TNT analyst Chris Webber went on Dan Patrick’s radio show Wednesday to talk about referee screw-ups in the previous night’s Thunder-Spurs game but ended up discussing a more provocative subject: the infamous Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Kings and Lakers, long alleged to have been fixed in L.A.’s favor.
Down 3-2 in the series, the Lakers beat Webber’s Kings at the Staples Center in part thanks to 40 free throw attempts, 27 of them in the fourth quarter. Disgraced ref Tim Donaghy, who did not officiate that game, later claimed it was fixed.
Webber and Patrick’s conversation began when the host asked the former all-star about the NBA taking accountability for missed calls in the Olahoma City-San Antonio game, which particularly enraged Webber. After Patrick brought up Donaghy’s game-fixing scandal that broke a few years ago, Webber said, jokingly, “Believe me, there’s a lot about Donaghy I would like to talk about,” but said the NBA currently has fans’ trust. Patrick then asked if Webber had ever participated in a game he viewed to be fixed. Webber paused a loooong time, then said this:
“I’ve definitely played a game — I’ve played one game in which yes, something smelled weird about the whole situation.”
Webber said he didn’t think the NBA was “out to get” him or his team, implying the impropriety came on the part of the officials. At first he didn’t say which game he was referring to or even which team he was on at the time, but a minute later, he alluded to “seeing blood run down Bibby’s nose.” When Patrick suggested he was referring to the elbow from Kobe Bryant that sparked Mike Bibby’s nosebleed at the end of Game 6, Webber did not deny that’s what he was referring to.
Later in the interview, Webber said, “It happened. I believe that. as an athlete, so what it happened. What are we going to do, make excuses?”
The current TNT broadcaster was quick to note “that’s not the culture or the way of the league.”
Here’s the full clip: