Chris Cox takes us through four outlandish NBA statements and actions that have backfired spectacularly, over the last four seasons.
2013: New York dress for a funeral; Celtics come back to life
Kenyon Martin of the New York Knicks, who had not won a playoff series since 2000, reportedly told his teammates to dress in funeral black in anticipation of the Knicks eliminating the Celtics.
Boston, trailing 3-1 in the series, ensured there’d be a Game 6 with a 92-86 win at MSG. After the loss, New York Head Coach Mike Woodson said of the stunt: “I’ve addressed that with our players, and that’s enough. The game is played on the floor, and that’s where it should be played.”
Not only was the stunt extremely insensitive, given the recent terrorist attacks carried out during the Boston marathon, but any excuse to give the veteran Celtics bulletin board material should be avoided at all costs!
2012: Metta World Peace predicts the Lakers will win 73 games; LAL struggle to make the playoffs, swept in the first round
MWP was typically bullish ahead of this year’s NBA campaign: “We definitely want to beat the Bulls record and go 73-9,” he admitted. “That’s definitely something that I want to do…You try to snatch records before you leave this earth. You gotta try to do a lot of great things, so it’s definitely a goal. With Dwight Howard, [Steve] Nash, Kobe [Bryant], myself, Pau [Gasol], and then [Antawn] Jamison and a lot of great additions, it’s something that’s possible.”
The Lakers’ season never got off the ground. Lack of chemistry and a plethora of injuries resulted in one of the Purple and Gold’s worst regular seasons in a decade. A first-round sweep, at the hands of rivals San Antonio, only serves to make MWP’s prediction all the more ridiculous.
2011: Wade and James mock Nowitzki’s illness; Dirk propels Dallas to the title
2-1 down in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, Nowitzki played Game 4 with a 101-degree fever and led Dallas to an 86-83 win. He scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and made a driving right-handed layup with 14.4 seconds left to give the Mavs a three-point cushion.
Heading into Game 5 Wade and James appeared to make fun of Dirk, suggesting his illness may not have been as serious as let on. Nowitzki said he thought it was “a little childish and a little ignorant,”. Wade failed to justify the duo’s actions: “We never said Dirk’s name. I think he’s not the only one in the world who can get sick or have a cough. We just had fun with the cameras being right in our face about the blowup of the incident, and it held to be true. You blew it up.”
The Mavericks got the last laugh after they dominated the Heat in the final minutes to take a 3-2 series lead, going on to take the title in 6. Fittingly, Dirk went on to lift the Finals MVP Trophy.
2010: Dan Gilbert promises championship in Cleveland; LeBron wins ring in Miami
Writing of LeBron James, after the ‘decision’, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote: “You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal. You have given so much and deserve so much more. In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:
I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”
Fast-forward two years and the Cavaliers are still floundering in the lottery, while LeBron James secured his first title and looks set to add another this off-season.
BONUS – 2012: Howard signs 1-year extension in Orlando and talks about loyalty; instantly regrets decision, forces trade to Lakers
The NBA store commemorates Howard’s decision with T-shirt. A must own for any fan of loyalty and basketball!