'Boomer And Gio': Tim Donaghy Discusses Role In 2006 NBA Betting Scandal

The Former Referee Was Consumed By Gambling

Boomer and Gio
October 30, 2019 - 3:44 pm

It's been more than a decade since former NBA referee, Tim Donaghy was at the center of the game-fixing scandal that rocked the league. Donaghy joined WFAN's Morning Show Boomer and Gio to discuss, "Inside Game" a film that chronicles the NBA betting scandal from 2006-07. 

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"I had a great job and I lost it, but I'm doing great now, I have a great family, my daughters all live with me. Did I have a setback? Absolutely, but I don't look at it like a ruined my life," Donaghy said. 

The movie is accurate according to the former NBA referee, noting Hollywood "did spice it up a little bit, but for the most part it's a true story."

It wasn't until later in life that Donaghy's gambling addiction began, telling Boomer and Gio it started after he joined country clubs where members would frequently wager. "Gambling thousands of dollars on the golf course, playing blackjack and poker in the locker room, jumping in limousines, running down to the casino," Donaghy was consumed with betting. 

There were multiple times the former NBA referee attempted to stop fixing games, but once people with organized crime were involved, he was forced to continue. The mob was aware of Donaghy's gambling habits and threatened to expose it to the league, or visit his wife and children in Florida. 

Los Angeles, CA - April 28, 2006: Tim Thomas of the Phoenix Suns looks in on as referees Tim Donaghy #21, Bill Spooner #22 and Eddie F. Rush discuss the proper call
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Even now, more than a decade later, Donaghy always has somebody with him and needs to be aware of his surroundings, fearing people within the mob could still be after him.

"Who knows? To say would I have stopped, you like to say at some point I would've come to the realization that I was doing some really dumb things, but I'm not gonna sit here and lie to you guys and say I would stopped, because I don't know, who's to say I would've stopped because I didn't stop when I should have," Donaghy said.

The former NBA referee doesn't bet anymore, even as an addict he doesn't have the urge to gamble because of the devastation it caused his family.

"When you see an article it always has 'disgraced NBA referee.' It's embarrassing and it's never going to be okay. Unfortunately, I have to move forward and just make things different moving forward."

Inside Game hits theaters on November 1st. "It's a good message in the movie and hopefully other people can learn from it," Donaghy added.