How the NBA cheated the draft and got away with it

The year is 1985, and the NBA is at one of its highest points ever. Magic and Bird have been going at it year in and year out. Rookie Michael Jordan was taking the league by storm and surprising everyone. Lastly, a new NBA commissioner, David Stern, replaced a great commissioner in Larry O’Brien. David Stern had big shoes to fill as Larry had been considered one of the best commissioners in NBA history. Then one of the best college prospects in NBA history entered the 1985 draft. His name was Patrick Ewing, the Georgetown star. Both Golden State and the Indiana Pacers had a 22-60 record and the best odds at the number one pick. The team with the second best odds to land the Hoyas stud was the New York Knicks. It’s no secret where the NBA wanted Ewing to go. Would they want two low market teams that have struggled in the past 5-10 years or would they want him to go to a big market team that could make big bucks off him and have him be the face of the franchise. The NBA liked the second idea. But how could the NBA pull this off?

The old way the NBA used to do the draft lottery was the two worst teams were guaranteed a top 2 pick and they used a coin to see who got the first pick. When they announced a new way of picking within the lottery, the league was shocked. They would put an envelope of all the NBA teams who were in the lottery. Teams with a bad record had a better chance of their envelope getting pulled than teams with a better record. That meant that the Pacers and Warriors had the best chance of their envelope of getting pulled. Despite this, it was evident that Ewing wanted to go to New York. They had a big market, and he would be the star and get paid heavily, along with the fact that he would be as close to his home as when he attended Georgetown. With all that said, the NBA would do everything they could to pair Ewing with New York. Going into the draft lottery, Stern seemed very nervous and was acting more quiet than normal. This could have been because it was his first draft lottery, or it could have been because he feared Ewing would not end up with the Knicks. As he was going in to grab the first envelope, it was evident that one of the envelopes was bent. The corner of one of the envelopes was distorted, making it easier to determine which envelope was which. Stern put his hand in, grabbed a few envelopes, and then picked the bent one. After he picked the bent envelope, he opened it and announced that the New York Knicks had won the lottery and gained the first pick in the NBA draft.

Regardless of what the NBA had to say about this, most fans believe this draft lottery was fixed. The Knicks took Ewing with the first pick and he had a great career there. Ewing won rookie of the year in his first year and led the New York Knicks to another poor season while averaging 20 a game. Ewing had a potential hall of fame career, racking up 11 all-star appearances, one time all-NBA first team, 6 time all-NBA second team, and a finals appearance. Ewing is one of the best players ever to never win a ring. Ewing only ended up in New York because the NBA wanted him there and it showed during live television when David Stern fixed the draft lottery. With this in the history books, what is to be said about the fixing about the NBA in future drafts.