Last Thursday night, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O'Neal tried to prove that something like #DeflateGate could never impact the NBA by performing an experiment that involved Shaq bricking free throws. And while the experiment wasn't exactly the success they were hoping for, Smith and O'Neal surmised that it wouldn't make any sense for an NBA team to deflate basketballs in order to try and gain an advantage over another team because it would impact both teams equally. But an old Chicago Tribune article that Twitter user @ToddRadom just dug up seems to disprove their theory.
In the article, which was published all the way back in 1986, Phil Jackson reveals that the Knicks teams that he played on in the 1970s used to routinely deflate basketballs before games in order to make it easier for them to rebound the ball. Jackson told the Chicago Tribune that the Knicks didn't have much size down on the block. So they would deflate game balls so that they wouldn't bounce off the rim as far as fully inflated balls. And he also claimed that the deflated balls stopped other teams from fast-breaking on the Knicks.
You can read the entire Chicago Tribune article here:
What a weird new wrinkle to add to the #DeflateGate story, eh? Especially when you consider that the Knicks' two championships came back in 1970 and 1973 when they were apparently deflating basketballs before games. It'll be interesting to see what Jackson has to say about the Chicago Tribune piece, which is almost 30 years old now.
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