Was The 2002 WCF (Lakers vs Kings) Fixed by The NBA?

(Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo)

Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings was one of the most controversial games in NBA history. The intense seven game series was highlighted by the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers starving off elimination by defeating the Sacramento Kings. Many people use this notorious game as a clear indication that the NBA fixes games. Even ex-NBA referee Tim Donaghy accused this game of being fixed, albeit he was convicted of betting on games. But what does the NBA have to gain by fixing games? Well, the one thing we all seem to can’t get enough of. Money.

Fixing this game ensured a seventh game which meant more money for both the owners and the NBA, and even more so if a big-market team like the Lakers reached the Finals and boosted television ratings. When David Stern, the NBA commissioner at the time was asked what his dream NBA Finals matchup was he replied, “Lakers vs Lakers… I would be lying if I told you there wasn’t a fascination with the Lakers.”

So was this game rigged? We’ll let you be the judge of that.


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