Notes from Wonderland: Conspiracies abound

I do a lot of my writing at night and listen to Art Bell quite a bit. For those who aren't familiar with his show, it is essentially "conspiracy theory radio." I take a lot of what is said on the show with a grain of salt. I don't know who killed JFK and have no theories either. I don't know what happened at Roswell or what's in Area 51. I don't think Elvis is alive or think the government killed Marilyn Monroe. I don't watch the X-Files but I do subscribe to a host of sports conspiracies.

Notes fromWonderland is sponsored by eegees. Get rid of the hungries with one of eegees' tasty sandwiches or a refreshing frozen fruit drink. Try one of eegee's hot pretzels as a little snack, or order a Party Pak of your favorite eegee flavor for your next get together. For more information and some great coupons go to:

Eegees, Eegees

The NBA is home to the most sports conspiracies. In fact the more I watch the NBA, the more I'm convinced it is about as legitimate as pro wrestling. I see very little difference between David Stern and Vince McMahon, except that the WWF puts out a more compelling product.


The biggest NBA conspiracy is the Michael Jordan "retirement". I think it is obvious that Jordan had a gambling problem. The NBA couldn't shame their biggest star, but they couldn't allow him to go unpunished either. As far as pro sports goes gambling is the deadliest sin. Drug abuse, spousal abuse and even killing someone is preferred to gambling. If O.J. could still hit the hole he'd get a look before Pete Rose ever would. "Shoeless" Joe Jackson is barred from the Hall of Fame, while Leonard Little of the Rams had a Super Bowl ring less than 24 months after being convicted in the DUI death of a St. Louis woman.

Back to Jordan. His "retirement" lasted exactly 18 months, conveniently a year and a half. A nice round number don't you think? Out of nowhere he has this lifelong dream to be a baseball player. Never mind he never mentioned it before. Then all of the sudden he comes back because he missed basketball? It couldn't have been due to plummeting television ratings for the two seasons that he was gone?

What happened is that Stern and Jordan cut a deal. Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf allowed his super star to toil with the Birmingham Barons for a year to keep him happy and out of the casinos. Jordan came back, won some more rings and everyone was happy.


While I don't believe the NBA is scripted, I do believe it is the officials' job to make sure the games go the way the league office desires. How many televised games aren't at least reasonably close? How many times has a team led by 20 early in the third, only to have their lead cut to the smallest of margins? It happens like clockwork.

Everyone knows that the stars get the calls, but at times it gets ridiculous. Everyone remembers Jordan's dramatic shot against the Jazz to win the sixth title. Everyone remembers him faking out Bryon Russell to knock down the game winner. Watch the replay. Jordan pushes off, badly. Bo Jackson didn't stiff arm Brian Bozworth that hard.

Jordan got away with murder, as did the stars before and after. How many times did Shaq, Sir Charles and the Mailman initiate contact only to have the poor player on the ground called for the foul? Barkley used to hit guys so hard with his rear end that they'd go flying. Shaq kills guys and then complains that he doesn't get calls. You want flagrant elbows? Set a pick for John Stockton. You want double dribble? Alan Iverson is your man. How many times did James Worthy stroll down the lane on a fast break, taking three or four steps before the dunk?


I'm convinced the commissioner's office dictates trades. Why else would anyone deal with the Lakers? Boston getting too good? Allow the Lakers to acquire the #1 pick to draft James Worthy. If there isn't a fix how do the two most storied franchises draft Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to renew their NCAA Championship rivalry for over a decade? Somehow the Celts acquired the pick to draft Len Bias. Somehow the Hornets agreed to trade Kobe Bryant for Vlade Divac. The Celtics had the third pick in 1980 and got Kevin McHale. Golden State trades Robert Parish for a bag of balls and three of Red Auerbach's used cigars so they can keep Joe Barry Carroll. Need I continue?


Would you trade Kobe for...





The Draft Lottery is even more rigged. Notice they don't show us the ping pong balls? Not every Draft Lottery is rigged, just a bunch. With the franchise in the nation's largest media market in the toilet, the Knicks just happen to win the lottery and select Patrick Ewing. With a stadium referendum coming up the Spurs just happen to get the pick to select Tim Duncan? Two expansion teams go one and two and draft the "next Chamberlain/Russell" in Shaq and ‘Zo. The year before the Hornets had the #1 pick and got Larry Johnson. With Shaq a rising star and his team just missing out on the playoffs the Magic "miraculously" get the top pick a year later and take Penny Hardaway. Suddenly comparisons to Magic/Kareem are being thrown around. That's very "fortunate" for the NBA marketing gurus. In a three year span the two most popular expansion teams had the first pick three times and the second pick once. A new rivalry was born…almost.

Even last year the "fix" seemed to be in. Who gets the top pick? None other than M.J.'s new team the Wizards. Too bad they blew it on a high school player who won't develop fast enough to help Jordan.

This year I have a sneaky suspicion that a team that has been looking for a point guard and is in a huge media market might very well get to pick Jason Williams. Anyone want to bet that Williams is a Knick next year? I also wouldn't be shocked if Jerry Colangelo is finally rewarded with the center the Suns have needed since the dawn of time. It's not too early to order your Yao Ming Suns jersey.

"With the first overall pick..."


While the NBA is certainly the worst, they are not the only leagues where shady things abound. Wasn't it nice that the Patriots won the Super Bowl after the events of September 11th? Never mind that they had to use a "strange" interpretation of a rule to make a fumble not a fumble. I hate the Raiders more than anyone but come on, rule or no, Brady dropped that ball. Of course after suing the NFL 57,000 times, Al Davis will never be allowed to win the Super Bowl. Notice there is more film on the Kennedy Assassination than there is of the "Immaculate Reception"? Can anyone prove Franco Harris caught that ball? It wouldn't surprise me if the NFL was spiking Sebastian Janikowski and Darrell Russell's drinks. Okay it would, but the NFL HATES Davis.


College basketball isn't much better. The ESPN/NCAA/CBS/Duke conspiracy is alive and well. Anyone who watched the 2001 Final Four knows the Blue Devils benefited from every call. They came back from 20 down to Maryland and against Arizona Jason Williams couldn't draw a foul if he hit Jason Gardner in the face with a frying pan. We all remember Williams lying on Gardner like the Wildcat point guard was a hammock. Williams had three fouls and they couldn't have the Blue Devils' golden boy on the bench for the majority of the second half. And why did Coach K. have Williams in the game in the first place? Any other coach sits down a player after two first half fouls, yet Williams was out there diving for balls after three. I guess Coach K. knows something I and the rest of the world don't.

There were a host of witnesses in San Jose who saw the head of the NCAA selection commitee visibly upset when news of the Duke loss was announced.

Those are just some of my favorite sports conspiracies. There are others. How else do you explain how bad the Arizona Cardinals are? How else do you explain why the Braves can't win a world series, despite having the best pitching staff year after year? Why do teams keep letting Tony Banks run their club?

I have to go. The men in black are at my door asking about the flying saucer in my back yard that Big Foot and Jimmy Hoffa left there after a trip to the Bermuda Triangle.

[Editor's note – "Notes from Wonderland" appears every Wednesday and is normally part of the Cat Tracks Club premium package.]

Wildcat Authority Top Stories