The damning evidence of how the NBA ensured Patrick Ewing landed in New York in 1985, has been scrubbed from YouTube. Because of course, it is such valuable, profitable, proprietary sports television content from almost 30 years ago.
This was Bill Simmons best work, back when he was less afraid to rattle cages....
Just in case they pull down the clip between the time we post this blog and the time you read this, here's what happens: when an accountant from Ernst & Whinney throws the seven envelopes into the glass drum, he bangs the fourth one against the side of the drum to create a creased corner (we'll explain why this is relevant in a second). Then he pulls a handle and turns the drum around a couple of times to "mix" the envelopes up. At the 5:23 mark of the clip, Stern heads over to the drum, unlocks it and awkwardly reaches inside for the first envelope (the No. 1 pick). He grabs three envelopes that are bunched together, pretends not to look (although he does) and flips the three envelopes so the one on the bottom ends up in his hand.
Then he pulls that envelope out at the 5:32 mark ... and, of course, it's the Knicks envelope.
A reader named Greg K. from Fair Lawn, N.J. (I'd give you his whole name, but I don't want him to be randomly found dead in his bathtub tonight), pointed this out to me: If you look closely right at the 5:31 mark, right as the commish yanks that Knicks envelope out, there's a noticeable crease in the corner of the envelope. You can see it for a split-second -- as he pulls the envelope up, it's on the corner that's pointing toward the bottom of the jar.
There's a giant crease! It's right there! The same one the accountant created as he was throwing the envelopes into the drum!
So you're telling me that, out of the seven envelopes in that glass drum, during a lottery when the NBA desperately needed the most ballyhooed college center in 15 years to save the league's marquee franchise, the commissioner coincidentally pulled out the envelope with a giant crease in the corner that happened to have the Knicks logo in it? This is the Zapruder film of sports tapes, isn't it?
Yes, Bill. It really IS the Zapruder Film of sports. But now, it's gone. If anybody has a new link, let us know. It really shows you just how SENSITIVE the league is to this particular criticism of that foggy June night in 1985, doesn't it?