Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

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Rex
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Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Rex » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:57 pm

I don't think we have a thread about this. What is the generally accepted sports legend/story that you don't believe?

For me, I don't think people were hitting 500 foot home runs back in the day. The longest Statcast measured home run is Giancarlo Stanton at 504 feet in Colorado in 2016:

https://www.mlb.com/news/longest-home-r ... -271050576

If it takes a modern manchild and high altitude to produce a 500 foot home run, then it can't be something that happened very often in the past, if at all. Aaron Judge is twice the size as people from 1920 and I don't think he's broken 500 feet yet. So all those Mickey Mantle stories, I don't believe them. Josh Gibson hitting a ball out of Yankee Stadium, I don't believe that happened. Babe Ruth hitting a tree over 500 feet away in Atlanta? I have visited that tree, I do not think someone could hit a baseball from the parking spot where home plate stood to that tree. With no video evidence to confirm or deny these stories, I think people are making this up.

What say you?
Last edited by Rex on Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by sancarlos » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:13 pm

I find it difficult to believe that Dock Ellis was really tripping on acid while he threw his no-hitter.
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by RSmith » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:13 pm

Rex wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:57 pm
I don't think we have a thread about this. What is the generally accepted sports legend/story that you don't believe?

For me, I don't think people were hitting 500 foot home runs back in the day. The longest Statcast measured home run is Giancarlo Stanton at 504 feet in Colorado in 2016:

https://www.mlb.com/news/longest-home-r ... -271050576

If it takes a modern manchild and high altitude to produce a 500 foot home run, then it can't be something that happened very often in the past, if at all. Aaron Judge is twice the size as people from 1920 and I don't think he's broken 500 feet yet. So all those Mickey Mantle stories, I don't believe them. Josh Gibson hitting a ball out of Yankee Stadium, I don't believe that happened. Babe Ruth hitting a tree over 500 feet away in Atlanta? I have visited that tree, I do not think someone could hit a baseball from the parking spot where home plate stood to that tree. With no video evidence to confirm or deny these stories, I think people are making this up.

What say you?
As a purely emotional reaction, I'd love to believe those stories. But objectively, not a chance, no.

As for other crazy theories that people love to throw out, the "man never landed on the moon" one is what really gets me, especially as I've heard it legitimately espoused by people who I presume to be relatively intelligent. I know one particular fellow, a wonderful guy, a PhD in aerospace engineering, and a well-regarded software developer, who absolutely swears by that bunk. On the other hand, he's Iranian, so I wouldn't be surprised if he'd been fed some propaganda about that...

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Johnny Carwash » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:21 pm

Rex wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:57 pm
I don't think we have a thread about this.
We actually do but it's a few years old so I won't call the DTP.

Here were mine from that one:

- The NBA rigged the 1985 Draft lottery so that Patrick Ewing would go to the Knicks.

- Michael Jordan's first retirement from 1993-95 was actually a secret suspension for gambling.

- The NFL had the Colts throw Super Bowl III to the Jets in order to legitimize the AFL teams ahead of the merger.

- Sonny Liston took a dive in the second Ali fight for one reason or another.

- The Cavs getting three No. 1 overall picks in four years was a ploy by the NBA to lure LeBron back to Cleveland so he could repair his reputation.

- Spygate was actually much worse than publicly acknowledged, and the NFL destroyed the evidence to prevent further embarrassment. The NFL's subsequent vendetta against the Patriots is a result of Goodell feeling like they were insufficiently grateful.

- Pete Rose actually did bet on his own team to lose, but this was not made public in order to prevent further embarrassment to baseball.

- Magic Johnson never had HIV; the whole thing was a massive publicity stunt to create awareness for AIDS. (I know this one is insanely dumb, but including it just because.)

- The referees rigged the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals to ensure the Lakers would advance.

- Bobby Riggs threw the "Battle of the Sexes" with Billie Jean King. (This is the one I'm most inclined to believe; ESPN ran a feature story a couple years ago that made a pretty compelling case, though in fairness I out to hear out any rebuttals.)
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Rex » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:27 pm

I like the Dock Ellis one. Maybe mildly impaired, but that has to be way out of proportion.

Here's another: while I trust that Wilt Chamberlain actually scored 100 points against the Knicks on 3/2/1962, there is no video of the game and I have to assume that it was a total sham, a handshake between the teams at some point in the game. Maybe that one's too obvious.

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by RSmith » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:28 pm

Johnny Carwash wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:21 pm
- Michael Jordan's first retirement from 1993-95 was actually a secret suspension for gambling.
I don't know if I believe this, but I'd at least call it "highly plausible."

ETA: A great one I *don't* believe: the phantom punch. That is, I believe that the punch landed, and Liston was not taking a dive.

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Joe K » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:33 pm

I am dead certain that the NBA used to have its refs favor the trailing team in playoff series to result in a longer series and more interest. I haven’t noticed this in the Adam Silver era but it definitely occurred under Stern. There were some playoff games where the Heat played the Celtics and Pacers earlier this decade where the officiating slant against the (heavily favored) Heat was blatant once they had a series lead. I was at this game, cheering for the Celtics, and some of the fouls called on LeBron were laughable. So while I don’t think the NBA outright rigged the 2002 West Finals, I do believe that the officiating in Game 6 was part of this practice and robbed the Kings of a title.

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Pruitt » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:42 pm

1) Pele scoring 1,000 goals

2) Jesse Owens' performance in the Berlin Olympics having any effect whatsoever in Germany
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Rex » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:46 pm

Speaking of track and field, one more: long jumps. We have video of the Beamon jump from 1968 and all of the jumps in Tokyo in 1991, so we know they were very long and that Powell probably beat Lewis. But this is just people picking out specks of sand, why should I have any faith in what the actual measurements were. Posnanski had a great article on this a while back. After reading it, I believe that whatever the record is, Carl Lewis owns it.

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Joe K » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:52 pm

Another conspiracy theory I believe is that the men’s and women’s tennis tours have allowed star players to claim to be injured to cover up for failed drug tests. I know they suspended Sharapova, who is one of the bigger stars, but I suspect that other big names have been allowed to pretend to be injured and served secret suspensions.

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by RSmith » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:00 pm

Another great one: the theory that the 1995 rugby World Cup was rigged in favor of the Springboks.

This one particularly annoys me, as one of my best childhood memories was attending the second test between the Lions and Springboks in Bloemfontein with my Dad and uncle in 1980. Good Lord, I should add that to the "things that make you feel old" thread, too... :)

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by govmentchedda » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:17 pm

I'm sure I posted it in the earlier thread, but I'm 100% on board with the Magic not having AIDS theory. It always smelled fishy to me.
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by degenerasian » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:28 pm

NHL rigged the draft lottery for Pittsburgh to get Crosby

Ronaldo was drugged by the French before the 98 final.

Michael Phelps did not touch the wall first in that race in Beijing.
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by brian » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:14 pm

I absolutely believe the NHL rigged that Crosby lottery. That Pittsburgh franchise was going to have to move if they didn’t get him.
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by mister d » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:53 pm

Fuck, RSmith stole mine.
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by mister d » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:57 pm

Not quite a conspiracy theory, but I 100% believe Tom Glavine’s career is a complete sham. Never happens in the PitchF/X era.
bfj wrote:
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My people call that Kishka.

ETA - we don't call weird dicks Kishka.

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Rush2112 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:14 pm

sancarlos wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:13 pm
I find it difficult to believe that Dock Ellis was really tripping on acid while he threw his no-hitter.
Really? Back in my acid days, I loved playing baseball. I really got in tune with the ball.
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Rush2112 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:22 pm

I think that the NBA absolutely rigged the lottery for much more than just the Knicks. Anytime they need a traditional franchise to rise back up or want to help out a team in a particular market either the balls fall a certain way or a player just happens to fall a few spots (Orlando in the early nineties for example.)

They also want certain series to go an extended period of time due to ratings/box office so calls tend to lean a bit more toward the team down in the series a lot of times.
Last edited by Rush2112 on Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by A_B » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:23 pm

Which explains why the knicks have been ass for 20 years?
Last edited by A_B on Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
certainly expansive during tactical areas and specific zones

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by RSmith » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:23 pm

mister d wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:53 pm
Fuck, RSmith stole mine.
Nice! Which? :)

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Rush2112 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:26 pm

A_B wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:23 pm
Which explains why the knicks have been ass for 20 years?
Not sure it's really been pushed toward a team since Cleveland got the LeBron pick, then the picks to bring him back.

Plus I'm not sure the Knicks are what they used to be. Maybe if Dolan sold the team they can get a pick or two though?
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Johnnie » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:04 am

Pruitt wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:42 pm
2) Jesse Owens' performance in the Berlin Olympics having any effect whatsoever in Germany
It didn't. Basically, whatever's been told is some made up patriotic American rah rah bullshit. Jesse Owens didn't stick it in Hitler's face and the actual asshole was FDR.

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Joe K » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:18 am

The Jordan suspension conspiracy is a common one that I don’t believe. The whole playing minor league baseball part of his NBA hiatus makes more sense to me if it really was just a mid-career crisis accelerated by his father’s death. Jordan was also so insanely popular back then that I have a hard time believing he’d get an 18 month suspension unless he was regularly shaving points or something similarly egregious. He was basically a god or, in my case, the devil because I was an obsessive Knicks fan who futilely rooted against the Bulls.

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Joe K » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:52 am

Another NBA conspiracy that I do believe is that Durant joining the Warriors was, at least in large part, a Nike plot to undermine Under Armour by limiting the growth of Steph Curry’s star power. Before their 2016 Finals loss and the subsequent acquisition of Durant, that team was already well on its way to becoming a dynasty and Curry was rapidly approaching LeBron as the game’s biggest star. Now, it’s widely believed that Durant is their best player. It was a nice bonus for Nike that the Durant move created a high probability that at least 2 of its 3 top sneaker salesmen (LeBron, KD, Kyrie) would be starring in the Finals for the foreseeable future.

ETA: I also think that whenever the Warriors finally break up, Curry and Thompson will stay there and one or both of the Nike guys (KD and Draymond) will leave. We’re at least another year — and probably two years — from the start of that happening, however.

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by RSmith » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:12 am

mister d wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:57 pm
Not quite a conspiracy theory, but I 100% believe Tom Glavine’s career is a complete sham. Never happens in the PitchF/X era.
I recall that all of Atlanta's Big Three routinely got very generous calls on (or a couple inches off) the outside corner...

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by A_B » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:02 am

Joe K wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:52 am
Another NBA conspiracy that I do believe is that Durant joining the Warriors was, at least in large part, a Nike plot to undermine Under Armour by limiting the growth of Steph Curry’s star power. Before their 2016 Finals loss and the subsequent acquisition of Durant, that team was already well on its way to becoming a dynasty and Curry was rapidly approaching LeBron as the game’s biggest star. Now, it’s widely believed that Durant is their best player. It was a nice bonus for Nike that the Durant move created a high probability that at least 2 of its 3 top sneaker salesmen (LeBron, KD, Kyrie) would be starring in the Finals for the foreseeable future.

ETA: I also think that whenever the Warriors finally break up, Curry and Thompson will stay there and one or both of the Nike guys (KD and Draymond) will leave. We’re at least another year — and probably two years — from the start of that happening, however.
I think Klay may want to go be the main man somewhere. Draymond has it too perfect to leave imo.
certainly expansive during tactical areas and specific zones

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by bfj » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:28 am

The Orioles did not cause their lights to go out to keep Cal’s streak alive. He was not out beating up Kevin Costner for fucking his wife.
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by mister d » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:35 am

RSmith wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:12 am
I recall that all of Atlanta's Big Three routinely got very generous calls on (or a couple inches off) the outside corner...
They all did, but Smoltz had elite stuff and Maddux was the best command pitcher of like the last half century. They would have been great regardless. Glavine was David Wells with 33% more strike zone.
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by RSmith » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:38 am

mister d wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:35 am
RSmith wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:12 am
I recall that all of Atlanta's Big Three routinely got very generous calls on (or a couple inches off) the outside corner...
They all did, but Smoltz had elite stuff and Maddux was the best command pitcher of like the last half century. They would have been great regardless. Glavine was David Wells with 33% more strike zone.
I was always partial to Boomer, both with the Jays and Yanks...

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by degenerasian » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:58 am

mister d wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:35 am
RSmith wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:12 am
I recall that all of Atlanta's Big Three routinely got very generous calls on (or a couple inches off) the outside corner...
They all did, but Smoltz had elite stuff and Maddux was the best command pitcher of like the last half century. They would have been great regardless. Glavine was David Wells with 33% more strike zone.
Did they call the correct strike zone in the playoffs because Glavine was terrible.
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Joe K » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:24 am

degenerasian wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:58 am
mister d wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:35 am
RSmith wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:12 am
I recall that all of Atlanta's Big Three routinely got very generous calls on (or a couple inches off) the outside corner...
They all did, but Smoltz had elite stuff and Maddux was the best command pitcher of like the last half century. They would have been great regardless. Glavine was David Wells with 33% more strike zone.
Did they call the correct strike zone in the playoffs because Glavine was terrible.
While Glavine had a handful of bad outings he certainly wasn’t terrible in the playoffs. Although he had a losing career record in the postseason, his playoff ERA was slightly better than his regular season ERA. Maddox also had bad postseason luck from a W-L perspective, as compared to his ERA. He also had a losing record in the playoffs despite having an ERA which, although worse than his regular season ERA, was still in the low 3s.

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by RSmith » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:28 am

Joe K wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:24 am
While Glavine had a handful of bad outings he certainly wasn’t terrible in the playoffs. Although he had a losing career record in the postseason, his playoff ERA was slightly better than his regular season ERA. Maddox also had bad postseason luck from a W-L perspective, as compared to his ERA. He also had a losing record in the playoffs despite having an ERA which, although worse than his regular season ERA, was still in the low 3s.
Leaving aside sample size issues, this is, I believe, example #100,236,378,556 of why pitching "wins" are an incredibly useless stat. :)

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by sancarlos » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:11 am

bfj wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:28 am
He was not out beating up Kevin Costner for fucking his wife.
I know that is probably not true. But, I'd like to believe it is true.
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Gunpowder » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:43 am

Rex wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:57 pm
I don't think we have a thread about this. What is the generally accepted sports legend/story that you don't believe?

For me, I don't think people were hitting 500 foot home runs back in the day. The longest Statcast measured home run is Giancarlo Stanton at 504 feet in Colorado in 2016:

https://www.mlb.com/news/longest-home-r ... -271050576

If it takes a modern manchild and high altitude to produce a 500 foot home run, then it can't be something that happened very often in the past, if at all. Aaron Judge is twice the size as people from 1920 and I don't think he's broken 500 feet yet. So all those Mickey Mantle stories, I don't believe them. Josh Gibson hitting a ball out of Yankee Stadium, I don't believe that happened. Babe Ruth hitting a tree over 500 feet away in Atlanta? I have visited that tree, I do not think someone could hit a baseball from the parking spot where home plate stood to that tree. With no video evidence to confirm or deny these stories, I think people are making this up.

What say you?

This is a good one and I've always assumed the same. I know pitching was a lot easier to hit back when they threw like 2 pitches and power pitchers were throwing like high 80s, but the players were smaller and the pitches being slower probably also hurts distance.

It's pretty clear when you look at the distances before Hit Tracker type tech (like Galarraga's "540 ft" HR in Miami that was about 440 ft in reality) and how much they shrank after accurately measured. People used to just assume that the ball traveled as a perfectly symmetrical parabola.
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Gunpowder » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:52 am

brian wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:14 pm
I absolutely believe the NHL rigged that Crosby lottery. That Pittsburgh franchise was going to have to move if they didn’t get him.
Yeah I have no idea either way but it definitely sounds plausible.
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Gunpowder » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:53 am

RSmith wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:23 pm
mister d wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:53 pm
Fuck, RSmith stole mine.
Nice! Which? :)

(he's joking about the Springboks)
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by RSmith » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:55 am

Gunpowder wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:53 am
RSmith wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:23 pm
mister d wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:53 pm
Fuck, RSmith stole mine.
Nice! Which? :)

(he's joking about the Springboks)
Ah! I have a tendency to miss jokes sometimes. ;-)

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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by Gunpowder » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:56 am

The Jeff Alm one is a good one. I'll leave that one for Giff to post as I don't remember it well enough.
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by DaveInSeattle » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:37 pm

If we're talking NBA conspiracies, I'll always believe that Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals in 1993 between the Sonics and Suns was pretty damn sketchy. The League wanted to get Barkley into the finals against Jordan and the Bulls...but here are the upstart Sonics, with a very young Kemp and Payton.

So what happens? Game 7...the Suns get 64(!!!) free throws, and win by 13 points.

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RSmith
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Re: Sports (or other) legends you don't believe/sports conspiracy theories

Post by RSmith » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:41 pm

That's the problem with basketball, I suppose. There's *so* much judgement involved in each call, that if the officials have a mind to, they can pretty seriously slant the outcome without it being blatantly obvious to an average fan.

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