Wizards Get Hypnotized
RICHMOND -- I arrived in Richmond a short while ago, but I quickly realized that the place to be last night was at the team hotel, where Flip Saunders hired hypnotist John-Ivan Palmer to play mind games with the players. Palmer, a Minneapolis resident, describes himself on his website as "the World's Fastest and Funniest Hypnotist" and he apparently has worked with Saunders before when Saunders was with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Mike Miller wasn't willing to give the inside scoop on what happened. "It's like the commercial, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. What happens in hypnotism stays in hypnotism," Miller said with a laugh.
But after asking a few more players, I got the inside scoop. It sounded like a great team-building exercise, as he invited DeShawn Stevenson, Gilbert Arneas, Nick Young, Mike James, Caron Butler and even Wizards Vice President of Basketball Administration Tommy Sheppard to the stage. You can probably guess which player succumbed to the hypnosis and was most entertaining. Yep? Nick Young.
After getting Young to fall into a trance in about 20 seconds, Palmer convinced Young to gallop around the stage with a balloon, as if he was riding a horse. Young also did an impersonation of James Brown, of which he said afterward that he has no recollection. Mike James also forgot his last name and could be heard barking from time to time. Deshawn Stevenson said he had others moving their waists as if they were shaking a hula hoop.
"That was funny. Wow," said Butler, who added that JaVale McGee recorded everything on his camera phone (when is that video going up?). "The only thing that could top that was David Blaine or Criss Angel or something like that."
Palmer's magic didn't work on everyone. He tried to get Stevenson and Butler to budge, but it wasn't happening. Stevenson said Palmer tried to touch his face. "It felt weird," Stevenson said. "I told him to 'Get off me.' He got mad and told us to get up."
Stevenson then tapped the new tattoo of a crack on the top of his head and started laughing. "He couldn't crack me," Stevenson said. "I told you that's the only thing you're getting right here."
Asked if he literally couldn't feel his face, Stevenson busted into laughter and stumbled away. The man who said on Monday that he might retire in patented move of waving his hand in front of his face said, "No. I couldn't feel my face."
Stevenson also gave another explanation of the backward "P" on his face, again explaining that he was a fan of the Pirates and Barry Bonds growing up. But why is it backward?
"The tattoo artist said I'm looking at it [in a mirror] I can read it," he said. "I don't care about nobody else. It's my life, it's my face. I'm looking at it. So it's a 'P.' I like looking at myself, everybody know that."
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