An Investigation that will Shock and Horrify

Published: February 10, 2008

Recently I, your loyal Hornets247 Blogger, began a series of undercover investigations into one of the players that make up your New Orleans Hornets.  Risking life and limb, I have uncovered a terrible secret involving occult arts most foul.  I also have proof of active participation, perhaps even coercion by the members of the Hornets staff.  I must warn you, this article will not be for the faint of heart, and that you should only continue if you have not eaten recently.

Before I can present my evidence, I must provide some background, and will start at the beginning of the season, with the courageous man known simply as Predrag “Peja” Stojakovic.

Having suffered a horrible injury in the 2006-2007 season, Predrag had returned to the Hornets for the beginning of training camp, determined to regain his all-star form. In an interview with reporters during training camp, he told his interviewers about his feelings for the Hornets, and the lengths to which he would go to regain his previous form.

“Really, the Hornets gave me a chance when no one else would.  Jeff Bower is the best person on the Planet, and If George Shinn wasn’t already married, I’d consider it, let me tell you.  I just love these guys, and this team.  I’d do anything to help them.  Anything.”

Predrag came out strong in the training camp, and at first all seemed well, but then some problems began to crop up during preseason games.  Fighting through back soreness, he was limited to short minutes in a pre-season fraught with losses and poor shooting from the 6-10 Serbian Forward.  During one particularly tough stretch, this blogger discoverd the first of several hints that perhaps not all was right between Predrag and the Hornets.  Here is a translation of Predrag in an interview with  a Serbain reporter following a particularly tough Hornets loss in the preseason.

“Does my back hurt?  Yes.  I’ve been trying some new things recommended by Terry, but they are really weird.  I mean, I had to go get this live chicken, right? And then . . . oh wait, here comes Terry – I gotta go man.  Oh, and don’t say anything about the chicken, alright?”

The reporter goes on to explain that Terry Koffler, the Hornets trainer, then arrived and shepherded Predrag to the locker room.

When the season started, Predrag continued to have trouble.  Only averaging 13.6 points per game on 39.7% shooting overall, he had some terrible performances during the month: including games of 2, 4, 5, and 7 points apiece.  As his struggles continued he grew noticeably more stressed, his once cleanly-shaven visage slowly became covered by a scraggly beard.  But perhaps the greatest sign of what may have been occuring on the trainer’s table became clear after a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.  After sinking a career high 10 three pointers, Predrag gave this exuberant interview to a sideline reporter.

“For Three!  Yes!  How did I do it?  Wow, you’ll never believe it.  You know that Terry guy, yes? He’s got this book, yes?  It’s amazing!  It tells me what to do before the game.  It has some great chants that help me focus and stuff.  I’m not sure what language it’s in, but you know – it’s something like Beelzebub blah blah, Mephisticles, blah blah.  It’s amazing, man!”  Predrag pauses and frowns, “But it does have some weird side effects afterwards though – you know, like waking up the next day not knowing what happened the night before and your hands covered in blo – what?  Oh yeah, that’s Terry’s calling, and you don’t want to get on his bad side, if you know what I mean, ha ha!”
What followed in the locker room is unknown, but after that game, Predrag was much more circumspect around reporters, and even disappeared briefly in mid-December.  The team claimed he had suffered a pulled groin, but dark rumors abound in and around the Hornets organization, several revolving around late night calls and strange trips into the bayou with heavy, plastic-wrapped bundles. 

Soon, Predrag returned, and at first seemed fine, but he then again showed some sign of struggling, playing poorly against the Clippers and Bobcats.  After another poor game against Cleveland, several shocked fans reported seeing him arguing with GM Jeff Bower after the game as Terry Koffler stood menacingly nearby, his eyes glittering eerily.

And then, in Mid-January came the events that caused me to begin this horrifying investigation into the Hornets organization.

After a terrible 0-5 game against Houston in the middle of January, Peja suddenly become very consistent, averaging exactly 20 points a game on 54% shooting, 57% from three point range.  Even during losses, he was usually the lone bright spot.  This period of excellent play also coincided with a sudden change in his personal hygiene.  Suddenly, he no longer reported to games clean shaven or with a scraggly unkept beard.  Instead, he began appearing with a carefully barbered goatee.  At first, it seemed to me an innocent change, but now I am convinced it was the day that everything changed, and as Predrag’s play grew more and more strange, my suspicions began to grow.  Here are some of the strange things that occured under the watchful eye of that dark, yet well-formed goatee:

  • He played tougher, drawing almost as many fouls in that 11-game span as he had all season.
  • He began rebounding, almost doubling his previous rebounding average.
  • He produced a double double in one game
  • He hit a pair of cold-blooded clutch shots in Phoenix

After those two amazing shots in Phoenix, I had to look into what was happening in New Orleans.  I quickly uncovered the interviews described above, and then I found what I was looking for by using special development techniques on two pictures: one taken of Peja before the Houston game, and one during the stretch afterwards.  I think you’ll be able to tell which is which.  Brace yourself.  This will be shocking.

It’s all clear now, isn’t it?  Peja, what have you done?

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