Thursday, January 07, 2010
It was the lowest scoring game in NBA history, and the Bulls had just over seven minutes to surpass the 50 point mark. Down 41-49 to the Boston Celtics, it might have been the ugliest game in basketball history.
James Johnson was posting up down low, when everything changed. Possibly from holding the ball too tightly, it exploded into pieces of bright pink and green. Wet chunks fell to the floor of the court and everyone stopped play to see what had just happened. You could read James' lips, "it's a watermelon." He was right. And it had been the whole time. The players weren't playing with an official ball, but a watermelon. How it lasted into the fourth quarter is still a mystery, but replays of the first three quarters proved that it was indeed a watermelon from the first play of the game. There were even some stems coming out of it, like it had just been plucked from the watermelon field mere moments before tip-off.
Suddenly it made sense why there were so many turnovers (72 combined), the ball always awkwardly bouncing out of bounds uncontrollably. And who knows how the watermelon sustained so much dribbling and bounce passing, but the players did seem to be using extra force to make sure it was bouncing high enough.
To think, this game wouldn't have such a low score if the players didn't have to deal with this watermelon. It's actually pretty impressive that they lasted as long as they did. But now it was time to clean up the court, throw away the broken watermelon and give the athletes an authentic basketball. And the Bulls were ready to take control of the game.
Sure enough, everything changed when the players got that globular orange device. Both teams passed the 50 point mark, and the Bulls even came away with a narrow victory in the end. But everyone will always remember this day in history as the "Watermelon Game."
In the post-game press conference, players and coaches from the Bulls tried to dodge questions about the watermelon. They said things like, "circumstances aside, we came away with a win tonight. And we're proud of that." or "Hey guys, I don't have answers for questions like that. Ask David Stern if you're wondering how a watermelon gets on the court for three and a half quarters." But the Celtics (the losing team) couldn't seem to talk about anything BUT the watermelon. Kendrick Perkins was particularly vocal, "I mean, what the f@%k? A fu&%@#n watermelon? That entire game should be replayed, or thrown out! We weren't even playing basketball out there, it was watermelon ball! Fine, the Bulls won a game of watermelon ball tonight, I hope they're proud of themselves. The only team in history to win a game of watermelon ball. Go Bulls! ...Maybe they should start their own watermelon league. They'd be championship contenders for sure."
Coincidentally, Perkins asked security to find the remains of the watermelon so he could eat it. He was taking bites and spitting out seeds in the midst of his tirade with the media. Many racist jokes were later made about this event, all of which were in poor taste.