Issue 170: April Fools! The Best Basketball Pranks

You may be surprised to learn that NBA players are a bunch of jokesters.

Perhaps it’s the grind of getting through an 82-game season. Maybe it’s the weird hours you have to keep, what with all the travel and late-night games.

Or it could be a bunch of guys that are as close as brothers simply enjoy messing with each other.

Whatever the case may be, I’m glad we’re privy to pranks like these.

Manute Bol Gets Rick Rolled…Kind Of

At 7’7″, Manute Bol is tied for the tallest player to ever play in an NBA game. That height also made him extra fun to prank.

Noted wise guy Charles Barkley teamed up with Rick Mahorn to serve up a little home cooking to their friend Manute.

The rice looks tasty, and the chicken wasn’t bad, either. I’m not sure about that last dish, though.

The Sacramento Kings Love Popcorn

The Sacramento Kings have a tradition to fill rookies’ cars with popcorn. When he was a rookie, Nik Stauskas thought he was being sneaky by not having a car.

LITTLE DID HE KNOW his team would find a way to make it happen.

Rudy Gay, Reggie Evans, and DeMarcus Cousins bring excessive amounts of popcorn to disperse all across Stauskas’s apartment.

And the youngster learns a lesson: “Guess that’s what you get when you’re a rookie.”

Andre Iguodala and Lyft Fire a Player

When I worked at a previous job, a group of us had a fun little running gag: Anytime a manager or one of the co-founders asked to see you in their office, everyone else would shrug and say, “well, it was a pleasure working with you.”

Turns out, we’re not much different than Klay Thompson and a host of Golden State Warriors players.

Andre Iguodala and Lyft partnered to play a prank on Warriors center Festus Ezeli, who learned from the radio playing in his Lyft ride that he had been cut from the team.

Immediately, Ezeli started receiving texts from his teammates. Thompson left a very personal message that it was a pleasure working with Ezeli, which is quite funny to me.

Iguodala eventually reveals everything is fine and Ezeli was still on the team, but this story does kind of have a bittersweet ending.

No, Ezeli wasn’t cut before the Warriors made the playoffs — in fact, he played in all but one game during their playoff run.

After that, though? He never played in the NBA again. The next FOUR SEASONS were marred by knee injuries, and now Ezeli plays overseas.

At least he won a ring in 2015.

Pranking a Blindfolded Guy

This one is technically fans and mascots playing a prank on someone, but it’s still pretty delightful.

During an Orlando Magic game, a man has a chance to win $100,000 by hitting a blindfolded halfcourt shot. No easy task, but surely SOMEONE has done it, right?

Well, thanks to some trickery, the mascots and crowd all cheer like the shot went in, even though, by my estimation, he missed by about 36 feet.

In the end, the man learns it’s all an elaborate ruse put on by his girlfriend. Oops.

This one’s great because it’s got layers. The man says he just got laid off, so the money will be very helpful, making the crowd feel bad. And then, it turns out the guy was a paid actor after all.

It’s total pandemonium, and I love it.

Real-Life Jurassic Park

If you found yourself face-to-face with a dinosaur, how would you react?

Members of the Phoenix Suns got to find out, as then-Suns guard Goran Dragic pulled an elaborate Halloween prank on his teammates.

The prank: A realistic T-Rex pops out and spooks whoever happens to be walking by.

My favorite sequence is around the 1:30 mark. We see Gerald Green — who beat up his own mascot during a prank the year before — boldly exclaim he’s not scared and walk right up to the T-Rex.

Then, Archie Goodwin throws an entire water jug at the dinosaur. Finally, Anthony Tolliver’s reaction of “oh, CRAP!” is nearly as funny as his reaction to his teammate Michael Beasley accidentally rubbing Tolliver’s knee while sitting on the bench.

So, who’s hungry?