NBA is crying foul

JODY VANCE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 6:18 AM ET

When "The Sopranos" ended, many of us worried we would be left to battle with mob-drama withdrawal.

What would we do without the weekly whackings or guys swimming with the fishes?

These days you need look no farther than the story of Tom Donaghy for your mafia fix.

Donaghy, 40, a longtime NBA referee, is currently out of a job and under police protection -- in fact, considering the witness protection program -- after his mob connection was found out and he started singing like a bird.

A longtime compulsive gambler with a notoriously nasty temper, Donaghy was one to flaunt his power both on the court and off. His arrogance likely helped to get him to where he finds himself today -- in a whole whack of trouble.

Likely thinking he could manage his mounting gambling debts, eventually he found big brutes coming to collect and when he couldn't pay up, he was allegedly told what to do in NBA games to help others win, and win big.

Donaghy was, allegedly, deep in the pocket of the infamous Gambino crime family.

After breaking the story late last week, the New York Post sees more details trickle in daily. Details include how this man allegedly was instructed to fix games he called and how he provided insider information on who would be officiating other NBA games -- something that might affect the point spread -- to bookmakers.

He was found out, appropriately, by way of wiretaps the feds had on the Gambinos. It's hard to believe it is real, but it is.

I don't have enough space to tell you this whole story but if you are a "Sopranos" fanatic in need of your fix, Google his name and trust that the story will more than satiate your appetite.

Be forewarned, however, for the unavoidable queasy feeling that comes with the realization that this man has a family who are in grave danger as a result of his lapse in judgment. These are not fat-cat actors playing with blanks.

One thing is certain, this drama is far from over.

Jody Vance is a sportscaster with "Leafs TV." Her columns appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours. jody.vance@tor.sunpub.com.


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