As I posted below, I've had my doubts about the legitimacy of the league for quite a while now (the 2002 Western Conference Finals were kind of the tipping point for me.) One of the things that has puzzled me as I've read various conspiracy postings: If the league is on the level, why haven't they slapped some of these posters with defamation lawsuits? Not saying they'd have a case, but it wouldn't be the first time a suit has been filed for the sake of appearances.
I suppose you could argue that they don't want to call more attention to the issue, but it seems to me that that train has left the station. Anybody think that's the next step for a league desperate to maintain at least the illusion of credibility?
Here's something else that has long intrigued me: Back in 2002 I sent the league office an email and told them that I thought their games were rigged. I figured they'd just write it off as the rantings of a crank. (I'm really not, but, well, you know...) To my utter surprise I received a response within about a day, in which they specifically addressed the issue of bias on the part of officials in language that was pretty polished. That told me two things: 1) It's a common enough complaint that they have boilerplate language ready to go; and, 2) They're pretty sensitive about the perception that things aren't on the up and up.
Somehow I can't imagine MLB or the NFL responding in quite the same way.
The biggest thing the NBA has going for it? The fact that they are in bed with the networks and cable companies, who for obvious reasons would love for this story to go away, lest the Golden Goose take it in the neck.
I hope I'm wrong, but I have this sinking feeing that we could be on the brink of the largest sports scandal since the 1919 White Sox.