Slam Dunk: A Writer Explains His Hoax Regarding Steve Nash's Quitting the Suns

My name is Barry Friedman and I am a liar. The last time I lied to New Times readers was in 1991 when I claimed gold had been discovered under the Scottsdale Galleria and hundreds of people raced there to file claims.

That little prank occurred before computers ruled the world. This time, I wanted to write a hoax that would test the power of the Internet and thought the Suns would be a good target. They go 2-6 in the preseason; Amar’e Stoudemire leaves; Steve Kerr departs the front office; Nash’s good friend Leandro Barbosa is traded, and Nash says in interviews that this season looks iffy. He reportedly has a great sense of humor (and won’t sue or hurt me) so I decide to focus on the great point guard. He’s taken strong stands in the past on Iraq and the Arizona immigration laws, so I decide politics is a plausible career switch for him. I declare he’s quitting the Suns to enter the mayor’s race in his hometown of Victoria, British Columbia, and eventually wants to be prime minister of Canada.

The story posts on New Times’ Web site and all hell breaks loose immediately. Fans all over the country believe Nash is leaving the team. The Suns’ switchboard explodes. People are demanding to know whether Nash is leaving; others want to cancel their season tickets.

I receive a call from Channel 5’s Pat McReynolds. He’s at the Suns-Spurs game and says, “You’ve turned my world upside down.”

The Suns then post a “Steve Nash Update” on their Web site: “A humorous article has been published by the Phoenix New Times joking that Steve Nash is retiring to enter Canadian politics. We want our fans to rest easy. This is a hoax!! Happily, Steve continues to be a member of our team.”

Oh, yeah, they definitely thought my article was a laugh riot. If murder were legal, I’d be pushing up daisies.

After the game, Nash was asked about his political future. “I just heard about it tonight during the game. I don’t know what to say about that,” he laughed. “I mean, obviously I’ll be prime minister one day, but I wasn’t going to do it until after I finished playing basketball.”

Enter former Suns star Tom Chambers, who now does commentary during televised Suns games. Fox Sports Net showcases Chambers and his on-air partners live against a frightening backdrop of hundreds of Suns fans.

At the end of their recap, announcing sidekick Brad Steinke reassured viewers my article wasn’t true and Chambers snarled, “Why are we even acknowledging New Times?” Easy there, big boy. Are those jaunty free outfits from The Clotherie a little too tight?

The story ended up running all over the United States and Canada. Mayor Dean Fortin of Victoria revealed that he plays a little basketball himself and proposed a swap: Nash becomes mayor and he becomes the point guard of the Phoenix Suns.

For those of you who appreciated the hoax, thanks. For those of you who think I suck, thanks.

And Steve, you know the article was a love letter to you from a real fan. If you ever leave us, I’ve already written a heart-wrenching farewell. Quite frankly, I think you owe me a cup of coffee. You buy, I’ll lie.

 
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32 comments
RA
RA

You got your clicks and comments - that's what stories like this are all about. I wonder how Paul Rubin and other top reporters who have cred with readers feel about a poorly written hoax pretending to be news. I wouldn't trust New Times with my story and I now wonder about the veracity of anything you print. Other NT/VVM publications have done these jr. high fakeouts and the damage to your journalism is lasting and erosive.

Morgana
Morgana

haha I love the way this was ended. Thank you for the comic relief :)

Ppno
Ppno

Loved it! Had me rolling with laughter.

BFs adouche
BFs adouche

New Times rag + Barry Friedman = DOUCHE

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

Perhaps we need to thank New Times for printing this article. It shows us what all print and most internet news is all about. It's about distracting us from what's really going on in the world. If we read this shit then we won't care how the PTB steal from us everyday, murder whoever they want for whatever reason and keep us as slaves to build their own bank accounts. Wake up or sleep through your lives and die in your ignorance. Or not.

Benny Franklin is PIST
Benny Franklin is PIST

I love how dumb this magazine is. Every article is now a "hoax" as far as I'm concerned. For people who are trying so hard to make change in this state why would you write fake articles? Don't you think this could debase your entire agenda? Good thinkin....

Jack Swift
Jack Swift

Sanctimonious idiots! It's a fucking joke! Get over it, 'tards! What makes you think you have anything to say about what any newspaper prints. You don't. You don't get to vote on what New Times publishes, and it's been doing satire for 30-odd years. Come on.....

 daniel
daniel

haha what an idiot. he acts like he caught the entire world up in this mad hysteria. everyone treated it like a joke, nobody was fooled. a hoax has to at least convince SOMEONE before it can even be called a hoax, no?

quit patting yourself on the back, nobody believed it. all you did was embarrass the New Times, which nobody cares about anyway.

“Why are we even acknowledging New Times?” - exactly.

linaimai
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New Times Sucks
New Times Sucks

It's in the New Times, people actually read that for anything more then sealing up a escort for the night?

Dlovelady
Dlovelady

Barry Friedman you suck and now have no Creditability

Mik Yar
Mik Yar

This is good satire. Even the barest cross-checking of other news sources would reveal it as a joke. A joke. Well done, Barry. Think, people!

Susan Rastella
Susan Rastella

A hoax you say? Well, at the minimum this is what I would consider poor taste. If you really wanted to test the power of the internet (which you already know) you could have picked something that was TRUE!

I have been reading the PHOENIX NEW TIMES for a few decades now. Over the years I have learned that it was not a "rag" paper but an actual investigative newspaper. In particular, the coverage of of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, SB 1070, and other important topics I have learned to TRUST what you print.

Your actions, whether pre-planned as a hoax, or just a mistake in judgment (which could be admitted and forgiven for); has affected many readers about the paper's integrity. Other writers on the paper (yes, unfortunately, Stephen Lemons this includes you) will have their veracity and accuracy questioned.

Was the hoax worth it? What did it accomplish? As a loyal follower of the PHOENIX NEW TIMES I am truly disappointed in the entire Steve Nash "event". Maybe you could have tried this on April Fool's Day, or even Halloween; but right after elections ---- bad boy.

You are activists on First Amendment rights, fair treatment, equal opportunity, no prejudices, anti-corruption --was this newsworthy. I THINK NOT! I hope you take this and learn from it. Just like Joe Arpaio needs to learn -----DO NOT ABUSE THE POWER!

vessel
vessel

I was kinda bummed when I read it,texted my brother asked him said he wasn't sure but thought it was just a hoax. Im glad it was I never want Steve to leave he makes me smile:) The article was ok not great and did seem a little goofy that he would leave to go run for Prime minister.You got me though......I'm telling Christmas Steve on all of you!

Me
Me

Very disappointing and pointless. I love NT but feel like their credibility took a big drop with this cover and article.

Devildc
Devildc

Not to date myself,but I was an ASU journalism student when Jana Bommersbach was at New Times. We students loved NT becuse they did in-depth reporting far beyond what the Repulsive would do. The ASU school paper had a gag issue on April Fool's Day, but this sort of crap in the NT diminishes the value of its journalism.

Aslk222
Aslk222

Whattt! come on guys, be a little more mainstream, stop being an "ALT-Weekly"("Alternative" for you idiots), start printing what falls out of Sarah Palin's mouth and stock numbers, like all them real news people.

Hey guys, the New Times isn't cnn, and it isn't the fucking AZ Rebulitard, it is an Alternative paper, probably has more in common with a local 'zine than anything else. If you're getting angry they don't have as much journalistic integrity as Rachel Maddow, well then maybe you should be finding your news source elsewhere? Probably from something a little more traditional eh?

Bluntedgenius
Bluntedgenius

I never heard anything about this until now. Never showed up on ESPN or NBA website that I get my basketball news. That's nice that he thinks he pulled a great prank or whatever, but what was his plan in this story? To show that people will repeat anything they read on the internet, because that has been known for some time. Kudos to you for finding that in it 2010!!

Artatmhis2
Artatmhis2

Another stab in the dead heart of media integrity, which has been on its death bed for many years now. The Phoenix New Times is about as worthless as any of them and have zero credibility much like the New York Times or the ever popular Newsweek. Nash opinions about American issues is about as worthwhile as the opinions of Hugo Chavez. Who cares. Nash has been a great point guard for the Suns and a great leader for the team, but not so much for his family, as we read about him leaving his wife and children a few days after his wife delivers their 3rd child. Only in Canada and California is that seen as a good political move. Nash appears to have lost his drive as well as 2 or 4 steps in speed, so pretty soon, he should be nudged even closer to going back to Canada to do whatever he would like to do.

C. Clark
C. Clark

C'mon folks y'all need to lighten up. I remember back in the early 80's someone April Fooled us about a tunnel going through the mountains from 32 nd street just south of Shea to Lincoln. It was a good joke - so's this one.

From now on I suggest that Nash's nickname be "The Mayor".

Colin Clark

tea party
tea party

You sir are the southbound end of a northbound mule. And that is putting it kindy. Why Nash isn't putting a lawsuit against you and your employer is because he is a gentleman. I will never ever even pick up your so call "newspaper". I would rather read the Arizona Repugnant. At least they don't plagerize as much as you do.

Ruellastinks
Ruellastinks

This is why people dont see The New Times as a reputable honest news outlet. Now if I and most others read anything in this paper, it will not be taken seriously. Friedman should be replaced with someone who reports real true news (or at least true as they know it). Now next time Dante from the New Times calls to hit me up to buy some ad space, I will just say "Friedmans fake stories is why i wont buy ad space"

Tacker22846
Tacker22846

So exactly why did he write the hoax article?

Dwl_bambam
Dwl_bambam

Barry M. Friedman is a moron!!! Apparently he has nothing better to do than to toy with Suns fans and the city of Phoenix. People like this should not be given a forum to spread lies instead, the unemployment line should suit him nicely. Get a life Barry.

C11881
C11881

will not ever read the new times again. Thanks for that!

Stevengyurko
Stevengyurko

what a jewis writer lie? i tought jewis bankers have patten on it but at least this vas funny not like a mess we in

Marqbons
Marqbons

The boy who cries wolf...and when the truth is sought this will never be the venue. This is the media's version of WWF.

Chief 8927
Chief 8927

Then why are you here on their website?

Valten
Valten

I'm sure they are devastated at losing you.

 
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