In the early 2000s, Chris Webber's Sacramento Kings were amongst the biggest rivals of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA's Western Conference.
In fact, in the 2002 Western Conference Finals, the Kings had the Lakers on the brink of elimination, up 3-2 in the series. Looking back, C-Webb can't help but think that Game 6 was fixed.
The retired NBA All-Star turned TNT announcer said as much during a recent appearance on Dan Patrick’s radio show.
“I’ve definitely played a game — I’ve played one game in which, yes, something smelled weird about the whole situation," Webber said before revealing that game to be Game 6 of that 2002 playoff series, which the Lakers won in seven games.
He has plenty of evidence that seemingly corroborates his conspiracy theory, too.
That game had the Lakers attempt 40 free throws, with 27 of them coming in the fourth quarter. The game also saw Bryant getting away with a hard elbow that caused Kings point guard Mike Bibby's nose to bleed.
But perhaps the most significant piece of evidence is that shamed ex-NBA referee Tim Donaghy claimed that the game was fixed. Although Donaghy, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to being involved in a gambling scheme over NBA games, didn't call the game, he did say that two of the three refs were in on swaying the game's outcome.
“Believe me, there’s a lot about Donaghy I would like to talk about," Webber told Patrick. "I do think a lot of it is from that time, but hopefully we just keep the fans trust, which we do."
“It happened. I believe that. As an athlete, so what it happened? What are we going to do, make excuses?” He added later in the interview.
Webber also stated that he never once believed that the NBA was "out to get" him or his Kings.
Since the Donaghy scandal broke, the NBA has prided itself in being more transparent. But then again, a frantic ending like the one we witnessed in the Oklahoma City Thunder-San Antonio Spurs' Game 2 on Monday night will always have people wondering about a possible inside job.
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(Photo: Jeff Vespa/WireImage)