Ever notice how we tend to blow small stories out of proportion in this instant gratification/social media era, never mind big ones? Just kidding…of course you do. Now just imagine what the reaction would be like if any of these (insane) stories happened today…
No 8: Scottie Pippen Refusing to Re-Enter a Playoff Game (1994)
The Sports Morality Police would be out in full force if this were to happen today. They wouldn’t be totally wrong either. What Pippen did WAS pretty bad. In fact, they were out in full force then too, they just didn’t have Twitter and streaming video and opinion-based shows on ESPN and FS1 through which they could amplify their message. Imagine if LeBron did this. That sound you just heard was ESPN overheating and internally combusting.
Obviously no one besides the competitors and their families care THAT much about the Paralympics, so this wouldn’t have been a giant story today, but the particulars would make for incredible Twitter fodder. Ten of the 12 participants had no physical or intellectual handicap whatsoever (in response, the Olympic committee banned athletes with only intellectual disabilities for the two subsequent Games). So you had basketball players with full mental acuity beating intellectually disabled opponents for some sort of twisted glory. Or money. Or just the gold medal. Either way, it remains one of the most overlooked scandals of all time.
No 6: Rosie Ruiz Taking a Massive Shortcut to “Win” the 1980 Boston Marathon
Granted, this might not happen today with social media being so ubiquitous, but IF it did…N-E-W-S. Big. Fucking. News.
No 5: Dave Cowens Taking a Leave from the NBA and Becoming a Cab Driver
Don’t change the station: this is actually true. And for those who aren’t familiar with Dave Cowens, he was a multiple-time NBA MVP who held the Celtics together between the Bill Russell and Larry Bird eras. Imagine Kevin Durant deciding to clear his head and drive an Uber in San Francisco for the first three months of next season and you have a pretty good approximation of how insane this was.
No 4: Two NBA Owners Literally Trading Franchises in 1978
A guy named Irv Levin owned the Celtics in the late 1970s. He really wanted to move the team to Southern California, but knew the league would never allow it. So he convinced Buffalo Braves owner John Y. Brown to trade franchises with him and then moved the Braves to San Diego and changed the name to the Clippers. If this happened today, sports Twitter would take about 24 hours to process it, and then go completely nuts. Unless it was the Browns and the Bengals. No one would notice that…
No 3: The Boston College Point Shaving Scandal Mentioned in Goodfellas (78-79)
We can’t tell you much about the scandal that the 30 for 30 didn’t. We admit no one cares about Boston College, but proof of college players shaving points for money would be a big fucking deal no matter who was doing it. Hell, it would be a month of programming for Outside the Lines. As for the Goodfellas connection? It’s explained in detail in the 30 for 30, but here is the cinematic reference:
There isn’t much to say here besides the obvious: if a top-5 team in NBA history ended up with the #2 overall pick and lucked into a can’t miss stud prospect (picture a more complete Blake Griffin), and said prospect went out and immediately died of a cocaine overdose, this man’s head might literally explode:
No 1: Two Yankees Teammates Pulling Off a Wife-Swap (1973)
There’s a reason Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have been trying to turn this doozie into a movie for years: it’s a great fucking story. In case you don’t have time to watch this great video from our friends at Yarkbarker, Yanks teammates Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich ACTUALLY traded families (or were traded by their families for each other, depending on your point of view), including their family dogs. Permanently. This wasn’t a PR stunt. Peterson is still married to Susanne Kekich (although his wife Marilyn didn’t last more than a few months with Mike). Safe to say Twitter may have had a wee bit to say about this one..