LOS ANGELES -- If Tim Donaghy's latest allegations are true, Kobe Bryant won his last championship with the help of an NBA conspiracy.
And Scot Pollard is still ringless because some guys in suits determined it would be that way.
Even with Bryant chasing another title in a marquee NBA Finals matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, the league still can't escape the Donaghy mess, now nearly a year after learning the former referee bet on games he officiated.
And the people who thought the spotlight would be theirs alone are pretty fed up.
"The whole Donaghy thing just makes me sick, if you want me to be honest," Boston coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday. "Paul Pierce got injured and we questioned him, but we believe Donaghy? When you think of the logic of that crap, it really ... I'm not going to go any further, but our league is a great league, and that stuff bothers me a lot. It really does."
In a letter filed Tuesday in New York, Donaghy's attorney made a series of allegations about officiating corruption and misconduct within the NBA. The most damning accusation centered on the 2002 Western Conference finals, when the Lakers rallied from a 3-2 deficit to beat the Sacramento Kings.
Donaghy said two referees known as "company men" worked the controversial Game 6, when the Lakers shot 27 free throws in the final quarter and scored 16 of their last 18 points at the line in a 106-102 victory.
The injured Pollard, who now plays for Boston, was on Sacramento's team, while Bryant and Derek Fisher played for the Lakers squad that went on to sweep New Jersey for its third straight championship.
"I don't know how you determine the game was rigged," Fisher said. "Obviously, I was there in the game. I don't remember any moment thinking, 'They're helping us out a little bit.' A lot of things change from game to game. Different officiating crews call games differently. I can't comment on it. You still have to win the next game (Game 7). I'm not going to give my ring back, I know that."
Pollard was angry when he heard the complaint and acknowledged believing it was possible at first, but dismissed the idea of a conspiracy among referees because it's too big a secret to keep for this long. And much like NBA commissioner David Stern a night earlier, he portrayed Donaghy as a criminal willing to say anything to save himself.
"For a guy that wasn't at that game, didn't ref that game, to come out and say that, and in the situation he's in, I guess you could kind of say you could equate that to Charles Manson saying something about the Boston Strangler," Pollard said. "He's in the business, but he doesn't really have a lot of credibility. He wasn't there."
News that the FBI was investigating Donaghy broke last July, shoving Bryant's long-awaited first appearance with the U.S. national team out of the basketball headlines. Now the case has overshadowed the NBA Finals' return to Los Angeles.
Bryant dismissed Donaghy talk with a couple of one-word answers, invoking the name of the Patriots coach Bill Belichick -- who knows a little about conspiracies from the Super Bowl videotaping scandal.