NBA Commissioner David Stern astonished the American sports world and the international scientific community today by announcing that the league’s first European expansion team would be the Geneva Colliders.
“We have long thought that scientists in general, and high-energy physicists in particular, are a neglected part of our fan base. So the recent flurry of press coverage and public enthusiasm surrounding the discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN made this an opportune time for action.”
Stern explained that the new team, the Geneva Colliders, is named for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the scientific machine used for the Higgs discovery. Said Stern, “They offered to rename it ‘Big Hadron Collider’ to match colloquial references to our taller players as ‘bigs’. We felt that was both unnecessary and inappropriate. We don’t want to do any re-naming just for commercial gain. We are considering, however, asking Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy to begin referring to them during broadcasts as ‘biggs,’ especially if Nike and other sponsors think there is a way to turn it to advantage.”
As recently as this past February, Stern had indicated in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune that any decision about adding teams in Europe would happen on a much longer time scale, perhaps a decade. When asked by stunned reporters where Geneva had previously ranked relative to the more obvious contenders such as London, Paris, Barcelona, and Milan, Stern replied, “Right after Athens, about 243rd.”
He went on, “As the ‘Linsanity’ surrounding Jeremy Lin’s out-of-nowhere emergence grew in New York last season, a fan told me that it was just like a virtual particle emerging out of the vacuum. Turns out he was a physicist, and he very patiently explained to me what that meant and why it was such a good metaphor. Look it up on Wikipedia.”
When asked how that fit with Lin’s going to the Houston Rockets, Stern replied, “Perfectly. Virtual particles have very short lifetimes. They disappear quickly back into the vacuum. To a New Yorker, anywhere beyond the five Boroughs is the vacuum. That includes Houston.”
Stern continued, “Our more important insight was that unexpected developments can be very beneficial for our fans, to say nothing of various revenue streams. So when ‘Higgsteria’ erupted two weeks ago, we convened a meeting to see if we could turn it to advantage. Today you are hearing the results,” he said, pointing to a significant bump on an otherwise declining curve.
Although the starting roster is still being negotiated with general managers around the league — all of whom were taken completely by surprise based on not-for-attribution phone calls and text messages — Stern did announce that the following players would be going to Geneva:
Darren Collision (G), Dallas Mavericks
Nick Collision (F/C), Oklahoma City Thunder
Landry Field (G), Toronto Raptors
Cory Higgs (G), Charlotte Bobcats
Gustavo Ion (F/C), Orlando Magic
Luis Scalar (F), Phoenix Suns
Tiago Splitter (F/C), San Antonio Spurs
According to Stern, the league has instituted legal proceedings, under an obscure clause of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, to change the spelling of the names of all of these players (except Splitter). “The goal” he said, “is to provide more appeal to the anticipated fan base in Geneva.” None of these players could be reached immediately for comment.
When asked about the obvious absence of any superstars, such as LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, Stern said, “We did consider some next-level proto-stars, in particular Blake Griffin. But our own public, in-house analysis after the play-offs this Spring regrettably indicated that Griffin’s one-dimensional game would not fit in this new franchise. The Colliders need all four spacetime dimensions.”
In a further surprise, Commissioner Stern introduced Sir Richard Branson, whose Virgin Money has a deal for shirt sponsorship with Newcastle United. Branson has agreed to provide sponsored jerseys to the Colliders for the first five years at no cost to the league or team or players. He displayed a sample, with the name “Field” in large letters above the coveted number “5-σ.” Said Branson, “My primary motive was to help global sports, but I also wanted to be first in line for commercial development just in case CERN does eventually produce micro-black holes.”
When asked about the playing venue for the new team, Stern responded that, while there is not yet a suitable arena, “There is a lot of above-ground real estate within the circumference of the LHC ring. I am very certain that we can construct something there on our time frame.” When asked what that time frame was, he smiled enigmatically and said that it was “very uncertain. As a matter of principle.”
The foregoing is offered in the fine tradition of other Higgs boson humor, some of the best of which was compiled by Michael Schulder of CNN: Higgs Boson humorists get mass following. Having said which, this is obscure even beyond much of that, depending as it does on a tiny overlap of HEP and NBA circles in the Venn diagram. As David Stern (putatively) said above, look it up on Wikipedia.