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NBA FINALS | SPOTLIGHT

Nader Has Eyes on Officials

June 06, 2002|Bill Plaschke

Ralph Nader apparently has plenty of time on his hands.

The consumer advocate wants the NBA to review Game 6 of the Western Conference finals, saying the nation's confidence has been shaken enough lately by business headlines.

The Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings, 106-102, in the game. But Nader, a former Green Party presidential candidate, and the League of Fans, a sports-industry watchdog group, sent a letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern on Tuesday asking for a review.

"At a time when the public's confidence is shaken by headlines reporting the breach of trust by corporate executives, it is important, during the public's relaxation time, for there to be maintained a sense of impartiality and professionalism in commercial sports performances," the letter said. "That sense was severely broken ... during Game 6."

The Lakers shot 27 free throws in the fourth quarter and scored 16 of their final 18 points at the foul line. The letter also addresses an incident in which Kobe Bryant elbowed opponent Mike Bibby in the nose. A foul was not called with less than 20 seconds remaining in the game.

"Unless the NBA orders a review of this game's officiating, perceptions and suspicions, however presently absent any evidence, will abound," the letter said. "A review that satisfies the fans' sense of fairness and deters future recurrences would be a salutary contribution to the public trust that the NBA badly needs."

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