1. Wednesday, May 29, 2002

    dear nba referees, 

    hi. my name is tony.

    you dont know me but i know you.

    thats the problem.

    sorta like offensive linemen, if you are paying attention to the nba referees something is wrong, terribly wrong.

    right now you have a difficult job to do, i realize that. you have to try to make sure that the games being played between the defending two time world champion los angeles lakers and the delightfully exciting kings from sacramento are fairly played.

    but there are a lot of tough jobs.

    the cops on the streets of america have to dodge bullets, the doctors in the hospitals have to cure the sick, and the technical support representatives have to solve difficult consumer questions with very little information under less than hoped-for conditions.

    all you have to do is call a fair game. however your favoritism was as obvious as a white one-piece during a bikini contest. stick your little chest out all you want, but still, everyone knows something aint kosher.

    now i understand that when Shaquille O’Neal is in the game you might think that you have to call a foul differently than when Danny Ferry is in the game, but let me be the first to tell you that this is not the case.

    If Danny Ferry slaps a guy’s wrist, or pulls a guy’s jersey or elbows him in the gut, you should blow your little whistle.

    If Danny Ferry drives to the hole and gets slapped or punched or gang-raped, thats a good time to blow your little whistle too.

    Same for Shaq.

    I know it’s not fair that he’s so big and strong and good-looking. But here in America everyone has equal rights and if he gets fucking mauled while crashing the boards, toot your tooter or go back to selling insurance.

    Last night I was minding my own business making out with a sweet young girl from around the way. The game was on. She was trying to distract me. It was a close game but I was giving her my attention. She was a guest in my house, after all.

    But then you guys decided that you wanted my attention, and I’m sorry, but I didnt turn on the tv or invite her over so that I would end up writing about you in the morning.

    Basketball is exciting enough as it is.

    Sacramento is a fine team with a lot of great fans, despite what Layne says.

    They don’t need your help.

    I know your heart is in the right place, but when you become old and gray(er) do you really want to have your grandchildren make up drinking games where they pop in a tape of this series and have to do a shot every time you miss a call, or drink a beer every time you foul Shaq out for waving his hand infront of that cute little Bibby fella?

    Lord knows I don’t.

    As they said in that great baseball movie of years gone by, “let them play.”

    Indeed, NBA refs, let them play.

    I could barely romance this young woman without thinking how unfair you were to the World Champs and I want you to know that.

    And now you forced me to invite her over tonight to make up for it while watching the 51st Annual Miss Universe Pageant.

    And you know what’s really sad?

    Those judges will probably select the correct winner.