Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Was It For Real?

Okay, I'll admit it; I love a good conspiracy theory. Fortunately, it seems as though the world we live in is overflowing with them. It seems as though our entire entertainment industry is run by nosy paparazzi who are trying to find the "back story" that no one else will have and often times is untrue. For now, I challenge you, the reader, to be the paparazzi.

First, watch this video: This should be a video entitled "David Stern Fixing 1985 Draft Lottery *High Quality*". Look at the envelope that David Stern chooses around second 45. You can see that one envelope on the bottom of the two in the foreground has a bent corner. Conveniently, this is the envelope that Stern chooses which then guarantees the New York Knicks the first pick in the NBA draft. They use this pick to draft a big man out of Georgetown who you may have heard of, Patrick Ewing. Conspiracy theorists say that the NBA rigged the lottery because they wanted New York City to have a star and rise to prominence.

Now, you be the judge. Do you think the NBA played a role in bringing a new face to the Knicks franchise?

I encourage you to comment on this and on the following argument that I will present explaining why I do not believe the bent envelope theory does not hold up. First, when all of the envelopes are placed into the drum, none of them appear as bent as the one that appears at second 45. Watching the envelopes spin in the drum, it is evident that some of the envelopes when they fall back down to the bottom of the drum land on their corners. This is also a possible explanation as to why this one envelope was slightly deformed. However, who says that more than one envelope was not bent? The camera angle does not allow the viewer to see all of the envelopes on our left hand side of the drum. Perhaps they all were dented too. Also, why exactly would the NBA prefer the Knicks as opposed to the Pacers? While the Knicks are in one of the largest markets in the world, why would this automatically make the Commissioner favor them? It seems as though the underdog story from a middle of nowhere town has become very popular. Look at Hoosiers which incidentally takes place in Indiana. This team that had not been overly successful in the past discovers a star player who turns them into a champion. This movie was released in 1986 to great acclaim after being nominated for two Oscars. Why then could a professional version of this story not develop as the new star in Patrick Ewing moved in to an Indiana town and revitalizes the team? As is evidenced by the movie, this storyline was popular at the time. Therefore, the NBA should have known that even if Patrick Ewing had gone to Indianapolis, the results could have been just as eye-catching as the fictional Hoosiers was.

Other theories have arisen such as the Knicks' envelope had been frozen, or at least chilled, before the drawing so that Stern could have felt the temperature differential and therefore known how to find the Knicks. He was pretty lucky if this is true however because he only had to touch two envelopes to find the correct one. We may never know if there was actually some form of conspiracy, but it is fun to engage in what my history professor would call "counterfactual speculation."

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