April Fools Day is prank day for everyone across the country and the sports world is filled with some of the craziest. The NBA is no exception as the league’s players, staff, and even some owners have gotten into the act. Thankfully, we have social media to capture these moments.
Just recently, Anthony Davis pranked his fans into thinking that he had shaved his unibrow. The New Orleans Pelicans center posted a photo on Twitter showing that it was just an April Fool’s Day prank and his signature look remained intact.
That’s just the latest in a number of pranks being pulled on this day of jest. Here are five of the most-hilarious NBA pranks on April Fool’s Day.
5. Tallest NBA Prospect from China Joins Memphis Grizzlies
Imagine receiving reports that you’re getting a 7-foot-10 phenom who could be better than Yao Ming? According to Bleacher Report’s Jesse Dorsey via Three Shades of Blue, the prank was pulled off by Grizzlies managing partner Jason Levien as he revealed the super talented and otherworldly player from China who could be the biggest NBA star in a few years.
“He’s ridiculously tall, athletic and fast. Imagine a taller Dwight Howard with a three-point shot. Face it, the US isn’t producing big men with real skills anymore. Everyone wants to be the next Magic Johnson. He wants to be a better Yao Ming.”
A taller Dwight Howard-like 7-footer who shoots the three ball is too good to be true because it is.
The fictional player’s name is Kāi Wán Xiào, a 22-year-old giant who is supposedly going to be the best Chinese player to grace the NBA hardwood.
Interestingly, they never revealed that it was a prank at all. In order to know that it was an April Fool’s Day prank, you’d have to check the translation of the player’s name.
As Dorsey explained, “Kāi Wán Xiào translated into English is ‘to play a joke’ or ‘to make fun of.’”
Great job by the front office folks on this one!
4. Orlando Magic Fans Get Involved
Back in 2009 when the Orlando Magic were still relevant, one of the pranks they pulled off was during a halftime performance. The prank included a blindfolded fan who was about to attempt a half-court shot for $100,000.
The man shot it but it was way off. Nonetheless, the crowd cheered to pull off the April Fool’s Day prank on the guy. What they weren’t ready for was what happened after.
As he spoke afterward thinking that he had won the money, he revealed that he had just been laid off from work. The crowd was shocked, thinking they had just given the man false hopes.
What they didn’t know was that this man was an actor and that it was the crowd that was being pranked on this one.
What a way to fool the entire arena crowd!
3. Warriors are Nasty
The Golden State Warriors are perhaps some of the closest teams in the league. In 2016, the entire team decided that Festus Ezeli was going to be the object of their April Fool’s Day hoax. The prank was led by Andre Iguodala.
They made it appear to Ezeli that he was cut from the team as he was inside a limo listening to the news on the radio courtesy of the “Murph & Mac” radio show. His Golden State teammates and coaches texted the big man with their good wishes and were simply hoping for the best for him.
Ezeli didn’t know what to think probably because he was shocked and maybe, just maybe, he was being hoodwinked by the entire team.
As the limo pulls up, Iguodala is there to open the door for him and give him cake and balloons at the end as a peace offering. Needless to say, the prank was a success!
Later, Ezeli tweeted out his response.
That was cold blooded. Love this team anyway. Kinda mad I wasted the cake. Should I kick @andre's A$& for that??
— Festus Ezeli (@festus) March 31, 2016
Good thing for them, Ezeli was a sport and even shared that he loved his teammates.
2. Shaqtin’ A Shaq
The Inside the NBA crew made sure to prank their co-host Shaquille O’Neal, the Shaqtin’ A Fool prankster himself.
As Bleacher Report released their Top 10 Centers List, the crew showed it during one of their segments. There they were, one at a time, being revealed, the greatest centers of all time: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Alonzo Mourning, Jack Sikma, Dwight Howard…
What? No Big Diesel?
As each of the names from the number four spot to the ninth spot was being shown onscreen, Shaq was in shock, not realizing that this was a trick being played on him by his crewmates, in this case, Matt Winer, Isiah Thomas, and Dennis Scott. Can you imagine what it was like for him to be ranked number nine, just ahead of Brad Miller and behind Sikma and Howard? It would’ve been tough to sit beside him that time, one snub after another.
This was a classic and one for the ages and the TNT crew! Check out Shaq’s face as he saw players pass him by.
1. Cuban Pranks the Crowd
Everyone knows that Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban is one of the most animated owners in sports and at the top of the list in the NBA. He is known for being handed the heftiest fines an NBA owner could ever receive. Such is his reputation that everyone comes to expect the unexpected from Cuban.
In 2010, the multi-billionaire pulled off the NBA’s best April Fool’s Day prank ever. He had a fake referee on hand to berate and push as the object of his most violent tirade ever. The crowd and even the Mavs were caught by surprise as the antics were way beyond what they were accustomed to from Cuban.
Later, the public address announcer revealed the April Fool’s Day ruse.
Bravo, Mark Cuban!