Cleat Geeks

Phelps is “Golden” in Curtain of Distraction

Yes, we are talking about Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. Wait, check that, the most decorated Olympic swimmer in history Michael Phelps. Who can now add to his impressive resume; succesful participant in the “Curtain of Distraction.”CurtainofDistraction2

Your first question is more than likely. What in the world is a “Curtain of Distraction?” The Curtain of Distraction is the brainchild of some founding members of the Arizona State student group known as the 942 Crew. When an opposing player shoots free throws toward the Arizona State student section, students seated closest to the floor set up a pair of black curtains directly behind the basket and part them to reveal an often hilarious, always weird mystery character.

Without further ado, lets set the scene. There is 13:47 to go in the second half of the Oregon State at Arizona State University basketball game Thursday night. Freshman Stephen Thompson at the free throw line, Arizona State students part the curtain behind the basket to revealed a shirtless Phelps with a swim cap on his head and a half dozen gold medals around his neck. Thompson tried to maintain his composure as Phelps pantomimed a freestyle stroke, but the 67.7 percent foul shooter had his first attempt rim out.

Phelps was again behind the curtain when it parted a second time, but this time he wore nothing but his swim cap, a bow tie and a Speedo. Thompson again missed his free throw as a smiling Phelps clapped his hands and encouraged the roaring crowd to get louder. But, just so you get the full effect, here is a video courtesy of the Pac 12 Network.

“I don’t think you could have written it any better with the Oregon State player missing both free throws,” Arizona State associate athletic director Bill Kennedy told Yahoo Sports on Thursday night. “You could see the look on his face. He couldn’t help but look. He was trying to hold himself together, but you could tell by the look in his eyes he was going to miss the first one. Missing the second one was just icing on the cake.”

Let me see if I can guess your second question. How in the world did they get Michael Phelps to appear behind the curtain? Bob Bowman is Michael Phelps’ longtime swimming coach. Bowman now just happens to be the coach of Arizona State University’s swimming program. When members of the 942 Crew found that out, they approached Kennedy and asked if he could find out whether Phelps had any interest in making a Curtain of Distraction cameo.

Kennedy waited until the week before the Arizona vs. Arizona State swim meet to ask Bowman and Phelps. His sales pitch was that an appearance from Phelps could help draw more students to that meet. But, turns out Phelps didn’t need any coercing. He had actually seen the Curtain of Distraction at a previous game earlier this season, and he was eager to participate. Kennedy then told him the students were hoping he’d be the centerpiece of a Chippendales routine. And there you have it, a bow tie wearing swim cap daunting, speedo distraction behind a golden curtain was born.

“He’s like, ‘No problem,’ Kennedy said. “He couldn’t have been nicer. The funny thing is he absolutely loved it. He couldn’t have been more excited when the guy missed both shots. I know he had a great time.”

But we are not quite done. We have to answer another question that has to be circling inside your head. What else has been lurking behind the “Curtain of Distraction” at ASU home games?

Parts of this article written by Jeff Eisenberg

Remember last years Super Bowl with Katy Perry and the shark? That’s right, Curtain of Distraction!katiePerryCurtainofDestraction

Or possibly this one, that will hit you like a wrecking ball. Cyrus Curtain of Distraction!CyrusCurtainof Distraction

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