Lil B's Golden State Warriors Tryout and All-Time Strangest NBA Outsider Stunts
Popular underground rap “artist” Lil B tried out for the Golden State Warriors D-League affiliate last week, and as usual, the inexplicably famous YouTube sensation garnered a whole lot of attention for doing almost nothing.
Here’s a quick primer for the uninitiated: In addition to relentless self-promotion, Lil B’s main interests appear to include shooting basketballs like an eighth-grader, wearing women’s low-cut tank tops and generally not making sense. Proof of all three is available here, in one of his latest videos (earmuffs for the kids probably required).
Following a wholly contrived Twitter feud with Kevin Durant, Lil B apparently decided to put his money where his mouth was by testing his skills against a horde of junior college castoffs and rec-league rejects.
Unfortunately for our tiny hero, Lil B didn’t make the cut for the Warriors’ D-League squad. This is probably because the team did not require the services of a talentless 5’6” rapper who is also a terrible basketball player.
Some dreams aren’t meant to come true.
But Lil B’s foray into the NBA spotlight is just the latest in the lengthy history of the league’s willingness to marry entertainment stunts with basketball. Out of the big three sports leagues, the NBA has always been the most willing to indulge in the slightly ridiculous, so long as it generates headlines.
Major league baseball has tradition, the NFL has violence and the NBA has fun.
Sometimes, that means putting up with some strange stunts, but the league has always been a little less concerned about the gravitas that baseball and football prize so highly.
And just as Lil B isn’t the first Internet fad to seek notoriety in an effort to extend his 15 minutes of fame, his tryout is definitely not the first strange outsider stunt the NBA has allowed.
Let’s check out a few more.
Retired Professor, 76, Also Tried Out for Warriors D-League Team
That’s right, folks. Lil B wasn’t the only sideshow at the Santa Cruz Warriors’ open tryout.
One Don Wiberg, a 76-year-old retired professor also suited up. Unlike Lil B, though, Wiberg made it clear that he was attending the tryout without expectations. Twice the age of each of the other 67 attendees, Wiberg showed up only so he could cross an item off his bucket list.
Based on the video, it looks like Wiberg moves pretty well and isn’t afraid to put his formidable “old-man strength” to use on the block. There’s a pretty good chance he’d be able to take Lil B in the post.
Anthony “Spice” Adams Would Also Like a Shot
Anthony “Spice” Adams’ NFL career may be over, but that just frees up more time for the 310-pound free-agent lineman to pursue his first love: basketball.
Adams, showing a decidedly greater sense of self-awareness than Lil B, has been in the habit of putting together YouTube videos since the NFL stopped calling after last season. In one of his best, the big fella professes his love of the game, showcases his vertical leap (easily between three and four inches) and gives a thorough crossover tutorial.
In Adams, we’ve got another perfect example of the strange stunts the NBA attracts. There’s no NFL or MLB equivalent to this.
Oh, and he could also easily wear out Lil B in the post. As “Spice” would say, “You feel me?”
Master P’s On-Again-Off-Again Relationship with the NBA
Lil B wasn’t the first rapper to take a crack at the NBA. Percy Miller, also known as “Master P,” has also made a couple of efforts to get into the league.
But P, unlike B, actually had some basketball chops. Though the history is hazy, rumors indicate that Miller actually had a scholarship to play at the University of Houston before a knee injury knocked him off track.
At any rate, the founder of No Limit Records actually did play eight games in the CBA and a few more in the International League in the late ‘90s. Then he caught on with the Las Vegas Rattlers and Long Beach Jam—both storied franchises—in 2004.
Supposedly, he actually signed contracts with the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors, but those reports both come from a specious Wikipedia entry. We know for sure that he never actually played in any games for an NBA team in the preseason or Summer League, despite being on the roster for the Sacramento Kings in July of 2005.
So, it turns out the name of Master P’s multi-million dollar record label is a little misleading. There was definitely a limit on his basketball career. Turns out his ceiling was the CBA.
Kobe Bryant: Jackass
Sometimes, it’s not just outsiders trying to break into the NBA that make for strange headlines. Occasionally, it works the other way.
That’s definitely the case with Kobe Bryant, who recruited the world’s most prominent “ridiculous stunt experts” to help him sell some shoes.
Following a successful ad that featured Bryant jumping over a speeding Aston Martin—with the assistance of a green screen and CGI—Kobe stepped up his stunt game and called in the Jackass boys.
Oh, and by the way, a Google search of “Kobe Bryant” and “Jackass” returns over 1.3 million results. Just saying.
Naturally, Chris Pontius and Wee-Man arrived with a kiddie pool full of snakes for Kobe to pretend to leap over—which he does, with the assistance of a few hidden wires.
Kobe’s campaign is a perfect example of just how tuned-in to entertainment the NBA is. Whether it’s allowing “celebrities” to try out for its teams or fostering an environment that promotes the occasionally weird stunt, David Stern’s league definitely understands the value of a headline.
Strangest Draft Picks in NBA History
So, we know that celebrities and NBA players both take advantage of the league’s penchant for headlines. But in a few rare historical cases, the league itself has made news by making some truly off-the-wall draft picks.
It should be mentioned that back in the day, the NBA draft had about a million rounds, so teams tended to take a few fliers after their first few picks. But there were a handful of very obvious headline grabs that are worth mentioning.
- 1984: The Chicago Bulls select Olympian Carl Lewis in the 10th round. Lewis, who never played basketball, didn’t sign. But the Bulls still have his rights, just in case.
- 1980: The Indiana Pacers sign Ann Meyers to a no-cut $50,000 contract. Meyers tried out, but at just 5’9” and 135 pounds, she never had a realistic chance to make the team.
- 1969: The Golden State Warriors draft the first female player in NBA history, Denise Long, in the 13th round. She was still in high school, so the pick was voided by then-commissioner Walter Kennedy.