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Jermaine Every: From bizarre to believable, sports fans love their conspiracy theories

Michael Jordan might be the gold standard for conspiracy theories. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Sports fans can be a strange bunch. We are some of the most eclectic and eccentric people out there. Outside the art folks and hipsters, we are the weirdest group. Along with that weirdness comes a certain level of tinfoil hat wearing in the form of conspiracy theories.

These conspiracy theories in sports range from rumors widely accepted as truth to the utterly ridiculous. I spoke with a few guys that have strong opinions and gathered some of the more interesting conspiracy theories. Here’s a rundown of who I spoke to and a couple of their more interesting sports conspiracy theories:

Quincy Floyd (my barber at Phayes Two Barbershop)

-There are magnets in basketballs that are used to make players miss or make shots.

-Refs are paid to officiate towards a certain outcome more beneficial to the league.

-Boxing is rigged to build up to bigger fights.

-The love of money is at the root of evil and main reason why things are rigged.

Lamont Mann (Houston Media Watch contributor, sports radio and Twitter enthusiast)

-Did Andre Johnson beat up Matt Schaub?

-Did Brock Osweiler and Bill O’Brien get physical?

-Daryl Morey fired Kevin McHale, no matter how much the media says it was out of his hands. Why would McHale’s wife go after Morey?

-Colin Kaepernick’s movement is more about starting than the treatment of minorities.

-NFL ratings aren’t the only ratings that are down. Most ratings across the board but some want it to appear like certain parties are affecting it.

Raheel Ramzanali (Gow Media personality)

-Michael Jordan’s “retirement” was due to gambling debts and may have played a role in his father’s murder.

-Craig Koshkin (my partner on The Sideline Podcast)

-The first NBA Draft Lottery in 1985 was rigged for the New York Knicks to pick first overall so they could select Patrick Ewing.

-The NBA and its refs conspired to have the Lakers beat the Kings in 2002 Western Conference Finals because of the disparity in fouls called and free throws shot.

Jerren Duronslet (lifelong friend)

-The mob was behind the death of Michael Jordan’s father. Not because of a gambling debt, but because he refused to throw the series against the Phoenix Suns.

-Kobe Bryant quit on the Lakers in Game 6 of 2006 first round series against the Suns. Lakers were up 3-1 in the series and dropped the next two games. Kobe scored 22 points in the first half, only one in the second half.

-Magic Johnson doesn’t really have HIV. He was paid off to be the face of the heterosexual male with the deadly disease.

Let those sink in for a moment. I’m more than sure that you have heard of these before. As long as sports have been around, there have been games getting thrown and or set for one reason or another. We’ve always enjoyed that what if’s, maybe’s, and possibly’s of sports. Things like this have driven discussions at the water cooler for years. One main reason I asked my barber, is because you can go to any barbershop, especially in a predominantly black neighborhood, and here some of the most insane sports takes and conspiracy theories! There were some I’ve heard over the years that are almost too crazy to mention. The one about the ball and goal having a magnet made the cut because it is so off the wall.

If I have missed any good ones you may have, or if you have heard any good ones, please contact me on Twitter. I would love to know your thoughts on the matter. Pass this on to your family and friends. Bring it up at that awkward dinner meeting your significant other’s family for the first time. Use this article as the ice breaker on your new job. Just don’t forget to let me know how it goes.

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Houston goes up 1-0 in the series

Altuve, Correa help lift Astros to ALCS Game 1 win over Red Sox

Carlos Correa's go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 1 helped lift the Astros to a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite one rough loss to the White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros looked like the dominant team they are capable of being, taking that series 3-1 to advance and taking ownership of home-field advantage in the ALCS against the Red Sox, who upset the Rays. In Game 1, despite trailing for the middle portions of the game, Houston would get more highlight moments from the faces of the franchise to start the series with a win.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 4

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Hansel Robles

Houston strikes first, but Boston sends Valdez to an early exit

Both starting pitchers worked in and out of trouble in the early goings of ALCS Game 1, starting with Framber Valdez in the top of the first. After erasing a leadoff single by inducing a double play, he went on to load the bases on a single and two walks but would strand all three runners to keep Boston off the board. The Astros jumped in front in the bottom half, with Jose Altuve working a leadoff walk, moving to second on a one-out single by Alex Bregman, advancing to third on a wild pitch, then ultimately scoring on a sac fly by Yordan Alvarez to put Houston ahead 1-0 after one frame.

They had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a shaky inning by Chris Sale, who loaded the bases with one out as Houston would get two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That flipped the order over to the top, but a great diving catch by former Astro Kiké Hernández would end the inning. Hernández led off the top of the third against Valdez, and he would tie things up with a solo homer.

Things went downhill from there for Valdez and the Astros, as a one-out walk followed by a single gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in scoring position. On a groundball that likely should have been a double play to end the inning, it would get through Altuve's legs, scoring a run and keeping the inning alive for Boston. They took advantage, getting an RBI double to extend their new lead to 3-1. Valdez would get one more out before Dusty Baker would give him the early hook, bringing in Yimi Garcia, who finished the frame.

A battle of the bullpens, Altuve ties it up

Like Valdez, Sale would also not make it through three innings, getting two outs while putting two on base before Boston would start their bullpen's night as well. Both sets of relievers settled the game down, with the Red Sox stranding two of Houston's runners in the third as well as the fifth, maintaining their two-run lead. After Garcia finished the third, Cristian Javier entered to eat up a couple of innings, and he would do just that by getting through two frames with just one hit, four strikeouts, and no runs.

Next, Phil Maton took over in the top of the sixth and erased a leadoff walk to keep things in striking distance for the home team. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put another runner on base, getting a one-out single by Chas McCormick. Two batters later, with two outs, Jose Altuve provided yet another career postseason highlight, tying the game 3-3 with a two-run home to re-energize the Minute Maid Park crowd.

Astros take ALCS Game 1

Now a brand new ballgame in the top of the seventh, Brooks Raley came in to face three batters, getting two strikeouts while allowing a single before Dusty Baker would move on to Ryne Stanek, who would get the third out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa continued his march to a monster off-season contract, putting Houston back on top with a solo homer, making it 4-3.

Houston kept the script after Stanek with the new lead in hand, going to Kendall Graveman as the setup man in the top of the eighth. Despite a two-out single, he would get out of the inning with the lead intact, putting Houston three outs away from the victory. After a walk, single, and hit by pitch to start the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, Altuve would drive in his third run of the game, getting a sac fly to extend the lead to two runs at 5-3.

That insurance run proved pivotal, as closer Ryan Pressly was met with a leadoff solo home run by Hernandez, his second of the night for Boston, to make it 5-4. Pressly refocused and was able to get the next three batters in order, though, wrapping up the win to start Houston off with a 1-0 series lead and putting them three wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Up Next: The two teams will have a moderately quick turnaround, with ALCS Game 2 scheduled to start at 3:20 PM Central on Saturday ahead of NLCS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves getting the night slot. The pitching matchup is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his two starts this postseason, going opposite Luis Garcia, who had a rough outing in the ALDS for Houston, giving up five runs without completing three innings in Chicago.

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