When April Fool's Jokes Go Awry
Tim Roye, who does play-by-play on the radio for the Warriors, opened last night's broadcast reporting that a pair of injuries left the already short-handed Warriors one man shy of the eight players the league requires each team to dress. After some last-second scrambling, Roye claimed, the team signed 64-year-old TV color analyst Jim Barnett (pictured to the left before his 10-year career as a player ended 30 years ago) to sit on the end of the bench.
Roye even went the extra mile to interview assistant coach Keith Smart and Jamal Crawford, who were in on the joke, about the move. Here's a clip of what listeners were treated to:
Taking the gag one step further, the team had its stat-keeper create a fake "official" box score showing "Jim Barnett -- DNP Old Age/Lack of Talent" to show its TV audience during the first timeout. Only a single copy of the box score was printed, and Barnett's name never appeared in the actual official box score sent to the league or distributed to the media in the arena.
That's where the story was supposed to end -- a funny, creative and well-planned prank. Unfortunately, due to a quirk in the stats system, Barnett's line in the box score somehow made it's way to the online feed used by various media outlets, even though it was never displayed in the arena. And making things even more confusing, the computer randomly switched Barnett's name with Grant Hill's when it couldn't find an entry for Barnett in the database.
Obviously, no offense was intended to Hill, and once the mistake the discovered, it was fixed this morning. (Had the Warriors played on the east coast, I'm guessing someone would have noticed earlier.) It's too bad the joke kind of backfired after the fact, but it was pretty funny until that point.