Let's break out the tin foil

Published by Axel on 3rd January - 21:25 (CET)
Do you guys remember Craig Hodges? Playing for the Bucks in the mid 80's, Hodges led the league in 3-point field goal percentage twice before joining the Chicago Bulls in 1988. As a Bull, Hodges would often criticize teammates like Michael Jordan for not using his fame to be politically outspoken and when the Bulls visited the White House after repeating the title in 1992, Hodges decided to dress up in a dashiki and deliver a hand-written mail on his dissatisfaction at the administration's treatment of the poor and the minorities to President George H. W. Bush himself. Guess what happened next? Hodges was waived.

Curiously no team in the league even offered him a tryout after this. Still, Hodges competed in the 1993 NBA 3-Point Shootout competition to defend his title from 1992. To this day, he is the only player in NBA history to have competed in the 3-Point Shootout competition without being on any team.

While the Bulls said that Hodges was waived because of his increasing age and lack of defense, Phil Jackson said, "I also found it strange that not a single team called to inquire about him. Usually, I get at least one call about a player we've decided not to sign. And yes, he couldn't play much defense, but a lot of guys in the league can't, but not many can shoot from his range, either."

"Think about that, man. I was the defending three-point champ and a member of the championship Bulls, and I couldn't get a team to return my calls. I asked Tex [Winter] to ask around, Eventually, he got back to me and said, 'Craig, if you want to play, you better look overseas.' No one responded to him either."

In 1996, Hodges filed a $40 million lawsuit against the NBA and all it's teams. The lawsuit claimed that Hodges had been blackballed for his association with Nation of Islam-leader Louis Farrakhan and for his repeated criticism of "African-American professional athletes who failed to use their considerable wealth and influence to assist the poor and disenfranchised." The lawsuit also stated that the Bulls management was concerned by Hodges criticism of other players' lack of involvement in inner-city communities, and that the Seattle Supersonics had backed out on a deal in 1992, after Billy McKinney, the director of player personnel for the Sonics told hodges that "he could do nothing because "brothers have families, if you know what I mean."

How is it that a 32-year-old guard with a career average of .400 percent from three doesn't get a single call after winning his second championship? If there's any skill that's treated well with age it's shooting, and Hodges was just two seasons away from averaging .481 from three.

The reason why I recently thought about this is that Hodges just released a book called Long Shot: The Struggles and Triumphs of an NBA Freedom Fighter, where he among other subjects ones again brings up the question. Did Craig Hodges get shadow banned by the NBA because of his political beliefs?

This whole story made me think about a few other "conspiracy theories" about the NBA, so let's list the ones I could think of. Leave a comment down below if you have any theories of your own!
Was the 1985 NBA Draft Lottery fixed?

There will always be a lot of skeptical voices regarding the NBA Draft and it's lottery. Remember when the Cavs got the first overall pick in 2013 and 2014, just after receiving the 4th pick in 2012? Wow. The voices of angry fans still echoes in my head at night. Just let a team suck, guys!

So when a player like LeBron gets selected by his hometown it almost seems too good to be true. But the Cavs were in fact favored to win that lottery back in 2003. In 2008, when Chicago selected hometown kid Derrick Rose first overall, they only had a 1.7% chance of bringing home that pick. These things makes a few people raise their eyebrows, but not much more. One draft that brought more than a few raised eyebrows was the 1985 NBA Draft. Especially to those who believes that the NBA favors big markets due to TV ratings.

Besides being a racist prick, Donald Sterling was also a pioneer for the likes of Sam Hinkie, as he realized that there was a possibility to win the NBA by losing. At the time the draft were completely ordered by inverse order of finish fromt he season before. So all you had to do to get the first pick was to lose the most games. To stop this the NBA invented the draft lottery we still use today.

As it happens the Knicks had just had their worst season campaign in 20 years, Bill Cartwright had just missed the whole season and the MSG was a ghost house. Wouldn't that be the perfect timing for the biggest market in the league to receive one of the greatest big man prospects in years? Well, that's exactly what happened. The 1985 NBA Draft were the first ever to use the lottery, New York got the first pick and selected Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing.

The clip above shows this very lottery with David Stern picking up the so called "bent envelope". Take a look at the corner of the one he picks first. Seriously though, if the NBA intentionally wanted to give New York the first overall pick, I think they would have made a better effort than a bent envelope.
Did Draymond Green get suspended in order to lengthen the finals series?

Draymond Green has shown a special interest in the lower regions recently, but after kicking people in the groin and releasing dick pics, the league had enough. No more dick-tricks, Dray! As we all know Adam Silver suspended Green for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals, after the Warriors had already gone up 3-1 in games. What frustrated a lot of fans were the fact that Green's kick on Steven Adams (the one shown in the image above) during the Western Conference Finals were way worse and also should have warranted a suspension. The result being a lot of suspicion towards the NBA that they did this in order to lengthen a series that otherwise might have ended in five games.

"Would bet my right arm if this series was even at 2–2 Draymond wouldn't be suspended for GM5. What happened in OKC was way worse... And if you want to suspend him for the flagrant fouls, I'm fine with that, how about the officials call it in game. Don't wait for NBA later" - Reggie Miller.

While I admit that the suspension was conspicuously well timed to make the finals more interesting and gain a ton of revenue, I also think that anyone who makes a habit out of kicking others in the groin deserves some punishment.
Was Michael Jordan suspended by the NBA in 1993?

The NBA have always been a gambling league, and there's no secret that Jordan is a gambler of high caliber. In 1992, after winning his second championship, Jordan was called to a trial to explain why James Bouler, a convicted drug dealer, was in possession of a $57,000 personal check that was signed by Jordan himself. Jordan eventually admitted that it was a gambling debt and when more reports about Jordan's high amount gambling debts started to flourish, the NBA started an investigation against Jordan in early 1993, to clarify if any league rules had been violated.

In July, 1993, Michael's father James Jordan got murdered at a highway rest area in North Carolina, and a few months later Jordan abruptly announced his intentions to retire from the NBA, partly because of the death of his father. A few weeks after Jordan made his announcement, the NBA ended it's investigation against Jordan, stating that no rules had been broken. This made a lot of people believe that Jordan made some sort of agreement with David Stern to take a break from the NBA and cause a distraction instead of staying to receive a suspension because of gamling problems, which would have hurt both Jordan's and the NBA's image quite a lot.

Former Bull and All-Star guard Norm Van Lier, who has since passed away, was at the time a radio host in Chicago, and it didn't take Van Lier long before he started spinning stories about how the murder of Michael's father was in fact due to Michael's own gambling debts. This kept on for a while until Chicago Bulls' head coach Phil Jackson called Van Lier to inform him that there was no connection between MJ’s gambling and his father’s death and that he should shut the hell up. So he did, but the words were already out in the public.

While this theory might be interesting, there is absolutely zero evidence to support it's case, and if there in fact would have been any truth to it, isn't it weird that the NBA took no distance from Jordan's gambling once he was back in 1995? The Bulls' preseason games in 1996 were even scheduled in Vegas so that Jordan, Rodman and other gamblers could enjoy their time. "Pacman" Jones, a cornerback and return specialist playing for the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL even claims to have witnessed Jordan openly lose at least $5 million on dices in a single night during the 2007 All-Star weekend in Vegas. This at a time when Jordan began to look for more than a minority ownership with the Charlotte Bobcats. Wouldn't the continuation of Jordan's gambling addictions be a problem for David Stern if he actually was suspended because of his gambling in 1993?

Apparently not as Stern was one of the pushers for Jordan's ownership to actually happen.
Were the NBA officials instructed to call more fouls on Yao Ming during the 2005 playoffs?

In 2005, the 4th seeded Dallas Mavericks matched up against the 5th seeded Houston Rockets in a fierce series that would go on to 7 games in favor of the Mavs. In the middle of the series, Houston's head coach Jeff Van Gundy claimed to have received a phone call from an NBA official who wasn't officiating the playoffs after the Rockets went up 2-0. In this phone call Van Gundy was supposodely warned that the officials were instructed to call fouls on Yao Ming as he was mentioned in an evaluation from supervisor of officials, Ronnie Nunn. According to Van Gundy, all of this were because of the Mavs' owner Mark Cuban, who "had been hard on" on the officials and the league itself.

"I didn't think that really worked in the NBA, but in this case it has. I said what I said. I believe what I believe and I've seen what I've seen. They've got to do what they think is right. I would watch all of [Yao's] 20 fouls with anyone. And I would have no problems making my case that he's not refereed appropriately. I stand by that."

In return, David Stern launched an investigation against Van Gundy and fined him with $100,000 for his comments. This is the largest amount any coach has received in a fine. Stern even implied that Van Gundy could face a lifetime ban.

"If he's going to say things like that, he's not going to continue in this league. If the attitude reflected in those comments continues to be public, he's going to have a big problem with me as long as I'm commissioner."

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