The NBA mandates that every team in the league hold a seminar for its players on the business of basketball. The class covers things like ticket pricing, team operations and league offerings, such as health insurance.
To satisfy the requirement, the head of each business unit in the Wizards organization made a presentation to the team last week during an hour-long session led by Ed Tapscott, the team’s director of player development. To make it fun and to encourage the players to pay attention, Tapscott gave a quiz at the end, complete with prizes.
Naturally, John Wall got all of the questions right, and was rewarded with two courtside seats for a future game.
“He cheated,” Trevor Booker told me when I asked about Wall’s victory. “I got them all right too, but I cheated. I didn’t get a prize, because I admitted that I cheated. I’m an honest man.”
Even while cheating?
“Even while cheating,” he said, with a straight face.
Emeka Okafor and Earl Barron shared similar suspicions of ungentlemanly conduct.
“It’s called the World Wide Web,” said Barron, when I asked how Wall was able to cheat.
“Courtesy of Google,” Okafor chimed in from the next locker over. “But he’s from Kentucky, so I’m not saying nothing.”
It was a subtle shot at Wall’s former coach, John Calipari, and his less-than-sparkling reputation. Harsh words coming from a U-Conn man.
Wall, who told me he’d be giving his prize to a teammate, took exception to the allegations of dirty play.
“How did I cheat?” he asked, when I told him about his teammates’ accusations. “They gave us the questions ahead of time. No cheating. I won fair and square.”
Bradley Beal only got five questions right, but he’s claiming foul play of a different sort. Every player got a copy of the quiz before the class so that they would know what to listen for. Everyone except Beal.
“I actually didn’t have the quiz in my hands until afterwards,” Beal told me. “So I didn’t get a fair chance of knowing what the questions were before they talked about it. They were passing around papers, and I didn’t get one.”
Was it an innocent mistake, or another instance of rookie hazing?
“I don’t know,” Okafor deadpanned, shaking his head. “Mysterious things happen to rooks.”