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Uh-oh! Did an NBA Ref Bet on Games?

Jimmy the GreekThis is deep doodoo for the NBA — really bad news. Apparently the ref in question got himself into the trouble by wagering on games with the wrong people to begin with. From the New York Post:

THE FBI is investigating an NBA referee who allegedly was betting on basketball games – including ones he was officiating during the past two seasons – as part of an organized-crime probe in the Big Apple, The Post has learned.

The sources indicated the referee apparently had a gambling problem, slipped into debt and fell prey to mob thugs.

“That’s how he got himself into this predicament” by wagering with mob-connected bookies, one source said.

Now that is some messed up stuff if I’ve ever seen anything. You know, wouldn’t be the first time people had suspicions that games were fixed and that the refs had something to do with it. This would give us second thoughts every single time we saw a questionable foul called towards the end of a game. This is incredible. This is insane. This will positively blow the lid off of sports.

Big Ups to SPORTSbyBROOKS who was all over this story

Grandmama Might Be Back in the NBA!

This is a very exciting day in the life of Larry Brown. That’s how excited I am — I’m pulling a Rickey. See, Grandmama played a large role in my childhood growing up. OK, that may be overstating things a bit, but Larry Johnson was quite a prominent figure while I was in elementary school. He was in all sorts of commercials representing Converse sneakers — like th one above, and he and Alonzo Mourning teamed up on a very exciting Hornets squad. Matter of fact, you got used to seeing Charlotte Hornets jerseys on playgrounds in LA. No joke. That’s how much pull Grandmama had back in the day. And that’s why I am overwhelmed with joy to hear that Grandmama might be back:

If there is such a thing as the “Curse of L.J.,” the Knicks may be doing something about it. According to sources, Johnson could be returning to the Knicks in a still-undefined role. In all likelihood, Johnson will be working for the Knicks part-time in their community relations department along with former teammate John Starks.

LJ had an injury settlement with the Knicks when his career ended in 2001 for $28 million. He’s not coming back for the money. But as you can tell, I am quite delighted to hear this rumor.

Stephon Marbury Wants to Play in Italy

We’re already well aware of how insane Steph can be at times. We also know how cool he can be with his cheap Starbury shoes. But the latest exclamation by Marbury is way out there. It might just take the cake. He told the New York Post that he wants to play in Italy when his contract with the Knicks is up. Specifically, Steph elaborated in a blog post that he wants to “spread the Starbury Movement.” Can I get an amen to that?

During the Olympics, David Stern told us about how big basketball was becoming around the world. He was right. Now I want to make it even bigger for the United States.

For my 14th pro season, I want to go when I can still go hard and give the people what they want. I’m looking at how David Beckham is getting love for coming here. He’s 32. I’ll be 32 at the end of my Knicks’ contract. Imagine if someone told him not to follow his heart to play soccer in the U.S.

I want to do the same thing for basketball and spread the Starbury Movement so people all around the world can benefit. I want to make things affordable for everybody.

Just what the rest of the world needs — more Stephon Marbury. I do like what he says however, that he’s taking advice from Jim Brown in going off on his own note. If anyone knows about leaving at the right time, it’s certainly Brown. Hey, if Steph wants to go out there and live his dream, more power to him.

Will Kevin Durant’s Nike Deal Keep him from Going Starbury?

If you remember about a month ago, I got really excited when I heard Kevin Durant wanted to go cheap with his shoes like Starbury. In fact, at the time, reports suggested that negotiations were being held up by Durant’s desire to go cheap. Well, Tom Ziller informs me of the news that Durant has signed with Nike. We know it came down to Adidas or Nike, and apparently Durant has chosen Nike.

The deal is reportedly worth $40 million. That’s a lot of money. Now, my question is whether or not this will prevent Durant from marketing his shoe at a cheaper price. I’m guessing it will unfortunately. In the Adidas family, it’s T-Mac, Billups, Arenas, and KG whose shoes vary from $90-$130. In the Nike online store, we’re talking triple-figures for most sneakers. That blows. I was really getting pumped about Durant going Starbury-style — that’s how to give back to the community.

Mark Hendrickson Was Not a Good NBA Player

Hey, how bout that? The guy sucks at two sports! OK, OK, fine, the guy is good enough to have been a professional athlete in two different sports — not many people in this world can make such a claim. Yet I can’t help but share the pictures passed along to me by my buddy Chris — they’re hilarious. I present Dodger pitcher Mark Hendrickson and his stellar NBA career in which he played four years, averaging 3.3 ppg and 2.8 rpg:

Well, there is no shame in being posterized by Michael Jordan, right? And come on, getting blocked by the late Bison Dele? That’s like a historical artifact. So now, I leave the debate up to you. In which sport does Mark Hendrickson suck more is Mark Hendrickson less successful, basketball or baseball? Tough call.

The Memphis Grizzlies, Starring Darko!

Best part of the news I will tell you: Darko has a new team. Worst part: Darko will be making a lot of money. Something about the words “Darko” and “coveted” makes me a bit uneasy. And I’m talking about these words being uttered since the 2003 draft, just to clarify. That 8 point a game scoring, soft defense playing, no good waste of 7 feet Yugoslavian beef, has reportedly signed a deal with the Grizzlies. Just how much is the question. One thing, there is no question that it’s sure to make you laugh.

[Agent Marc] Cornstein refused to disclose the amount of the deal, but the starting salary is believed to be for substantially more than the $5.3 million mid-level exception.

ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher, citing anonymous sources, is reporting that the deal is for three years and $21 million. A formal team announcement could take place as early as Thursday.

Look at that! $21 million for the Dark man. Well, I guess if Jason Kapono got around the same amount, ditto Luke Walton, then I can’t really complain too much about Darko. Wait a tic, it is Darko, of course I can complain. Now, the Grizzlies look a heck of a lot better every bit as bad as they were last year. Even if Pau Gasol is healthy this year it will still be tough for the Grizz to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. They could use quite a few good draft picks to turn things around (could Conley Jr. be the guy?). I doubt it.

Greg Oden’s Tonsils Might Keep him out of the Summer League

Just in case his stories from World War II had you doubting, the news that Greg Oden has tonsil problems might be enough to remind you that he really is a kid. In fact, he might need to have his tonsils removed, but he must check with his mom first. From Jason Quick at The Oregonian:

A final decision has not been made – Oden said he wanted to consult his mother first – but it appears likely that Oden will fly to Portland late this week for surgery after he finishes presenting an award Wednesday in a taping of the ESPYs in Los Angeles. Recovery for adults who undergo a tonsillectomy is two weeks.

On Monday, I asked Oden to show me his tonsils, and he obliged. I was so startled, I asked him to show me again. His tonsils are so swollen that only a small passage way – about the size of a green grape – was evident.

“I can’t even tell you … it just hurts,” Oden said “Right now, it’s more of a thing that they are so big, that when I’m running up and down the court, it’s hard for me to breathe. I can’t get any air in there.”

So to answer your life-burning question, yes, large people do have large tonsils. Someone get this poor kid an ice cream cone!