With late-season tensions running high, NBA players across the league are preparing to blow off some steam this April Fool’s Day. But before the craziness starts, here’s a look back at this season’s best pranks so far. Do you think any of these will be topped today?
Jeff Whithey’s car gets shaving creamed
The New Orleans Pelicans’ Jeff Whithey received his rookie dues in the form of an aerosol haze last weekend. Ryan Anderson, Jason Smith and Anthony Morrow wrapped his car in Saran wrap and let loose with a few cans of shaving cream. On it, they wrote “Sweet Pea”—Whithey’s rather unfortunate rookie nickname—and drew a Mercedes-Benz marque, putting the metaphorical cherry on top of this prank.
Utah Jazz fill Ruby Gobert’s car with popcorn
Among the NBA’s best pranks are so-called “popcornings,” or high jinks that involve filling a players’ car to the roof with the movie-going snack. Thus, it was a fitting punishment for Utah’s Rudy Gobert, who had forgotten to bring donuts for his team just after All-Star Weekend—and, given that mess, it would clearly be for the last time. “Headed to the car wash,” tweeted Gobert later. No kidding.
Trey Burke is a one-man basketball team
Fresh off a trade to the aforementioned Utah Jazz, rookie Trey Burke missed the start of the season after hurting his finger. Ahead of his first game back in November, his teammates decided to make Burke feel welcome by inviting him to lead the squad out of the tunnel. However, they stopped short as the clueless Burke trotted out alone. Don’t worry, Burke sorted it out pretty quickly, although that didn’t make it any less funny.
Kent Bazemore gets the popcorn treatment
What did we just say about popcorn? Just a day after Rudy Gobert was targeted by jokesters, Kent Bazemore got his own rookie hazing as the Los Angeles Lakers deemed fit to fill his car with mountains of the stuff. As the Lakers’ website points out, his career took a turn for the better after he left the Golden State Warriors. Perhaps there’s a connection?
Travis Outlaw posterized by rookies
It’s rare that a rookie turns the tables and gets to play a prank on a veteran player, but the Kings’ Ben McLemore and Patrick Patterson (who’s now with the Toronto Raptors) switched up the usual dynamic ahead of the season’s start back in October. Patterson stealthily snuck up on 10-year veteran Travis Outlaw wearing a basketball hoop mounted on a backpack. With a perfect execution, 2P comes out of nowhere and posterizes him, leaving Outlaw stunned and on the floor.
The Phoenix Suns get up to some monkey business
In the NBA, nobody is safe from anthropomorphic gorillas. Wait, what? On the way to practice around Halloween time, members of the Phoenix Suns were surprised by a monkey mascot that leapt out of a recycling bin with an air horn. However, there was at least some retribution: Gerald Green got a good slap out.
Clutch the bear is not so cuddly
Just after the new year, the Houston Rockets’ mascot, Clutch the Bear, felt like playing a prank on players. As the ballers enter the arena for practice, the inflatable mascot stood motionless to lure them into a false sense of security. Upon exiting, however, the roster was freaked out one (or two) at a time when the bear suddenly sprang to life. Dwight Howard, James Harden, Jeremy Lin and the rest of the crew were all targeted. It should be noted that the ursine fiend has a history of pranking the squad.
A prank gone too far
The NBA certainly has a bit of levity when it comes to pranks among its ranks. However, for one man who found out the (very) hard way, the league isn’t all fun and games for outsiders pulling the wool over its eyes. A comedian allegedly called at least a dozen NBA and NFL coaches in December, pretending to offer them jobs with high-profile teams in the professional and college arenas. Kenneth Edward Tarr was charged with felony eavesdropping for recording the conversations, which is illegal by California law, after bragging online about his exploits.