What’s the most enduring image from the 2006 NBA Finals? Is it Gary Payton being roused from the dead to drain that jumper that won Miami Game 3? Was it Shaq looking like he’d finally lost a little bit of a step from his time with Orlando and Los Angeles? Was it Dwyane Wade in full Flash mode, averaging 28 points, just under 6 rebounds, and 6 assists, and looking totally, utterly unguarded for the majority of the series? Or do you remember the charity stripe?
Mark Cuban remembers the charity stripe. According to John Canzano of The Oregonian, who has just finished a five-part series on officiating in the NBA (it’s a good read, but it also gives a lot of space to Tim Donaghy, which is kind of lame, as Donaghy’s meal ticket these days is stoking the fire of suspicion about National Basketball Association refereeing), Cuban had enough suspicions to contact former FBI agent Warren Flagg, who now runs his own security and investigation firm.
“Cuban asked me what he should do,” Flagg told Canzano. “I told him, ‘Sue and you’ll win your case,’ but he knew he’d be killing the Golden Goose.” For his part, Cuban claims that he doesn’t remember whether he discussed the matter with Flagg.
There are a number of things wrong with this claim, by the way. Ball Don’t Lie’s Kelly Dwyer does a great job summarizing the salient points, saying that “the bravado behind Flagg’s assertions that he’d definitely win a case against the NBA over referee calls is the height of ridiculousness. It wasn’t about the ‘Golden Goose.’ There was nothing there.”