Complaining about the officials in any given sport is just about universal. You see it in all the Big Three leagues (and their college equivalents), in soccer overseas, and just about everywhere else in the world of sports.
Hell, I got to experience the sharp end of it during almost every game back when I was a Little League umpire in Evanston/Skokie!
But the NBA is in a class of its own for lousy reffing. Joey Crawford, Bennett Salvatore, Danny Crawford, Joe Forte, these are all guys with name recognition fitting for the coach of a successful team or a mid-level starter. Unfortunately, they are all veteran NBA officials. Being famous as an official is not a good thing! Just ask the NFL's Ed Hochuli if you don't believe me.
Anyway, Bill Simmons (ESPN's Sports Guy) has long been a vocal advocate of fixing the NBA's broken system. This article, which he posted today, is his most powerful effort to date, explaining what is wrong with the way the league is reffed and checking out ways to fix it and improve the game we all love.
One quick quote from the piece;
"My single favorite old-school moment of the past two decades happened at the end of Game 5 of the 1993 Eastern finals, when Chicago's Jordan, Pippen and Grant famously blocked four straight Charles Smith shots to clinch the victory in New York. Were the blocks clean? I don't know. Did the Knicks complain after? No. Because you had to watch the whole game -- that play didn't just happen. All four quarters were played with that same cutthroat intensity. Unlike today, the officials didn't change their minds midway through the game on what contact was acceptable. They didn't try to manage the game. They let the players decide what happened and intervened when necessary.
That's basketball. At least, that's what basketball should be."
A must read for any fan of the NBA. Here's a video montage from that classic 1993 Bulls vs. Knicks series, too.