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Why Don't Sweet-Shooting Point Guards Believe Science?

Steph Curry joined a growing group of conspiracy theorist NBA floor generals when he questioned whether we landed on the moon.

by Corbin Smith
Dec 11 2018, 4:23pm

Photos by John G. Mabanglo and Martrial Trezzini/EPA-EFE

Sometime around the beginning of the last century, scientists discovered that at the smallest levels of existence, the vibrations of molecules and electrons and whatnot that compose the atoms which in turn compose the matter we see and touch and are made of, were, more or less, ruled by weighted probabilities. The whole world, solid to your eyes, is actually a mass of unceasing chaos, humming along in ways we can’t fully measure or understand.

After we discovered this, humanity lost its fucking mind. World War II, existentialism, the breakdown of narrative. With that, individuals were let loose from the tether of tradition and religion and order and sent adrift, compelled to openly question whether or not ANYTHING can be true, or if we are living in a series of projections and simulations, drifting around in a pile of not-truth, left to sort it out and maybe create something meaningful in a world that may or may not be meaningful itself.

No one, it seems, is more susceptible to the sense of truth coming apart at the seams than sweet shooting NBA point guards. Yesterday, in an episode of Vince Carter and Kent Bazemore’s podcast over at The Ringer, itself an object of the chaos of modern life, Curry said that people don't really know what dinosaurs sound like, and then he dropped the big one:

He doesn’t believe we went to the moon.

Stanley Kubrick is mentioned.

Steph is, of course, not the first high volume three point shooting guard to express support of, let's call them "Fringe Beliefs." Kyrie Irving has, famously, expressed some suspicion about whether or not the Earth is round. Eventually, The Man got to him and he apologized, but the real truth was laid bare: he hasn’t seen the Earth from space, so who was he to say?

Even the world’s first volume three-point shooting point guard talent is susceptible to conspiratorial thinking. In a 2017 interview with Outside the Lines Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf expressed his believe that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job, a staged act designed to give cover for the United States desire for regime change in Iraq.

Why are dudes who can pull up off the dribble from behind the line prone to Questioning The Truth like this? It makes sense, I think. Countless hours alone in the gym, the ball in your hand, obsessing over every imaginable micro movement in your motion, attempting to see every angle on the floor, perhaps even the ones that aren't there. Lifting weights, running on elliptical, eliminating every imaginable flaw from your upper body in motion, it gives the mind space to wander, fertilizing the soil and allowing seeds to take root and blossom into flowers of conspiracy and suspicion.

And then, once they leave that environment, they get to the actual games themselves, which is a whole other exercise in mindfuckery. The nature of shooting is so random, so subject to the whims of fate and chance. You let loose a ball from some absurd distance, a round object colliding with another round object, going in or plunking out on for no reason whatsoever, all those hours in the gym, shooting and shooting and shooting and crafting the perfect arm-motion, all while you sit and stew in your own brain, and the ball just DOESN’T GO IN more often than it does. The concept of "truth", in and of itself, must seem completely asinine when that is the reality of your world night after night. You very well might start to question everything. How can ANYTHING be true if a bricked open jumper that I watched go in 500 times earlier in the day is true?

A pure shooter, I suspect, can handle this. Klay Thompson doesn’t seem like a dude who believes anything too wild. But the point guard has another source of stress that clearly puts the feather on the anvil and breaks the stick of the mind: teammates. These dudes’ NBA productivity is or was determined by two things: if the threes go down and if your horrible, horrible teammates fuck up or not. Klay can let that shit slip off his back, but for the point guard, every teammate's missed shot is an assist down the drain.

Big men, with these stone-ass hands, botching passes that should be perfect dunks. Wings, taking the opportunity of erasing a perfect pass from you to dribble like an asshole and post up in the lane. It must give you a dim view of humanity somewhere deep inside. And, sure, you try to cover it up—but in quiet moments, sitting on the couch, shooting in empty gyms, as your eyes close and you slip off into dreamland, you must—MUST—feel like the world is set against you. It destroys your faith in humanity, in the truths they are telling you. The mind can set itself to different conclusions quite easily.

So can anything free these men from the prison of conspiratorial thinking, or is their lot in life to be afflicted with this artificial wokeness? Are they destined to live out their own Twilight Zone episode where gradually they realize, to their horror, they were the fake moon landing video all along?

Were their talents, given to them from birth and honed from a life of practice, their gift and their curse, the key to a life in the mental spaces most of us would dare not tread?

I have given you the evidence.

Decide for yourself.