Quirkiest Basketball Failures I

Part one of a three-part series.

Quirkiest Basketball Failures I

February 23, 2008: The New Jersey Institute of Technology’s men’s basketball team completes a 0-29 season with a 76-50 loss to Utah Valley State, setting an NCAA record for losses in a winless season. The Division I Highlanders finish the year with more turnovers (577) than field goals (550).

February 7, 1990: Lisa Leslie, a 6-5 senior center at Morningside High School (Inglewood, California), scores 101 points during the first half of a game against South Torrence High as her team opens up a 77-point lead. Demoralized, South Torrence quits and goes home at halftime, denying Leslie—a future WNBA star—the chance to break Cheryl Miller’s national prep record of 105 points. “I asked the coach ... if they would let me score three more baskets,” says Leslie after-the-fact. “He asked his team and they said no.”

February 19, 2008: The Dallas Mavericks sign Keith Van Horn, 32, to a $4.3 million contract in order to facilitate a trade with the New Jersey Nets. The Mavericks and Nets need Van Horn (whose contract pays him $75,439 per day) to make the eight-player trade conform to NBA salary requirements. Never mind that Van Horn had not played in the league since the 2005-06 season and was only eligible to be traded because he “forgot” to file his retirement papers two years earlier.

January 9, 1996: The expansion Toronto Raptors set an NBA record by failing to convert a single free-throw (0-for-3) during a 92-91 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

April 8, 2001: New Jersey Nets mascot Sly the Silver Fox dislocates his right knee as he celebrates his fictional fourth birthday during a television timeout.

January 13, 2009: The Covenant School, a private Christian prep school in Dallas, Texas, defeats visiting Dallas Academy 100-0 in a high school girls’ basketball game. More than a week after-the-fact, Covenant’s headmaster posts a message on the school’s Web site which says, “It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened,” and goes on to note that Covenant will make “a formal request to forfeit the game, recognizing that a victory without honor is a great loss.” Nevertheless, Dallas Academy cancels its scheduled rematch with Covenant, and withdraws its eight-member girls’ team from the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools league. Prior to withdrawing, Dallas Academy—which specializes in teaching students struggling with “learning differences”—hadn’t won a girls’ basketball game in four years.

October 11, 2008: Golden State Warriors’ guard Monta Ellis is suspended by his team for 30 games after the organization discovers that a severely sprained ankle he suffered during the offseason wasn’t incurred playing basketball but instead sustained in a moped crash. The suspension costs Ellis approximately three million dollars in lost salary. The moped accident took place just a month after the 22-year-old signed a six-year $66 million contract.

January 19, 2004: Chester Brewer, 31, a.k.a. Da Bull (mascot of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls), is arrested for allegedly selling marijuana from his car after police find him in possession of six ounces of the drug. Brewer was not wearing his bull costume at the time of his arrest.

Quirkiest Basketball Failures II
Quirkiest Basketball Failures III

Published February 16, 2010.