keep going.”
On the one-week anniversary of his much-publicized marriage to “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria, Spurs point guard Tony Parker was inducted into France’s Legion of Honor.
The NBA Finals MVP was raised in Paris and played pro basketball in France before he joined the Spurs in 2001.
Reach Canton Repository sports writer Mike Popovich at (330) 580-8341 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org