I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I don't believe that 9/11 was faked by the government. I don't believe that the moon landing was Hollywood produced. I don't believe in Bigfoot, Nessie, or Shaquille O'Neal's rap career.
All of these things are lore, either completely fabricated or vastly embellished by word of mouth. Seventy-five percent of anything people tell you, that you don't already know, is wrong in some way, shape, or form. Unless you're Vinny Gambino, in which case, it's a higher percentage.
There are, however, a few widely-discussed conspiracies that I believe in. One, Tupac isn't dead. That one, I believe because I want to. It is something completely insane that I can willingly convince myself of without any real effort, and it sure as hell makes believing in God a lot easier if you think the former.
I guess I shouldn't say hell in the same sentence as God, should I? But, I digress.
Speaking of God, there is one other conspiracy that I believe in, and it involves a man playing God. That man is David Stern, and the conspiracy is that the NBA Draft Lottery is fixed and a fraud.
"Who's gonna win the lottery? I dunno!"
There is plenty of evidence to support my claim (at least in my mind). Then again, if you see my first entry on this page, you'll see that I'm wrong about some things.
Now, I am a believer in David Stern. I hated the dress code when he instituted it, because I was a kid and wanted to see throwbacks. Now, as I am in my twenties and have learned that girls don't give a darn about your Wes Unseld throwback, I enjoy that these young men (sometimes younger than I) are forced to dress like CEOs, or business casual hipsters. Their choice.
I also think that Stern is completely correct on the heightening of the age limit.
But if there's one thing that David Stern loves, it's a good storyline. He loved the attention of "the Decision" and the team of superstars that resulted. Storylines equal attention, attention equals money. It's that simple.
Think of the storylines of NBA Draft Lotteries passed:
1985 - The first year of the lottery (and most prone to rigging without any suspicion), a struggling, top market team; the New York Knicks, win one of the biggest draft prizes ever in Georgetown Center, and now hall-of-famer, Patrick Ewing. There's your storyline. Big player, big market. The Knicks were the third-worst team in the league at the time, and when New York gets paid, Stern gets paid. Done deal.
"1, 2, 3, say 'jackpot'!"
1992/1993 - The Orlando Magic are a hot new expansion team right near Disney World, and are a big attraction waiting to happen. If they can win. The biggest prize in the draft since Ewing is the 7'1", athletic freak from LSU, Shaquille O'Neal. Rich DeVos purchased the team just prior, and he's gotta win (see Part II for another ownership conspiracy). Not only does DeVos get his guy in O'Neal, he also gets the 1993 lottery, takes Chris Webber, and flips him for a better guard pairing in Penny Hardaway of Memphis. Shaq & Penny equals storyline. Sold. (That'll be punny in Part II)
1999 - Jordan leaves. Bulls win the lottery. Big market, big history, big story.
2000 - Wentworth, Gale, and Chambers buy the Nets in 1998. Ownership change, big market, big story. (I realize that ownership changes usually occur when the team is losing, hence losing money and having a better chance to win the lottery, not in that order.)
2003 - The greatest amateur player in the history of basketball, or at least the most hyped, is LeBron James, a high schooler from Ohio. The Cavaliers are marred in mediocrity rivaling many teams in many sports. They need their savior. They need their chosen one. LeBron going anywhere would have been a big story. LeBron in his hometown? THAT is a story.
"Thanks, Stern! Now I can sell this half-wit organization!"
2008 - See above, then consider that the Bulls are on the cusp of recovering from their savior leaving, now a decade later. Big market. They're a long-shot (a 1.7% longshot), but it's unprecedented. Go for it, says Stern. Derrick Rose goes back home.
2010 - Leonsis bails the Wiz out of debt. League makes money that way. Give 'em John Wall. Thanks, Ted.
2011 - Goodbye LeBron, hello Kyrie. "But use the Clippers' pick, so it's less obvious."
Now, there are many reasons as to why all of this reasoning is coincidence. As is a good controversy/conspiracy. But it's definitely something worth considering.
"Commissioner Stern said to look for real estate in..."
I'll produce my odds on favorites to win the rigged 2012 NBA Draft Lottery before the official thing kicks off Wednesday, May 30th. Here's a hint: I'm guessing it's going to be won by a team whose city has been in many storylines in the last few years and just had an owner change. Stay tuned.