- Darren Abate/AP
In the days since Donald Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway defended the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd with her now-infamous “alternative facts” comment, the sports world has taken a liking to the phrase.
Politics and sports can sometimes have a natural crossover, but “alternative facts” has taken on new life in the sports world, particularly with the NBA.
On Sunday, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was asked about being called “former Orlando Magic great” as the Warriors beat the Magic. Kerr questioned the title, pointing out that he only spent three months with the franchise.
A reporter then asked him if that was his version of an alternative fact, and Kerr jabbed press secretary Sean Spicer, saying, “Yes, Sean Spicer will be talking about my Magic career any second now. 14,000 points, greatest player in Magic history.”
Warriors wing Andre Iguodala also seemed to get a kick out of it:
Alternative facts b!!!
— Andre Iguodala (@andre) January 22, 2017
The Dallas Stars got in on the joke, posting a their crowd size on the jumbotron during a game, mocking Spicer’s testy press conference about the inauguration crowd.
Stars Jumbotron with a topical joke. pic.twitter.com/9vsmTG1Agj
— Kate Morrison (@unlikelyfanatic) January 22, 2017
From there, the joke gained momentum.
On Monday, the University of Tennessee ribbed Conway with a special section in their game notes titled “alternative facts.” The facts were, obviously, ridiculous.
— @GrantRamey (@GrantRamey) January 23, 2017
On Monday night, Gregg Popovich, following a tirade against Trump, also mocked the comment while explaining why Kawhi Leonard was sitting out of a matchup against the Nets. Popovich also seemed to launch into a Trump impression thereafter.
“Kawhi [Leonard] is out with an injury that’s not really an injury, but hopefully it will heal quickly. That’s a figurative statement. It sounds like some of the things that are going on politically in the world. I apologize. I just gave an alternative fact. I shouldn’t have done that. But it wasn’t a lie, so don’t try to pin that on me. I’m tired of you guys pinning that on me.”
TNT’s Ernie Johnson and Marv Albert also both made “alternative facts” jokes on Monday before and during the Knicks win over the Pacers.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens also mocked the comment as the Celtics prepared for their “funeral” game against the Wizards on Tuesday.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens after saying they were down 40 to Wiz in Nov.: ‘That’s an alternative fact. That’s how they roll [in DC.]”
— Chase Hughes (@chasehughesCSN) January 24, 2017
It’s unusual for a political meme to get so much play in the sports world, particularly in a humorous fashion. But if the early days of the Trump administration are any indication, two worlds may continue to cross over more.