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Security Level: Top Secret

Priority Level: High

From: David Stern

To: Russ Granik

  • CC: NBA Owners - full list
  • CC: NBA General Managers - full list          
  • CC: NBA Referees - full list
  • CC: NBA Players Association - full list
  • CC: ESPN/ABC - full list

Subject: Our Little Problem

By now I am sure you are aware of the "allegations" made against us by one Tim Donaghy.  I was most rudely interrupted with news of these latest "allegations" the other night during my nightly frolic in a tub full of 100 dollar bills.  Bubble Bath Benjamins, I call it. 

I do not like my bathing interrupted.  Not in the slightest.  In addition, cash rules everything around me.  Hence, I pen this note to all of you.

After Billy Hunter toweled me down, I immediately set to work with our Ministers of Communication to prepare a league-wide response to this situation, which, as you know and gladly accept because I am your commissioner, is totally binding. 

In recent years, in part due to my desire to expand the game globally, I have followed the quote unquote "Chinese Model" of handling crises, insofar as I have chosen my words carefully, held strictly to tenuous positions in public and attempted to demonize, ostractize and castrate those opposed to the league's best interests (as determined by me). 


In addition to this public strategy, I have aggressively worked behind the scenes, relying heavily upon our incredibly successful reeducation programs (see Mr. Iverson's image makeover following his, as reasonable people can agree, terrible decision to attempt to produce a rap album). 

Unfortunately, in the case of Mr. Donaghy, our well-meaning comrades at the FBI, against my protestations, have decided to intervene.  Therefore, reeducation and, as I have been recently informed, firing squad (What did happen to Chris Washburn? shh...) are no longer viable options for ending this charade.  As such, I have prepared the following Action Item List for handling media inquests into the Donaghy matter.   It is identical to all other Action Item Lists that I have presented to you in previous memos, but I send this again given the gravity of the situation.

You must not deviate; there will be consequences.

Action Item #1:  Demonize

Remember, Tim Donaghy is evil incarnate.  Do not bring up his previous reputation as one of the best referees in our league.  Do not mention his history of refereeing playoff games. Do not mention that we had no idea he was doing this, despite our systematic and cryptic method for "analyzing every call."  Do not mention any other referees who may have gambled on sports.

Do mention his previous legal dispute with his neighbor.  Do mention the fact that he is having marital difficulties. Do mention the fact that he lives in Florida (a character flaw that we excuse for you, Mr. Riley).  Do mention the many charges he faces.  Do mention his serious, serious moral weaknesses.

He is not a human being; he is a blight upon our current wealth and continuing wealth.  He should be treated as such.

Action Item #2:  Ostracize

From recent public opinion polls, it is abundantly clear that the media and, therefore, the public simply have not yet understood that:

a) Tim Donaghy acted alone

b) Tim Donaghy did so out of his own personal vice

c) Tim Donaghy did irreparable harm to our league, myself, my bubble baths and the entire United States.

Therefore, in any interview with the press, I urge you to repeatedly compare Mr. Donaghy to any one of the following persons: Benedict Arnold, Lee Harvey Oswald, Osama Bin Ladin, Sirhan Sirhan, etc. 

Please feel free to put a local spin on this as well.  You know your markets; you know what will resonate.  In Portland I envision comparing Mr. Donaghy to Tre Arrow, in New York you might evoke Zacarias Moussaoui, and, in Los Angeles, most obviously, conjure Spencer Pratt. 

I have taken the additional step of trademarking the phrase "admitted felon" for the purposes of defending our interests, so feel free to use this descriptor liberally.

Action Item #3:  Castrate

It is important that the actual human beings involved, such as Mr. Jeff Van Gundy, must have a portion of their manhood confiscated for attempting to cast aspersions, no matter how minor, upon the integrity of our league.  Therefore, Mr. Van Gundy, and anyone else who I may deem to have spoken out against us, will pay a public penance, in the form of a halftime charade in which he will correct the record regarding his statements and carefully follow action items 1 and 2 listed above.

If you are considering speaking out on this matter (I'm looking at you, Mr. Bibby), please keep Action Item 3 in mind.  Your trysts with Doug Christie's wife will be far less enjoyable if you do not.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, it should be noted that I can buy and sell all of you many times over.  I know people, who know people. 

As you know, I truly, truly enjoy my Bubble Bath Benjamins.  I'm sure you have little pleasures of your own (jets, yachts, etc.).  It is critical that we put this Donaghy matter behind us so we can once again return to stacking this paper.  Our grandchildren's grandchildren depend upon it. 

Go Lakers.

Very Sincerely Yours,

David Stern

Commissioner/ Commissar

National Basketball Association

PS.  As we all learned from Clay's unfortunate blunder earlier this year, please print this email and burn it so that it cannot be used against us during future criminal/civil proceedings. I appreciate your attention to this detail, as does our legal counsel.

-- Ben (