One apparent stipulation of the NBA lockout ending is that each team be able to shed one hideous contract without penalty via an amnesty clause. Bill Simmons and friends have already made the decisions for the owners at Grantland.com, but the potential for this idea does not end there. Hypothetically speaking, here is what the past would look like if the powers-that-be could undo bad outcomes:
1990: After the World Cup qualifying round produces soccer powerhouses such as Austria, Scotland, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechloslovakia, Romania, Costa Rica, and the United States, FIFA officials elect to decide the winner by drawing names out of a hat. Following an uproar, a public statement is made: “It’s either this or inevitable slaughter (from Italy, Brazil, Argentina, England, and West Germany.)” Fans applaud the decision.
1991-1994: The Buffalo Bills’ front office reminds the players to enjoy the game for what it is and that positive energy is far more important than even one Super Bowl ring out of four possible. It is worth noting that the Bills previous managers have retroactively fled and the team is now being run by Phil Jackson.
1995: Michael Jordan agrees to come back to basketball on the condition that the media takes a moment to reflect on how his baseball career actually went. “.252?” Jordan asked incredulously. “You guys are calling a .252 batting average a failure in my first year? Think about that for a second and maybe I’ll dunk again.”
1996: Cleveland Browns fans retroactively elect not to protest the team from being sold. “Looks like we weren’t missing much,” an anonymous fan said.
Hulk Hogan, a closet Festivus participant, airs his grievances against Vince McMahon before wrestling him to the ground, effectively ending the Festivus of 1996.
Andre the Giant was reportedly disappointed by the betrayal but thought the aluminum pole was a nice touch.
1997: Acting commissioner Bud Selig places the Yankees and Dodgers in the World Series after the ratings from Marlins-Indians threatened to end baseball as we knew it.
Mike Tyson comes back to eat the rest of Holyfield’s face after seeing the ear bite launch his fame and perceived insanity to even greater heights.
Tiger Woods spends his Masters winnings on a sweet “Bachelor 4 Life” tattoo and goes on to win 31 more majors.
1998: Sports Illustrated spends over $1 billion on the rights to Monday Night Football after retroactively buying ESPN when it had the chance.
Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa mysteriously disappear after hitting 40 home runs each.
1999: After winning Super Bowl XXXIII, Denver Broncos running back Terrelle Davis grabs the microphone and yells “This one’s for Terrelle!”
Usain Bolt travels back to 1999 just to beat self-proclaimed “Fastest Man Alive” Michael Johnson while running backward.
2000: Tiger Woods sets 27 PGA Tour records in one year, but is sent to the hospital after attempting his 28th record: outdrinking the 12-time-reigning champion, John Daly. Daly breaks his own record with 29 shots in one hour.
Bob Knight remains at Indiana University after the Athletic Director replaces all folding chairs with a giant leather sofa, which is far too heavy for Knight to throw.
2001: Barry Bonds saves everyone a lot of trouble and changes his jersey number to asterisk before hitting 73 home runs.
Tiger Woods becomes the first golfer to hold 4 major relationships at one time.
David Stern dresses 150 tall men in official NBA uniforms; Michael Jordan announces comeback with “Wizards” and plays against actors. It’s sad, but less so.
2002: San Jose SaberCats win 52-14 over the Arizona Rattlers in ArenaBowl XVI. I’ll let you look up whether any part of that sentence is a real thing.
Kobe Bryant releases retaliatory rap album about Shaq, splits team into East Lakers and West Lakers. Shaq’s East Lakers beat the West Lakers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.
2003: The Miami Hurricanes easily beat a coked up Ohio State team for the National Championship after inviting the Buckeyes to their pre-game party.
2004: LSU wins the Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl by default after calling for investigations of USC, Miami, and Ohio State.
Ichiro Suzuki is named the “Fastest Player in Baseball” after running out of Seattle forever in less than one day.
2005: The 2004-2005 NHL season cancels Gary Bettman; everything is fine.
2006: Former quarterback Bubby Brister is controversially inducted into the Hall of Fame as an “Ask Madden” selection, which is awarded to John Madden at his 2006 induction.
The Dallas Mavericks defeat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals despite four consecutive 35-point games from Dwyane Wade– because, you know, it takes a team to win a championship.
2007: Peyton Manning is awarded the first Most Valuable Player Amid Really Poor Perfomances trophy after surviving Rex Grossman in a rainstorm.
NBA referree Tim Donaghy is arrested after betting on a lockout. Donaghy claims he “did not influence games to lead to a lockout, but merely saw mediocre players being vastly overpaid with franchise-killing contracts.” Stern calls these claims “ridiculous”.
At Selig’s gunpoint, George J. Mitchell holds an embarrassing press conference, stating that “this is not a report of players on steroids, but in actuality, my list of the dreamiest players in Major League Baseball.” Roger Clemens is flattered.
2008: Bill Belichick leaves David Tyree wide open, knowing the odds of him making that catch again are approximately ERROR.
2009: In a thrilling March Madness nail-biter, Pitt defeats Villanova after a last second academic ineligibility.