If there’s anything that is truly certain these days, it’s that we live in uncertain times. With the proliferation of misleading headlines, clickbait, photoshopped oddities and downright false information floating around, it’s a frightening time to be an Internet user. The All-Star Game election is over, sure, but NBA fans are tasked with staying on guard year-round, with the trade deadline, free agency and draft only part of the big rumor-filled picture. How many times have Twitter Eggs disguised as Adrian Wojnarowski traded DeMarcus Cousins for retweets? It’s time to admit what we’ve all known deep down for a long time: the Internet is mostly trash.
In the spirit of all that is blatantly false, The Crossover would like to introduce the NBA Fake News Challenge. The game is simple. We identify three of the weirdest, timeliest NBA stories. We give you a real version and a not-so-real version. You get to guess which one is the truth under a no-Googling honor code. Cool? Cool. Here we go.
Item 1: Isaiah Thomas, Dennis Schröder Start Feud
Version A: After a 103–101 Celtics win over the Hawks that Boston won on a Thomas jump shot, Atlanta point guard Dennis Schröder complained to reporters that Thomas had been cursing about his mother. The next day, Thomas completely denied that account, telling the media that his own mother heard Schröder’s comments and was distraught enough about it to call him on the phone. “I don’t even want to talk about Dennis Schroder, because he’s not even on the level that I’m trying to be on.”
Version B: After draining the game-winning jump shot, Thomas mean-mugged his way off the floor. Schröder complained to reporters after the game that Thomas had mocked the bleach-blonde stripe in his hair during the game, asking who had done his dye job. The guard’s distinctive coif took root in his native Germany, where his mother ran a hair salon, and Schröder took offense. After the game, Thomas said he intended it as a compliment and that he’d called Schröder to apologize.
Item 2: Carmelo Anthony, Phil Jackson Media Beef
Version A: Phil Jackson’s known media mouthpiece Charley Rosen wrote a column for FanRag Sports that passively bashed Anthony and suggested his time was close to over in New York. Anthony, who holds a no-trade clause, asked to meet with Jackson about it and told the media afterward that he will remain a Knick and that he loves New York, joking about the famous video of himself at a bodega in a bathrobe. “You think I’d ever give that up? You guys are always saying all kinds of stuff, man. I don’t even know who Charley Rosen is.”
Version B: Anthony and Jackson meet privately over Rosen’s column in midst of a tenuous time for the Knicks, given the hubbub around Derrick Rose's absence and Courtney Lee's Instagram posts after being benched for Ron Baker. Anthony this week revealed the Knicks call Baker “Ron Burgundy” in the locker room. “We didn't break bread,” Anthony told reporters of his talk with Jackson, keeping largely mum. “It was a short conversation.”
Version A: Just one day after blowing out the Cavaliers at Oracle Arena, the Warriors’ groundbreaking for the new Chase Center in San Francisco evolves into a bizarre show. Interpretive-dancing acrobats dressed as construction workers flip on trampolines, and there is a choir performance. Excavator operators pilot their machines in synchronicity to Johan Strauss’s famous Blue Danube waltz. Owner Joe Lacob declares his palace will be “the Madison Square Garden of the West.” San Francisco mayor Ed Lee says he introduced himself to Lacob as “the Jeremy Lin of mayors.” Kevin Durant says offhandedly that he’s looking forward to playing in the stadium, which won’t open until 2019.
Version B: The Warriors turn their event into a Bay Area who’s who, with Silicon Valley magnates, Giants catcher Buster Posey, Raiders star Khalil Mack and rapper E–40 in attendance. Golden State’s ownership intends to ensure their fans in Oakland that they won’t be left behind, giving out logo-emblazoned iPhone cases to attendees as the neon-clad acrobats backflip through the aisles. Durant and Klay Thompson take the microphone and make 3–1 lead jokes, although Steph Curry is notably absent. Lacob takes the stage and says he wishes late Bay Area rapper Mac Dre “was still around to see this, because it’s beautiful.” National media members in attendance document it all on Twitter.