Kobe Bryant’s mamba mentality, Derrick Rose’s unbending stoicism, Kyrie Irving’s black-magic handles, and Eddy Curry’s 300lb frame. Historically otherworldly things. However, none of that stood a chance against the ghosts of the famously haunted Skirvin Hotel.
At first glance, the place seems normal, if not a little outdated, as are all truly spooky places.
After all, It wouldn’t have been actually terrifying if The Overlook Hotel had a giant flashing sign that read “Horror inside. Might turn your spouse into a maniac killer and child an ESP-having, murdered twin girl-seeing wacko!”
The hotel is over a hundred years old, and it’s website claims staying there allows the guest to “step back in time”. No chance any ghosts would be drawn to that, right?
Speaking of scary things that won’t go away despite numerous horrific allegations…
Derrick Rose grew up in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago. He couldn’t spend one night in the Skirvin without making rookie James Johnson share a room with him.
Ron Artest considered filing charges against “Skirivin ghosts” for ‘touching him inappropriately’. And, to be Camp Crystal Laker Clear: This is not a joke. Artest was dead serious.
Kyrie Irving never experienced any paranormal experience at the Skirvin, but claims that bed bugs prevented him from playing in OKC the next day. However, Irving, who is known as someone drawn to kooky theories and beliefs (flat earth, fake moon landing), will be making a movie about the Skirvin and its shadowy reputation.
So, ya know, with the Irving case, you might want to know the source of allegations before you blindly trust it. Though, as third-eye Kyrie likely believes, is there really such a thing as trust, or is trust a fictional thing pushed upon mankind by roundball earth lovers who refused to acknowledge the flatness of the earth because of that sweet, sweet Big Round Earth Money…
So how did the place get such a famous reputation for being haunted, and why does it seem to particularly freak out basketball players?
Here’s a quick background on the paranormal activity at the hotel. According to the legend, the first owner of the Skirvin, William Balser Skirvin, was not exactly a role model. First off, he went by William Balser Skirvin, and as we all know, the three-name thing is a sure-fire hint dude is a potential serial killer, or at the very least, not a man to be trifled with.
Anwhoo, He had an affair with a maid at the hotel, and after getting her pregnant, locked her on a top floor to hide her away. You know, as any rational person who watched Flowers in the Attic would do.
This wouldn’t be a ghost story without a tragic ending, and the maid, called ‘Effie’ by hotel employees, never left the hotel alive because of (bleeping) course. The legend claims that after having her baby, she went crazy from being imprisoned in the hotel and threw herself, with her baby, out the window.
There is no word, however, if she threw the bathwater out with the baby.
So obviously there is a creepy background to this ancient hotel already. So what does the NBA do? The most logical thing possible, of course: house their famously superstitious athletes in a place that has been rumored to be haunted for years.
It didn’t take long for players to report creepy things while on the road in Oklahoma City.
Former Knicks center Eddy Curry was one of the first victims of the Skirvin. Curry got a room on the 10th floor, where Effie the maid and her baby are said to be most active. Curry was so frightened that he was forced to spend the night in Nate Robinson’s room.
Again, Curry is a seven-foot, 300 pound man. And still, He was no match for the threat of Effie sneaking up on him in the bathroom Solid Snake Plisken style, as many male visitors have claimed happened to them.
The list of NBA players who have had less than ideal experiences in the Skirvin stretches a mile long. It’s gotten to the point where players will just get their own place when the team travels to OKC.
Taj Gibson and Wesley Johnson refuse to sleep there. Tim Hardaway Jr. doubted the ghost stories, but one night in the Skirvin Hotel changed his mind. Lou Williams, a man of insane confidence, won’t even step foot in the place.
And Effie doesn’t just pick on players. Bill Simmons spent a sleepless night in the Skirvin, haunted by a baby’s cry throughout the night. Hotel workers have claimed that tools go missing, furniture moves by itself, and apparitions walk the halls and then disappear – although, to be fair to the ghosts, maybe the missing tools are being used to fix in-between the walls malfunctions, which is why they go through them.
Seriously, guys. We can’t just assume the ghosts are evil. Maybe, just maybe, they’re carpenters stuck in this dimension, who have a weird love to tinker and fix things.
Eh, I digress.
While it’s a literal nightmare for opponents, the hotel provides a strategic opportunity for the Thunder. When your opponent gets no sleep, you definitely have a better chance of winning the game the next day.
During the 2010 playoffs, the Kobe-led Lakers stormed out to a 2-0 lead against the young Thunder team. The series then shifted to OKC. The Lakers spent four nights in the Skirvin. They went home with the series tied, after sleepwalking through Game 4. And, while Kobe stans said he was tough, but perhaps even he fell victim to some spooky happenings.
Flash forward to the 2011-12 season. In the 2012 Finals, the Miami Heat were housed in the Skirvin before Game 1. Now it might be a fluke, but the only game the Heat lost that series was the first. Coincidence?
Apparently, this isn’t enough to deter some players. A few brave souls still spend the night in the Skirvin. Craig Sager spent a night in the Skirvin Hotel as part of an ‘Inside the NBA‘ special with no consequences.
Heck, Most of the tight-lipped staff claim the legend is just that: a legend. Then again, we’ve seen Room 1408 with John Cusak. Samuel L Jackson spent the first half of the movie saying literally just that, the haunting rumors were only rumors, then poor ole Boombox 80s heartthrob John Cusak got walloped time after time by ghosts!
Ghost or not, the Skirvin Hotel has developed quite a reputation as a poor spot to get some sleep. Even if you don’t see anything creepy, the stories can crawl in your brain and mess with your head. Just ask Eddy Curry.
As all proper horror movie villains do, the Thunder do not seem to mind the phenomenon. Since the renovation and re-opening of the Skirvin, the Thunder have had one season where they posted a losing record at home. One. In ten years. They’re basically the inanimate Vincent Price of the NBA!
Granted, the Thunder have been a solid team for a bit anyway. They have a reputation as having one of the best home crowds in the game. It makes sense that they dominate in Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Then again, maybe all those locals are all in the horror like old people hovering around Elm Street, mostly cool with young people being butchered by a dude with knife-fingers.
But if you’re a Thunder fan and ever find yourself staying at the Skirvin Hotel, maybe you should bring an extra jersey as a token of thanks for Effie, Oklahoma City’s underrated sixth man.
If not that, so at least she lets you get a decent nights sleep.