Paul George Honestly(?) Picking OKC over LAbron, and My Other Favourite NBA Conspiracy Theories
As the 2018 NBA Free Agency period had finally dawned on the salivating basketball fanbase, Laker fans (myself included) were dealt a serious blow when in practically the first minute after midnight Paul George announced that he would be re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder. In a recent podcast interview, Paul George admitted that the Lakers were cheesed at him for not even granting Magic Johnson and co. a meeting. George said that he felt he knew right away that he wanted to stay with OKC and didn’t want to waste anyone’s time.
Shenanigans (that means “bullsh*%” for all those non-South Park deep divers).
For two years, all you could hear was, “Paul George is going to the Lakers Paul George is going to the Lakers Paul George is go…” from both the Lakers and PG’s camp. He’s a lifelong Laker’s fan; NBA/LAKER LEGEND MAGIC JOHNSON wants to have a sit down to sign him to join the numerous greats that have rocked the Purp and Gold; He could be playing alongside the best player in the league and arguably the GOAT in Lebron (i just felt my Kobe Stan card get pulled); And don’t forget the Lakers giving him not only a max deal, but everything else he could get endorsement-wise by playing in the LA market. AND HE COULDN’T EVEN GIVE THEM A MEETING?!?!?
In another podcast I had heard this theory that OKC, annoyed by the constant tampering happening between PG and the Lakers over the season, had reached out to NBA Commish Adam Silver to take care of this once and for all or they would make a public stink about the entire situation. Silver then called Magic et al. and told them, very diplomatically, that they were forbidden to sign Paul George under threat of the loss of future draft picks. Silver likewise told PG that he could not sign with LA and to take the max deal with OKC.
I AM ALL IN ON THIS THEORY.
The idea that George didn’t even hear what LA had to offer raised major red flags, especially in this age of the branded athlete. So when you eliminate the impossible reasons (you know, like PG actually liking Russell Westbrook as a teammate and friend and being competitive against the top tier teams in the league), the most likely reasons must be true. Or something like that.
With this brouhaha in mind, these are my 3 Favourite NBA Conspiracy Theories ranked from silliest to serious:
Honorable Mention: The Flu Game
The Facts: The 1997 NBA Finals was one for the ages. After going up 2-0 on the Utah Jazz, the Chicago Bulls found themselves returning to Utah for a pivotal Game 5 with the series tied 2-2, and word got out that Michael Jordan was exhibiting “flu-like symptoms,” but would play anyways. In one of the most incredible performances i would ever see, Jordan played 44 minutes and dropped 38 points, looking near death in every timeout and almost passing out in Scottie Pippen’s arms as the final buzzer sounded.
Conspiracy Theory: As time would pass, the legend of the “Flu Game” would only grow. Some speculate that what ailed MJ wasn’t the flu, but a hangover from the night before. Really? A
hangover from turning up… in Utah’s legendary nightlife scene?!? More likely is the story that was put forward from Tim Grover, Jordan’s trainer at the time. According to him, Jordan stayed in his hotel room the night before the game and ordered a pizza. The pizza, delivered by a team of five pizza delivery men, seemed suspect to Grover, but MJ continued to eat it regardless. It was at 2am that they got the call that Michael was sick and in the fetal position, and Grover knew right away that it was food poisoning, and not the flu.
Why I Like It: Its very possible that we can thank a shady pizza chain for one of the greatest performances in NBA Finals history. I wish one of the chains would low-key hone up to it and take credit for it. “Papa John’s: Better Ingredients. Better Pizza. Even Our Food Poisoning is Better.”
1. The Ol’ Morris Twins Switcheroo
The Facts: In Game 1 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals vs the Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris suffered a sprained ankle which forced him to leave the game, and was feared to be out for at least a week. Amazingly, Morris’ ankle healed enough that he was able to play in every game that series, which went to a Game 7 where the Celts came out on top.
Conspiracy Theory: It’s been speculated that Games 2-7 were actually played by Markieff’s twin brother, Marcus, at that time a forward for the gone-fishin’ Detroit Pistons. It is apparently extremely difficult to tell them apart. Even their tattoos are identical.
Why I Like It: I know I’m totally dating myself, but this theory reminds me of that old Richard Pryor comedy, “Moving,” where his twin sons would switch places in the middle of track races. Or in the WWE when og tag team the Killer Bees would switch places mid match by putting on their luchador masks, or when twin WWE refs Earl and Dave Hebner screwed Hulk Hogan out of his belt, thanks to the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase. Old heads know what’s up. Ironically, Marcus Morris ends up getting dealt to, that’s right, the Boston Celtics.
2. The Poo Pierce Postulate
The Facts: In Game 1 of the 2008 Finals between the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers, Paul Pierce seemingly suffers a lower body injury, and is taken off the court and into the locker room in a wheelchair, to the horror of the Boston crowd. In shenanigan-like fashion, Pierce is shown jumping up from the wheelchair and back to the game, where he leads his team to the title and wins Finals MVP.
Conspiracy Theory: Pierce left the game because he shit his pants. Video posted to Youtube had shown a poo stain on his white shorts during the game, and after a failed contest to a Kobe jumper, Pierce fell to the ground, clutched his knee (and his ass), and told the trainer, “I shat myself. Get the wheelchair.” Tony Allen giving a classic stinkface as he carries Pierce off the floor.
Why I Like It: Ok, I know this theory has been debunked. The video which had shown the seepage was actually taken from Game 2, and the story changed and morphed into the classic
yarn that we are currently sharing, that the poo stain had happened in Game 1. But imagine if Pierce had actually gotten hurt? He would have been out of the series, Kobe would have another ring, and Shaq wouldn’t have dropped the “How My Ass Taste” Freestyle. Oh and Kevin Garnett wouldn’t have committed one of the worst marketing blunders of all time (Adidas had been running a very successful ad campaign based around the slogan, “Impossible is Nothing,” with KG as their biggest star. As he won his first championship, all he had to do in the postgame interview was say the slogan. Overcome with emotion, he almost got it right. The simultaneous facepalm from Adidas execs could be heard from miles around).
But whatever. I’m a Lakers fan. Pierce poo-pooed his pants. F&%$ the Celtics. 3. Bangers N Nash
Facts: A day after the birth of their first son, Matteo, Phoenix Suns pg Steve Nash and his wife of 5 years file for divorce. Shortly after, Suns sg Jason Richardson is dealt to the Orlando Magic.
Conspiracy Theory: Upon seeing the skin tone of his newborn son, Nash’s suspicions of his wife’s infidelity were confirmed. She had apparently been having an affair with Nash’s Suns teammate, Jason Richardson, in retaliation for a relationship that Nash had been having with someone else. Nash saw how dark-skinned the baby was, and filed for divorce the next day. He then had Suns management ship J-Rich to the happiest franchise on Earth, the Orlando Magic.
Why I Like It: Ok, any conspiracy that involves children, I’m out. And this theory had also been debunked by Nash saying the baby was planned. But some of the craziest NBA feuds have come from teammates sleeping with each other’s wives. Tony parker and Brent Barry; the aforementioned Paul George and Roy Hibbert, Derek Fisher and Matt Barnes; the list goes on and on. I just remember how it had unfolded when it was happening. I was watching Headline Sports one day and saw on the ticker that Nash had welcomed a baby boy to the world. The very next day I read on the ticker that Nash filed for divorce, which I didn’t understand. At the time I had worked as a concierge at a hotel, and I came across an American guest who had hailed from Phoenix, and it was him that had told me the tale of debauchery amongst the team, and shortly thereafter Richardson was traded. It was like that scene in Major League when Wild Thing (Charlie Sheen) had unknowingly slept with his teammates wife after she had caught her husband fooling around. Or that scene in Naked Gun 33 and 1/3 where Drebin ends up in the wrong delivery room, and seeing that the baby is black, attacks his partner (OJ Simpson) for knocking the boots with his wife (the ironing is delicious). Old heads know what’s up.