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Culture Spotlight

Steph Curry doubts we landed on the moon—and other athlete-purported fake news

A brief recent history of athletes and conspiracy theories.
Romeo Moran | Dec 13 2018

Basketball star Steph Curry recently spoke on a podcast expressing his doubts that man really landed on the moon. If you’re a bit more than a casual follower of sports, you probably know, as you tear your hair out at this new bout of nonsense from an athlete, that it’s not the first time we’ve heard a bout of nonsense from his kind.

Professional athletes are becoming more and more outspoken and brave enough to advocate for important causes as we go deeper into the 21st century. While most of the time, that’s not a bad thing, we still get the occasional instance where we wonder if we give them too much influence. You get moments like the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving proudly proclaiming the Earth is flat, and other athletes believing him and following suit.

Why does this happen to athletes anyway? Sports Illustrated seems to think they’re just operating out of doubt, and when you think about it, that makes sense. Let’s take a quick look back at how the conspiracy insanity in sports started, and where it’s gotten us now.

 

Kyrie Irving preaches the Earth is flat

This really all started when then-Cleveland Cavalier Kyrie Irving went on former teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye’s podcast, telling their audience that NASA lies to us all about the world being round. That moment went on to go viral, spurring others in the NBA, the NFL, and beyond to question beliefs they’ve long held since grade school and to convert to the side of the Flat Earth-ers. Whether it was for the moment’s buzz or for life, we’ll never really know.

There is, in fact, a good ending to this story, though. Irving has come out recently to apologize for his remarks, (and Curry too, actually, for the abovementioned mishap) realizing that his statements have had a profound effect on a society that believes him and looks up to him. “At the time I didn’t realize the effect,” he said. “I was definitely at that time, ‘I’m a big conspiracy theorist. You can’t tell me anything.’ For all the science teachers, everybody coming up to me like, ‘You know I have to reteach my whole curriculum!’ I’m sorry. I apologize.”

 

WWE wrestler AJ Styles doesn’t believe the Earth is flat, but could be wrong

Here’s an interesting one. On one of WWE’s shows back in 2017, current WWE champion Daniel Bryan implied that then-villainous wrestler AJ Styles may believe that the Earth is flat. (Styles generally skews right-wing with his politics, having come from the American South.)

Styles went on to deny such heinous accusations, but did actually offer up an interesting “but” to the whole thing. He says he’s not a flat-earther, but he does enjoy a good conspiracy theory.

“Although I’m not a flat-earther, there are some things that, like, make sense. But then again, satellites, the curvature of the Earth if you’re a sniper, you’ve got to take all that into account,” Styles said. “I’m not a flat-earther, but they bring up some interesting points. It’s interesting and I think you should be able to question anything you want.”

 

Ronda Rousey believes 9/11 was an inside job

But before Irving went viral for calling the Earth flat, former UFC and current WWE champion Ronda Rousey would dish her own conspiracy theory.

On Joe Rogan’s podcast (why is it always a podcast? That may be a conspiracy theory all by itself) Rousey proclaimed that she believed the September 11 attacks and the collapse of the World Trade Center were inside jobs designed to demolish the towers.

Other sports personalities joining Rousey include the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who did actually ask a US general whether 9/11 was faked.

 

Steph Curry starts a new conspiracy theory

And now it’s all come to this. Our conspiracy du jour.

On an episode of the Winging It podcast (told you, the real conspiracy is that these things all come out in podcasts), Curry, from out of the blue, announces that mankind has never really been on the moon. He doesn’t explicitly say how we faked it, or what NASA would get out of faking it (presumably to embezzle funding). The hosts of the podcast, the Atlanta Hawks’ Vince Carter and Kent Bazemore, seemed to agree with him.

Curry said he didn’t want to start a new conspiracy theory, but I guess he just did—or, rather, he revived the original “Earth is flat” conspiracy before it was cool to call the Earth flat.

NASA jumped on the opportunity to make this a teaching lesson for the three-time NBA Champion and two-time Most Valuable Player, telling Curry that he’s very much welcome to tour the agency’s lunar labs, where they had 842 pounds of moon rock brought back by astronauts over the years. They also took the time to let the world know that they’re planning to head back to the Moon quite soon.