Doin’ It NFL-Style: The Top 10 Worst Calls In Basketball History

By: 09.25.12
Marcus Camby

The call/non-call/dual-call/what was that call? that ended Monday night’s NFL game in Seattle against Green Bay left everyone, to steal a line from the final decision, in simultaneous confusion. U.S. Senators have called for reviews, President Obama has weighed in and Tim Donaghy‘s cell phone has likely been blowing up all morning for journalists asking for his take on the whole thing.

It’s egregious, but it’s not exceptional. The replacements will be the storyline, not the NFL’s games, until the union referees end their lockout with the league. There is no doubt of this. And yet, will this game still be talked about in 40 years? Basketball has a call so bad in its history that 12 silver medals are still left at will call because of a dispute whose significance make Monday night’s affair look quaint. And that’s just one of the top 10 worst calls in basketball history. It may be inspired by the NFL’s hatchet job of its own integrity, but basketball has had its fair share of jaw-dropping decisions by referees, too.

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Game 4, 2008 Western Conference Finals, and the Spurs are down by two in the final seconds. Well behind the three-point line, Brent Barry gets Derek Fisher up in the air and gets the contact just before getting his shot off, but no one with a whistle actually confirms Fisher leaping into Barry. As one of the best free-throw shooters in the NBA, Barry would have had a very good chance at putting the Spurs ahead by one with three shots. This was bad enough for the NBA to post a retraction later, though it didn’t change the outcome of the game. The Lakers went up 2-0 and went on to win the series 4-1.

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