Let me start by saying that I'm a fan of the NBA and will continue to be a fan of the league going forward. However, I do know that the NBA and all other major sports leagues are driven by revenue dollars and are big businesses. That aspect cannot be overlooked or pushed aside. All major sports leagues do what they can to further push their "product" on consumers with a myriad of merchandise options, advertisements, televised games and so on, all in an effort to increase revenue dollars.
The NBA is a player, or star driven league, possibly even moreso than the other (3) major sports leagues here in the U.S. The NBA flourishes most when its most storied franchises and/or players are prominently featured and on display as much as possible. This is especially true in the playoffs.
The "Tilt Theory" gets its name from the effect a player could have on the outcome of a game while playing on an old pinball machine. For those of you that have never seen or played on an old pinball machine, the player could actually nudge, shove, slap, kick, push or pull the machine to help manipulate the direction of the pinball. As long as the action of the player wasn't too blatant this was not an issue. However, if the actions of the player were too aggressive, the machine would "tilt" and completely shut down rendering the game over.
In the NBA, the "tilt" is in effect whenever there are calls at certain junctures of a game or series that can help nudge the desired outcome in the direction that benefits the league the most. Obviously, there isn't a complete manipulation of the events within a game or series since that would cause a full blown "tilt" and severely discredit the league itself and there are times when the teams don't cooperate and are able to outplay the "tilt" that's gone against them. This helps to keep the integrity of the NBA intact. David Stern, top NBA brass and the zebras are all part of the "tilt" and I'm quite sure the majority don't even know it.
It's not an all out fix, but that machine gets nudged all the time.
If you're a fan of the NBA and open to the idea that money rules over everything, search your mind for teams, players, series outcomes, etc. that may have been "tilted" in one direction or the other and therefore benefited the league. You'll have a hard time not seeing a pattern that has definitely benefited certain franchises and players over the years.
As a Boston Celtics fan, I can easily say that they have not only benefited from this theory, but have also been hampered by the "tilt."