What’s the true value of home-field advantage? Across sports, data defends the theory that playing at home leads to better results. As for why, the answers from athletes vary, ranging from familiarity with the court or field to support from the crowd to the opportunity to sleep in their own beds.

And it’s that last circumstance, the comfort of living and sleeping at home, that probably sounds best to Lakers guard Lou Williams right now.

Before Los Angeles lost to Oklahoma City on Saturday night, a report surfaced that Williams left the Skirvin Hilton Hotel, where the team stayed the night before, and checked himself into a different hotel to avoid an encounter with Effie the ghost, who has been rumored to haunt the 104-year-old Oklahoma City landmark.


From a New York Times profile in 2014:

The legend holds that Effie was a housekeeper during the early years of the Skirvin, a luxury downtown hotel, before its 10 brick floors were expanded to 14 in 1930. W. B. Skirvin, the hotel’s widowed owner, supposedly had an affair with Effie and, when she became pregnant, ordered her to stay locked inside a room on an upper floor, even after she had the baby. At some point, the story goes, Effie went crazy, grabbed the baby and jumped, killing herself and the child. …
Still, it is not unlike countless ghost stories retold about old hotels around the country. What makes the Skirvin different is that the most notable tellers — and victims — of its supposed haunting are N.B.A. players. The phenomenon seems to have begun in January 2010, when some of the Knicks said that a loss in Oklahoma City could be blamed, in part, on a restless night at the Skirvin. …
Weeks later, Chicago’s Taj Gibson said that his bathroom door at the Skirvin had slammed in the middle of the night for no reason. His teammate Derrick Rose was among the Bulls who heard strange bangs and bumps and became a believer.
“It was scary last night,” Rose said.

Williams’ belief in the supernatural is hardly unique among professional athletes. Eddie Curry told the Daily News that while visiting the Skirvin with the New York Knicks in 2010 that he barely slept because he was thinking about the poltergeist infestation. Milwaukee’s Pfister Hotel, a popular destination for MLB teams visiting from out of town, has been rumored to be haunted by spirits. Former Giants’ teammates Pablo Sandoval and Edgar Rentaria had an incident involving a ghost and switched to a different hotel, per a 2010 San Francisco Weekly story. The piece also mentions Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez, who reportedly “heard voices in his room, then watched his iPod subsequently go haywire.

When the Arizona Cardinals had a pair of east coast games in back-to-back weeks this October, the team spent the week at the historic Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. There, safety Tony Jefferson believes he heard a little girl’s voice one night.

It’s not just American athletes getting spooked, either. In 2005, Bangledesh’s cricket team famously upset the Australian team in Cardiff, and reports spread that the Aussies went relatively sleepless the night before after encountering 700-year-old ghosts in the hotel.

Unfortunately for Williams and the Lakers, they have as many wins at home as they do on the road (two), so the ghost excuse only carries so much weight in the 40-point blowout to the Thunder.