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."

By Michael Lee |  September 29, 2009; 2:29 PM ET MMPG: Week 15
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He should have told NY to play like Kerry Kittles in his prime and left him under the spell until June.

Posted by: elfreako | September 29, 2009 2:41 PM

I never realized what a nut job Stevenson is. I still like him though and hope he is healed up and adds some good play this year.

Posted by: Blurred | September 29, 2009 2:59 PM

nice one elfreako, but why Kerry Kittles? Is it the body type? I would have said Reggie Miller or (gulp) Richard Hamilton.

Posted by: ThatGuy2 | September 29, 2009 3:25 PM

I've heard of him. He's really good. He once hypnotized Eddie Jordan into thinking that Michael Ruffin was a center and Jarvis Hayes was a power forward.

Posted by: CBell29 | September 29, 2009 3:25 PM

Maybe this was Flip's answer to the learning to getting this team to play defense.

Posted by: flohrtv | September 29, 2009 3:29 PM

Could he have hypnotized the Wizards into believing they can play defense? Especially defending the 3. Geez, get a hand up why don't ya?

Posted by: sankaman50 | September 29, 2009 3:32 PM

Tough act to follow.

Maybe Jamison will lighten up and show some support for his (younger) teammates.

Chemistry is a large part of the equation. Take a look at Snyder and the Skins.

The Wiz are going to be the hottest game in town this year, for the first time I can remember.

Posted by: Izman | September 29, 2009 4:04 PM

I think some of the people who post on here have been hypnotized for years the way they blindly follow and listen to anything abe and ernie tell them.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 29, 2009 5:05 PM

Micheal, That was a great article about Flip Saunders in today's paper. I think the impact of hiring Suanders will be actually the most important off season move Ernie made.

Not that the move to get Foye and Miller won't be big. That could come off looking as good as the Butler for Kwame swap.

In the long run Rubio could come over and be a valuable NBA player. But he's trying to put himself into position to have a Euro-Team bid up his services and dodge the rookie salary cap.

Minnesota will be lucky to get much return on it's investment. A team with the money to bid for Rubio is going to try and lowball the price to get the rights to him.

We saw this game before with the "Spanish Micheal Jordan", we didn't need to sit through a repeat with the "Spanish Pistol Pete". Let Minnesota get gamed, in the meantime we've got Foye and Miller.

If they start talking about a "Spanish Wilt Chamberlain" then the Wiz should start paying attention...

Posted by: flohrtv | September 29, 2009 5:07 PM

Mainly because Kittles played defense. I know he had knee issues but he was a complete player on both ends.

Posted by: elfreako | September 29, 2009 5:47 PM

Someone tell DS he's not funny - just a moron. Guess he didn't learn from looking at Mike Tyson's face. For a player that was arguably the worst player in the NBA last year (~32%FG, 40%FT), he sure has an awful lot to say. We'll see how much of that was injury - something tells me he'll conveniently claim another injury if he still sucks. BTW, the Wiz are LOADED at SG - they should cut him if he's not back on form.

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | September 29, 2009 5:52 PM

He should have told NY to play like Kerry Kittles in his prime and left him under the spell until June.

Posted by: elfreako | September 29, 2009 2:41 PM

LOL! That was HILARIOUS!!!!!! Wish it were true cause Kerry Kittles was a real good player in his prime.

Posted by: musicman65000 | September 29, 2009 6:21 PM

Ummm, will someone tell Stevenson that facial tattoos are for ugly people, dummy!

Posted by: sammy5 | September 29, 2009 8:14 PM

Why som NBA players fail to show a sign of maturity before they get the 1st gray hair ?

Posted by: gtefferra | September 29, 2009 9:26 PM

Maybe the tat on DS's head will help him defend by the players that he's checking being distracted.

Posted by: justman1 | September 30, 2009 2:07 PM

Pretty interesting team building exercise. Better than the corporate build something so an egg won't break or fall backwards trustingly into your coworkers arms.

DS had a herniated disk last year for all the haters. Not saying he is a great player, but he is a good player when healthy.

Should have hypnotized NY and others and suggested they become better defensively. Defend the balloon NY!

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 1, 2009 2:44 PM

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