NBA commissioner Adam Silver swears the league isn’t rigged

It’s probably not a good thing when the commissioner of your professional sports league has to publicly state that the games aren’t rigged.

But after a pretty rough postseason from the officials, that’s where NBA commish Adam Silver finds himself lately. On Sunday, Silver joined ESPN’s Michelle Beadle and Ramona Shelburne to talk about these playoffs, the officiating and some of the league’s discipline decisions. When asked specifically about Draymond Green not being suspended for his kick to the groin of Steven Adams, Silver took the opportunity to address larger NBA conspiracy theories:

“I hear it, and it’s the most sensitive issue for me, and it goes to the core integrity of the league and, frankly, to my integrity. And all I can say is we do the best we can. I acknowledge that that was a close decision on upgrading Draymond’s kick to a flagrant 2 but not suspending him for the following game. I will say that we do full investigations around those plays the next day. We interview the officials, we interview the players who were involved. And ultimately, we made a decision that he did not intentionally try to kick him in the groin, but it was a reckless act and it was upgraded to a flagrant 2. These are really close calls.

I can only say that I’ve been around the league long enough to know that I hear these conspiracies every year. That’s not unique to this year. And I can only say in the case of Oklahoma City that they have two players on that team who are global superstars, who have enormous followings. […] Even from a business standpoint, it would be impossible to predict which Finals would have a greater following. It depends on how many games, how close the games are. I can only thus sort of swear to the world that we do the best we can and that we don’t prefer one market or one team over another. And I thought [Game 6] was an example of that.”

Of course, the fact that someone got ahead of themselves and posted Facebook events for a Warriors-Cavaliers Finals on the NBA’s official page on Sunday doesn’t really help Silver’s case:

It’s also a rather big coincidence that there was a gambling kerfuffle over the weekend caused by some bad scorekeeping involving MVP Stephen Curry. But there’s one thing that rarely gets mentioned when it comes to NBA conspiracies.

If the league were somehow rigged — which it absolutely, positively, 100-percent is not — there’s only one logical conclusion: Your favorite team is in on it.

Otherwise, we’re talking about conspiracy in the felonious sense of the word. Rigging a league with this much money on the line would be the very definition of criminal behavior. That we haven’t seen a lawsuit from one of the teams harmed by alleged rigging behavior means that either the NBA is professional wrestling, and everyone is in on the fixed outcomes, or that the league isn’t rigged, and people sometimes make (particularly egregious) mistakes that we then combine into ridiculous theories.

So take off your aluminum foil hats, enjoy your Memorial Day, and get ready for one of the biggest NBA games in the game’s history. Monday night is going to be a lot of fun. We swear.