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Eric Freeman

Stan Van Gundy has a solution for the haunted hotel

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

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Oklahoma City is one of the least liked road trips in the NBA, both because of the young Thunder and the typical accommodations in town. No, NBA teams don't spend their nights at a Super 8 but they do occasionally have to contend with ghosts.

The Skirvin Hotel in OKC pays home to visiting NBA teams regularly. It also is rumored to house spirits from another world. Josh Robbins has more for the Orlando Sentinel:

"Yeah, I was scared the last time I stayed there," Magic power forward Brandon Bass(notes) admitted.

The legend says many decades ago, the owner of the hotel, William Skirvin, had an affair with a maid that resulted in a pregnancy. Supposedly, the woman was locked in a top-floor room, grew despondent and eventually jumped out a window with the baby in her arms.

The ghost stories don't stop Rodney Powell, the Magic's operations manager, from booking reservations for the team at the hotel. "You can't go wrong when 28 or so of the other NBA teams stay there," Powell said in the Magic's locker room before Thursday night's game.

The hotel has become famous over the past three seasons, most notably for a Craig Sager feature during last season's playoffs that terrified most with its images of the reporter's thighs. But, as Powell says, each NBA team deals with the Skirvin, so it can't be that bad.

Yet it's still an issue that some players struggle with, including Bass. So Magic coach Stan Van Gundy has a great idea to make everything better. From the same piece:

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy is a man who takes a scientific approach to basketball, often relying on statistics to confirm or dispel his theories. Not surprisingly, he doesn't believe the rumors either.

"I don't buy into any of it," he said about 90 minutes before Thursday's tipoff at the Ford Center. "What haunts me are guys like Kevin Durant(notes). So, I would say this building is haunted because of guys like him, as are most of the buildings in the NBA. I haven't run into a haunted hotel, just haunted arenas."

Great plan, Stan, just get scared of actual basketball players instead of ghosts. You see, most guys in the NBA are supremely confident, so they simply respect their opponents instead of having nightmares about them. Better to imagine Kevin Durant as some kind of willowy ghoul or Russell Westbrook(notes) as an ornery sleestak instead of fearing ghosts in a perfectly suitable hotel.

Of course, this idea may have backfired last night. Kevin Durant finished with 36 points on 13-of-17 shooting in last night's 125-124 win. Maybe the players weren't guarding him because they thought he was a scary ghost!

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