One of the longest-running conspiracy theories in all of sports is the rigged NBA Lottery. It’s pretty much accepted by a large swath of the public that the very first one was probably fixed. Shaquille O’Neil, himself a former number one pick, believes the lottery is still rigged and there’s no way in hell the Sixers are going to win it.
Speaking on his podcast, Shaq put forth his theory that “they” won’t let it happen:
“Philly can tank all they want. They’re not getting the first pick. Ain’t no way they—whoever ‘they’ may be—is sending that young man to Philadelphia.
All the great, great players in the league, the draft, there has been talk of a conspiracy theory. All the way from Ewing to me to LeBron playing in Cleveland. So I’m guaranteeing Philly ain’t gonna get the first pick. I’m guaranteeing you that right now. Philly won’t even come close to getting the first pick …
Put it this way. Somewhere sunny and exciting. That’s where [Simmons] is going.”
A simple Google search brings up any number of anti-Semitic Illuminati theories around Adam Silver, David Stern, and the NBA. But it’s not just the crazies. I myself think that, at least under Stern, most lotteries were rigged to a certain extent. How this year’s lottery works out will do a lot to color my opinion of the process under Silver, but Shaq is far from alone in his theory.