bold predictions

An inescapable (but intensely annoying) part of NBA coverage is the burning need many media outlets have to foretell...THE FUTURE. Every season, the world's leading guess-ologists fearlessly tell us who's going to be named MVP, which team is going to win the most games, who's going to the NBA Finals, etc. And these amazing hypotheses usually end up being only slightly less accurate than your average weather forecast. Where's Miss Cleo when you need her?

In that vein, Basketbawful reader Spencer nominated this 1999 article -- Phil Taylor's The Starting Over 5 -- for, in retrospect, making the worst prediction ever. In this stirring tribute to getting it wrong, Taylor named the five-man unit that was going to win back fans during the brutal post-Jordan/post-lockout era: Jayson Williams, Stephon Marbury, Keith Van Horn, Bo Outlaw and Ray Allen.

Of this Fab Five, Taylor said: "Together they embody all the qualities that can make the NBA likable again: charisma, passion, lightheartedness, humility, attitude, athleticism and, yes, an appeal to desirable demographic groups. If you were choosing an All-Star team, this would not be the starting five, but for a league looking for a new beginning, these players are perfect."

So, uh, how'd that turn out? Williams killed his limo driver and tried to cover it up. Marbury eschewed the "humility" Taylor spoke of to become the biggest locker room cancer in league history. Van Horn failed to live up to his Great White Hope hype and the final act of his career was having his corpse used as an add-on in the trade that sent Jason Kidd to Dallas. Outlaw somehow hung on to play 914 games in The Association, averaging a very quiet 5.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game (although he did once notch a triple-double, and when asked about it he famously replied: "Triple-Double? What’s that, some kind of hamburger?") As for Allen, sure, he's been part of this Celtics' rejuvenation, but I'd be willing to bet Larry Bird's three championship rings that there isn't an NBA fan alive who would claim that Ray kept them from giving up on the league. (Unless Ray calls them "mom and dad.")

Can you think of any other predictions that, in retrospect, were that far off the mark? Leave your nomination(s) in the comments section and I'll assemble a top ten list.

Update! More from Wild Yams: Some additions to that Fab Five: Van Horn ended his career by quitting for no reason, deciding to just stop playing in the middle of a contract despite being in the "prime" of his career and being completely healthy. While some might say it's honorable to want to spend time with your family rather than play basketball, it's not exactly helping the NBA and the perception that NBA players are spoiled or whiny. After all, most people can't relate to someone giving up $5 million for one season (not to mention whatever he would have made in years after that) simply because the prospect of being a guy who mostly rides the bench seemed like too much work. Lord knows there's plenty of great family men who have suffered through the horrors of being an NBA player and survived to talk about it.

Ray Allen became the first player to publicly say that there may be an NBA conspiracy and that he felt his Bucks team was eliminated from the playoffs because the league didn't want such a small market team on TV in the playoffs. Whether this was true or not is for you to decide, but doing so didn't exactly help "make the NBA likable again" in the wake of Jordan's retirement.

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16 Comments:
Anonymous Xiang said...
Can't think of any from the top of my head....
Lakers in 4,pistons don't score?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Some additions to that Fab Five:

Van Horn ended his career by quitting for no reason, deciding to just stop playing in the middle of a contract despite being in the "prime" of his career and being completely healthy. While some might say it's honorable to want to spend time with your family rather than play basketball, it's not exactly helping the NBA and the perception that NBA players are spoiled or whiny. After all, most people can't relate to someone giving up $5 million for one season (not to mention whatever he would have made in years after that) simply because the prospect of being a guy who mostly rides the bench seemed like too much work. Lord knows there's plenty of great family men who have suffered through the horrors of being an NBA player and survived to talk about it.

Ray Allen became the first player to publicly say that there may be an NBA conspiracy and that he felt his Bucks team was eliminated from the playoffs because the league didn't want such a small market team on TV in the playoffs. Whether this was true or not is for you to decide, but doing so didn't exactly help "make the NBA likable again" in the wake of Jordan's retirement.

Anonymous The Barkeep said...
http://espn.go.com/page2/s/rosen/030227.html

"A note to long-suffering Cavaliers' fans: Don't get caught in the LeBron James pipe dream. The best King James can ever be is an average NBA player." -- Charley Rosen

I think Basketbawful linked to this article months ago.

Blogger Trev said...
http://www.advancedathletics.com/files/images/clients/kerrykittles_slam.jpg

Unfortunately I lost all of my slam issues in Hurricane Rita so I can't give you the specifics on this story only that it's even funnier because about two or three years before this they said pretty much the same exact thing about the Sam Cassall, Kendal Gill, Kittles, Van Horn, and Jayson Williams version of the Nets.

When searching for the Nets story above I came across this cover.

http://slamonline.com/online/wp-content/uploads/2006/08/29wnba.jpg

Whoops.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Basketball related: "We think that's an excellent situation for him and for us." - June 2003, Joe Dumars, Detroit Pistons President.

Angry Suns fan: "The Suns have officially completed their quest for a backup point guard, finally signing second-round draft pick Goran Dragic to a three-year contract" - 22-Sept-2008

"I like the way he has developed, not only as a player but as a person." 2000-09-01, Eric Lucey, The Collegiate Times (Virginia Tech), on Michael Vick.

And of course, the worst prophecy in the history of the world: "Today I will be once more the prophet. If the international Jewish financiers outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the bolsheviszation of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!" - 30 January 1939 "Prophecy Speech", Hitler. Just getting the obligatory Godwin's Law out of the way.

Blogger Trev said...
Forgot about this one from Bill Simmons:


"One more thing: Years from now, we will remember "Yao Ming over Jay Williams" the same way we remember "Bowie over Jordan," "Traylor for Nowitzki," "Carroll for McHale and Parish," "Aguirre over Thomas" and every other great draft day blunder in NBA history. I'm not just predicting it, I'm guaranteeing it."

http://proxy.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/020627

Blogger chris said...
LOL:

http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1064737/index.htm

Mychal Thompson, Portland Trail Blazer forward, on the team's injured center, Sam Bowie: "He's our Manute. Without him, we're minute."

I think also your "Odenize" article may honestly qualify for this...

Blogger chris said...
Another gem from the SI vault:

http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1138269/index.htm

"As the season winds down, some coaches should worry about job security

ON THE BUBBLE- Rick Adelman, Trail Blazers; Bob Hill, Pacers; Randy Pfund (right), Lakers; Jerry Sloan, Jazz"

Anonymous geert said...
Didn't Charles Barkley say that Yao would never score 20 in a game or something? And then happended the thing with the donkey.

Blogger Trev said...
Chad Ford about every foreign big man. Ever.

Blogger Ry said...
AnacondaHL: Dude, was that really necessary? [Opens valium bottle with trembling hands.] Signed, Ry, Detroit.

Anonymous darkcoupon said...
Before this season, Hollinger "predicted" that Utah would be #1 in the West.

I'm a Jazz fan and we tend to be known for our extreme optimism, but even before injuries I had a hard time going along with that one.

Anonymous Axel Foley said...
Wasnt Larry Bird the first to say that there was a NBA conspiracy when he said that Stern wanted a game 7 to raise more cash for the NBA. Then Sterns reps said that Larry's statements were ridiculous because everyone was looking forward to a game 7. That has to be the worst defense against a conspiracy theory.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
I'm pretty sure Kenny Smith predicted Houston would win the West this year on "Inside the NBA"

MMM-hmmm, rriiiggghhht

Blogger taleweaver said...
When Derrick Coleman and Kenny Anderson were teamed up there was an NBA Action segment which touted them as the next "Stockton Malone"

Anonymous Anonymous said...
ok i have a good one.

a few weeks before the 2006-2007 season, Stephen a. smith boldy predicted the Denver "Thugets" would represent the western conference in the NBA Finals "if kenyon martin is healthy."


http://blogs.denverpost.com/nuggets/2007/10/30/stephen-a-of-espn-thinks-highly-of-nuggets/

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