Charlotte's Davis caught up in Great Headband Caper
Updated: Sunday February 11, 2001 9:38 AM
By Marty Burns, Sports Illustrated
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Call it The Great Headband Caper.
Hornets guard Baron Davis tried to clinch Saturday's Slam Dunk Contest with a dunk he called "Blind Man's Bluff." He pulled a white headband down over his eyes, dribbled in from the 3-point line and tried a windmill dunk. Unfortunately, he came up a foot short of the rim -- allowing Sonics rookie Desmond Mason to take home the trophy.
"It was a make-or-break thing," Davis said. "If I would have pulled it off, it would have been amazing."
But was he really blind-folded?
In a twist only Oliver Stone could love, a white terry-cloth headband with two eyeholes punched out was found near the bench area after the game. "I couldn't see at all," Davis insisted afterward.
Like the Kennedy assassination, headband theories began running through Washington, a city that loves a good conspiracy. Some said Davis and teammate David Wesley collaborated on a scheme to make fans think Davis couldn't see when in fact he could.
The way Wesley dramatically maneuvered a blind-folded Davis around the court seemed a tad rehearsed, after all. And Davis' surprise when he found out he had used all of his do-overs only added more fuel to the conspiracy theorists' fire.
In fact, didn't Davis appear to drop the headband behind his chair when he sat down on the bench for a TNT interview afterward? It sure looked like he did, only to retrieve a second one without holes to show the TV cameras.
Like members of the Warren Commission, Davis' fellow competitors in the contest weren't buying. "No way," Clippers forward Corey Maggette said. "I don't think he would do that."
Even after being shown the headband as evidence, Grizzlies rookie Stromile Swift said Davis had punched holes in it afterward as a joke.
Who says there's no intrigue in the dunk contest?