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The Seven Craziest Conspiracy Theories in Sports

by davidbreitman   November 02, 2010 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 1,983

Writing an article about conspiracy theories is basically just a license to slander. I'm like the James Bond of unethical journalism in this piece because I found seven urban sports legends that appeal to the cynic in all of us. Take them as fact, conjecture or a basic water cooler talk. But whatever you do, don't tell Michael Jordan you know the real reason he quit basketball.

Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

7. Phil Mickelson Signed with Callaway Golf Because they Agreed to Clear his Gambling Debts

In 2004, fresh off his first win at the Masters, Phil Mickelson elected to abandon his Titlest golf clubs and start using Callaways. The decision seemed odd and proved ultimately dreadful. In his first two rounds with the new hardware Mickelson played the worst golf of his career and subsequently struggled over the next few tournaments.

Nobody knew why “lefty” made the switch, but conspiracy theorists did offer some opinions.

The Sports Business Journal reported that

The caddie cliques [notes] that Mickelson switched from Titleist to Callaway last September “because he has run up considerable gambling debt [and Callaway agreed to pay them off].” But Callaway officials “are irate about the rumor and yesterday explained that … they had an intensive background check done on Mickelson’s gambling history.” A Callaway source: “It came back completely clean”

Is it customary to run the gambling history of new employees? Seems like there’s a little fire coming from the smoke Callaway is blowing up our asses.

It’s also worth noting that one year at the Las Vegas open Mickelson withdrew from play because of an illness he contracted the Friday night of the tournament. Maybe it’s just semantics, but I thought the preferred term was “addiction.”

6. The Real Reason Chris Pronger Demanded a Trade from Edmonton

Photo: Dave Sandford/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Following an inexplicable run to the Stanley Cup finals, Chris Pronger – the NHL’s Aryan answer to unwanted genital warts – demanded a trade from the Edmonton Oilers. At the time, Pronger claimed that his wife was behind the move as she was tired of living in a city whose glamorous attractions included an over-sized shopping mall and a street named after Esa Tikkanen

In actuality – according to shady, unnamed sources – this was a half truth. Although Pronger’s wife did demand the trade, it was reportedly because her loving and occasionally faithful husband knocked up an ambitious reporter looking to sleep her way to the top of the Edmonton journalism community. It would be somewhat uncouth to besmirch the young woman’s reputation, but if you have some spare time try Googling the phrase “Christie Chorley pregnant” and see what comes up.


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