Two-time MVP Steph Curry and 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala stopped by the new Ringer podcast, Winging It—hosted by Hawks teammates Vince Carter and Kent Bazemore, along with Hawks digital content coordinator Annie Fineburg—for episode 2. The name does the show justice; It's airy and loose, filled with off-the-cuff remarks you don't normally hear in a sports media landscape filled with market tested bromides from an athlete's PR team. That informality was the catalyst for the conversation around the 47-minute mark of the episode (embedded below) when talk about how we could have figured out the sound of dinosaurs we hear in movies—"Bone don't tell you what the sound is..."—segued into the belief among seemingly all four NBA players that the moon landing was s
Right before the 47-minute mark (46:45 approximately), Steph asks the group: "We ever been to the moon?" Two players chime in, "No," before Steph responds, "They gonna come get us because I don't think so either." It's hard to figure out who is saying what because they're all talking over each other (remember, this is pretty informal), but a couple of players mention conspiracies, and we think it's finally Fineburg who asks, "You really don't think so?" followed by Steph saying, "Yeah." There's even mention of Stanley Kubrick, who some truthers think filmed the iconic moon landings somewhere on a soundstage in Hollywood, and—well, we stopped listening at that point because we had to write this post.
The whole idea of a fake moon landing reminds us of the Kyrie Irving flat earth fiasco, which is why Steph added that bit about "they"—meaning the media—"gonna come get us." He's predicting how Kyrie's flat earth suspicions spiraled so far out of control he eventually apologized for the whole thing.
Since it's pretty clear after listening to this snippet of the pod multiple times the players weren't really joking, and do in fact think the moon landing was faked, we have to take a moment to address the broader cultural implications. Iggy might be the smartest player in the league when it comes to understanding the game of basketball, so this isn't an intelligence thing. But there's a correlation between this fact-free portion of the pod, and how it stands in contrast to the way most NBA players feel about the current head of the U.S. government, certainly by Steph who brought up the moon landing.
In Michiko Kakutan's The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump, she writes that the current Presidential administration at the head of the goverment is "emblematic of dynamics that have been churning beneath the surface of daily life for years, creating the perfect ecosystem in which Veritas, the goddess of truth…could fall mortally ill."
The moon landing portion of the Winging It pod is part and parcel of that ecosystem. Disbelief in something as easily provable as the moon landing, or that the earth is a sphere in outer space, falls in lockstep with a country where QAnon exists and the free press becomes a "public enemy," according to the president who doesn't like his coverage.
When basic empirical facts can be explained away with a YouTube video or some—disguised as anarchist individualism—juvenile ideas about truth untethered to science or objectivity, it further severs the bond with reality. This talk of a moon landing conspiracy among smart, popular players travels so far from reality, we initially used the verb joking in the headline. But, while funny, these types of discussions act as tinder to the batty beliefs that have helped plunge America into this firestorm of a presidency. We can do better.