LeBron James' Mom, Delonte West, and the 20 Craziest Rumors in Sports
There's a rumor floating around that the Cavaliers' downfall in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Celtics was fueled by a pint-sized point guard getting into epic trouble with The King.
TerezOwens.com is alleging they have a source that knows that Delonte West was having an affair with LeBron James' mom and that King James found out about the tryst moments before Game Four of the series.
There's just enough corroborating evidence to make this borderline plausible.
The Internet has certainly fueled these kind of wildfire whispers, but crazy rumors have been floating around sports long before the dot coms became the norm.
Here's a look at some of the craziest rumors in sports history.
Ricky Being Ricky ... With Linda Cohn?
We all know the wacky tabacky can play some tricks on the brain.
Could it actually trip you enough to sleep with the manly, ever-annoying ESPN anchor?
Apparently, Ricky Williams finds Linda to be doable.
The story goes that during a wild post-ESPYs party years ago, Cohn put out a call at the club for any man willing to join her for some midnight magic.
Williams allegedly stepped up to the line of scrimmage.
Man, West Coast people, I hope you've had your breakfast.
David Stern and the Frozen Envelope
How did the whole ping pong ball thing come from in the NBA draft lottery?
Many experts trace it to the 1985 draft, where a then-devil-in-training David Stern reportedly put the fix in for the Knicks to draft Patrick Ewing and save one of the league's signature franchises.
The idea is that the Knicks envelope was placed in the freezer, thereby making it easier to pick out the Knicks logo.
There's tons of issues here. The accountant dude hit one envelope on the side of the barrel putting it in. Conspiracy theorists say that was the Knicks' envelope and it was creased to easily pick it out.
Those same crazies probably think the ball was electrically charged not to go in the rim during Ewing's infamous finger roll.
All kidding aside, the video only supports the wackadoos.
Michael Jordan's First Retirement Was a Gambling Ban
Did you ever really believe that Michael Jordan was that done with basketball that he would want to play baseball?
Even before Jordan took his first at-bat for the Birmingham Barons, this rumor was already out there.
Stern was allegedly ready to suspend Jordan for a season for his gambling habits. To save face—Jordan for his legacy and Stern for the PR image of the league—the two got with Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and concocted the retirement and the baseball thing.
Jordan's Mendoza-line batting effort did nothing to dissuade us.
Kevin Mitchell: Cat Killer
There's plenty of stories out there about the former slugger being a little short of a full deck.
Dwight Gooden took the rumors to a new level in his 1999 autobiography, "Heat," Doc relays a story where he witnessed Mitchell cut off his girlfriend's cat's head.
Gooden and a memorabilia dealer showed up at Mitchell's house to talk about a deal and Mitchell quickly got agitated, thinking the two were being tailed by cops.
He pulled a pulled a knife, told the two to sit down and when Gooden and the dealer turned to leave, he picked up his girlfriend's cat and beheaded it with one clean cut. The three apparently sat silent starting down each other for the next two hours before Mitchell turned lucid again.
Mitchell denied the story to author Jeff Pearlman a decade later. He said he confronted Gooden, who denied he'd ever said anything like that. Mitchell took Gooden's word for it, even though it was in print.
Fran Tarkenton's Dad Died Thanks to Another Vikings Letdown
The Hail Mary in the 1975 NFC Championship Game was rumored to be too much for Fran Tarkenton's dad to bare.
Moments after suffering yet another debilitating loss for the Vikings franchise, Tarkenton learned that his dad had suffered a heart attack while watching the game with Tarkenton's two brothers in Savannah, Ga.
Fans heard the heartbreaking story and used it to their advantage, spreading the word that Roger Staubach's Hail Mary did in dear ol' dad.
Medical records proved that the elder Tarkenton actually passed away during the third quarter.
Those same long-suffering Vikes fans probably tried a variation of the story after Favre's pick against the Saints. Until they realized Mr. Favre was already part of the Brett lore after passing before a Monday Night Football game.
Arnold Palmer's Good Luck Charms
Back before every funny "Tonight Show" clip was up on YouTube instantly, there was a rumor about Arnold Palmer and a kinky ritual with his wife before tournaments.
Palmer was allegedly asked by "Tonight Show" host if he has any pre-game rituals, to which Palmer said his wife kisses his balls.
Carson allegedly replied, "That must really flutter your putter."
Yet no one had the video tape. Jay Leno asked Palmer about the story in 1992.
"No, Johnny asked me if my wife kissed my balls before I played. And I said, 'I don't even go to bed without pajamas.'"
Eric Lindros Lost a Bar Fight to a Figure Skater
No one knows the origins of this one, yet it became the water cooler topic of 1996.
Lindros allegedly got beaten to a pulp by figure skater Elvis Stojko.
The location of the fight changed through the game of "Telephone" but what led to the fight was never clear. Stojko was a karate expert, which led an iota of credibility to the rumor.
The two have denied the claim for years. Lindros and Stojko have actually become friends.
Jordan, Mickelson's Wife and a Stripper Baby
This one's much more recent.
The idea here is that Phil Mickelson's wife learned that Lefty had fathered a bastard with an Ohio stripper in the mid-2000s.
So Amy retaliated by sleeping with...yes, insert Mad Lib here...Michael Jordan.
The rumors died off once the Mickelsons went public's with Amy's breast cancer battle.
Just give it time. Once she's healthy, this one will be back in bloom.
Mike Piazza's Playing For the Other Team
There's been rumors of homosexuality in the baseball clubhouse for years. Few have ever admitted it, and the highest-profile rumor ever actually caused a very public denial.
Mike Piazza was the toast of New York back in the early 2000s. Yet no one really saw him hitting the town with the ladies like Derek Jeter.
That fueled a Piazza-is-gay storyline that became so heated that Piazza actually held a May 2002 press conference to say he was wicked heterosexual.
Then he went out and married a smokin' hottie a la Jeff Garcia to squelch the thing for good.
Ronaldo's Dating Resume Is ... Um, Diverse
One of the world's most active bachelors apparently found himself in a "Crying Game" moment in 2008.
Ronaldo got frisky with and invited a "girl" named Luisa to his motel room.
Once he saw the trannies' junk, he freaked out and offered $600 to make the prostitute go away.
Motel staff said the trannie wanted more to the tune of $30,000 to stay quiet with the media, but Ronaldo wouldn't pay.
Motel officials told police the hooker hit the streets yelling, "The Phenomenon didn't want to pay."
This one appears to be true, though Ronaldo has never gone the self-deprecating route to confirm it.
Mike Brey and the Notre Dame Reporter
Rumors flooded Notre Dame fan sites last month that Irish hoops coach Mike Brey was set to resign and that his marriage was in shambles.
The sources was reportedly local hottie sports anchor Erin Logan, who herself was let go by her station.
Coincidence? Representatives for Brey, Logan and the university have refused comment.
Toni Braxton Broke Up the Mavs
Unchain our Mavs, Toni.
Back in the days when the Dallas Mavericks were just beginning to transform from joke to perennial bridesmaid, legendary WAG and R&B superstar Toni Braxton was allegedly the root of an epic love triangle.
Braxton reportedly had a thing for Jason Kidd, so much so that she went on a road trip with the team.
Gossip reporters ran an item during the trip that Braxton went to the team hotel looking for Kidd, but was spotted hours later leaving with teammate Jimmy Jackson.
Soon after, Kidd started begging for a trade. Both were shipped out after the season.
The Big East's Big Baby Brouhaha
Villanova alumni were so devastated by the team's early NCAA exit this year that a baby daddy rumor soon flooded the Interwebs.
The source of the shoddy play by the team could allegedly be traced to Corey Fisher allegedly impregnating teammate Scottie Reynolds' girlfriend.
The rumor picked up steam thanks to the duo's benching at the beginning of the Robert Morris first round game.
The 'Nova PR staff denied the story. Soon, those with a memory thought it sounded eerily familiar to another Big East hoax.
The same kind of story spread quick after Syracuse's rough ending in 2001-02, just with different names.
Delonte, LeBron and the Cougar Mom
The details here add up.
James' mom has been alleged to be a bit promiscuous.
West is a loose cannon with a penchant for gunplay.
Plus, just look at the disinterested way King James played after Game Three.
We're not saying. We're just sayin'.
Cal, Costner and the Power Outage
This is one of my all-time favorites.
The Iron Man's streak apparently almost ended in 1997 when he found the "Field of Dreams" star in bed with his wife.
Costner and Ripken had become friendly...allegedly a little too friendly. The rumor went that the Orioles actually cooked up a power outage at Camden Yards to cancel the game when Ripken was in police custody for kicking Costner's arse.
Soon after, the rumor mill had the Ripkens getting divorced and Cal staying on the couch of a teammate.
The Ripkens are still happily married and Costner has denied the rumor, saying he's only met Mrs. Ripken twice—and neither time was in a bed.
Pete Carroll and the Love Shack
This one wasn't even fueled by the Web. Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis lit this fire.
He made references to how the media spotlight was so crazy in South Bend, but that Carroll could get away with a not-so-holy relationship with a USC co-ed and we hear nothing.
Carroll denies the rumor vehemently. Weis apologized for spreading bunk. Months later, Carroll bolted for the NFL.
Joe Horn and Willie Roaf's Wife
New Orleans is a gossipy kind of town, so it was no surprise to hear this one at the end of the 2000 season.
Horn had apparently gotten Willie Roaf's wife preggers.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported the rumor spread so far that 49ers coach Steve Mariucci actually asked Saints coach Jim Haslett about it during a post-game handshake.
A few months later, Roaf announced he was the baby daddy. Horn went Rickey Henderson with his denial.
"We make mistakes sometimes," Horn told ESPN, "but that is one mistake Joe Horn did not make. I did not sleep with Willie Roaf's wife."
Tiger's on the Juice
The Tiger Woods steroid rumors are so widespread that his former swing coach Hank Haney addressed them last weekend, saying he had never seen anything improper during Woods' dealings with a reported steroids-dealing doctor.
Whatever, Hank. The dude is ripped. He went from a scrawny thing to a Brutus Beefcake.
If he's such a course rat, how did he have all that time to spend in the weight room?
Bobby Riggs Threw the Battle of the Sexes
The post-match buzz in the infamous "Battle of the Sexes" in 1973 had Riggs throwing the match.
The videotape didn't help Riggs' case. It showed him making lame efforts to return King shots and barely jogging to get to balls near the net.
Riggs never officially said he threw the match, but he never disputed what we all saw on TV either.
The rumors say he put enough money on King to win to set himself and his family up for life.
The bigger truth is that Riggs was an out-of-shape 55-year-old playing an in-her-prime star.
Wilt and the 20,000 Women
The number has picked up zeroes through the years. By now, when we talk about Wilt Chamberlain, we say he slept with 100,000 women.
Chamberlain was always very open about his womanizing. He's put the number more around 10,000 to 20,000.
That's one woman a day every day for 54 years if we take the high-end number.
Wilt, you're a playa. No doubting you're a man whore. But with each passing year after you've died, the legend grows bigger and bigger.