As the NBA lockout looms like that weird old guy in Braveheart telling Mel Gibson to ask for mercy, there is even more bad news today to break the NBA fans’ spirits. It is being reported by multiple sources that the NBA is investigating a claim that Dirk Nowitzki tested positive for performance enhancing drugs prior to and during the 2011 NBA Playoffs.
The report, given by anonymous league sources, details at least three positive tests in which Dirk was found to have injected ice into his veins. If these claims are true, this revelation would certainly be damning on the German All-Star and Finals MVP who finally accomplished his career goal of winning an NBA title earlier this month. The report comes at a time in which Dirk is perhaps the most popular player in the league (especially among Heat haters).
When reached for comment, NBA Executive Vice President Stu Jackson initially said, “No comment.” But when pressed for more, he said, “Well, it would make sense.” He hesitated and then continued, “How many times did you hear the announcers in the playoffs say ‘he’s got ice in his veins’? Like over a dozen times, right? That’s not natural.”
According to one source who has seen the report, Dirk apparently injected himself with the ice right before tipoff, and even during the timeout between the third and fourth quarters. The report also claims LeBron James may have attempted to steal Dirk’s injection needles, but evidence suggests any attempt was fruitless. While LeBron was found snooping through Nowitzki’s locker after Game 2, he was just cold in the clutch moments of The Finals, not icy (a subtle but important distinction).
This finding is especially crucial since clutch performance—when ice in the veins come most in handy—is considered the most valued measure of player’s greatness in playoff basketball. It is this iciness that legends like Michael Jordan are most applauded for.
The big question for Nowitzki is what this will do to his legacy. Frankly, if Barry Bonds’ ginormous head can dampen his Hall of Fame credentials, shouldn’t the cold temperature of Dirk’s body have an effect on his legacy? It appears time will tell.
However, in many circles around the league, it already has. Shaquille O’Neal posted a rap on his Twitter feed with such lyrics as, “How do you spell cheater in Germany? D-E-R-C. Yeah, you know … Nowitzki!”
When he was informed of the allegations during an interview with 1090 AM in San Diego, Bill Walton went on a impassioned rant. “Simply Unbelievable! I am without words. Championship basketball is about heart, determination, resiliency, and a little thing called integrity. Dirk has lost my respect forever.” When asked whether this will ruin Nowitzki’s legacy, Walton proceeded to ramble on for three and a half hours about his playing days with John Wooden at UCLA, Larry Bird, peyote, and his “love affair with harmony.” The radio station could only broadcast the first eight minutes of the ramble due to programming conflicts.
Kobe Bryant, however, was surprisingly curious in his response. “How did he do it? Like, specifically, what is the procedure in which he got injected with ice? In the buttocks? Where? What kind of ice was it? Tap water ice? Bottled? Sparkling?”
Dirk Nowitzki’s legacy will certainly have an asterisk next to it now (it appears), but of more immediate concern is what this scandal will mean to the league. The NBA lockout is due to begin tomorrow, and it is no surprise that any lockout will hurt the league’s image among fans and anyone else who isn’t filthy rich.
The fact that millionaires are griping about pay when many teams are losing money is not going to set well with fans. Couple that with Dirk’s steroid scandal, the Miami Heat’s general dominance/arrogance, and Lamar Odom’s reality TV show, we may see a huge decline in the popularity of the most important basketball league in the world.
For now, let us hope Dirk is falsely accused. But who are we kidding—Did you see him in the playoffs?!
Bryson Kearl is a standup comedian and editor of this sport blog. For fun he likes to make up fake news stories and write about them.