On Thursday, Duke’s Jahlil Okafor was selected third overall in the NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. On Saturday, he was introduced to his new city by the team at a press conference. And by Sunday, the Internet had already sent itself into a tizzy over a bite-sized clip that appeared to show Okafor disrespectfully dropping his jersey to the Sixers jersey to the floor like it was on fire.
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) June 28, 2015
The Jahlil Okafor jersey drop deserves this remix. https://t.co/fOa33Kiknk
— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) June 28, 2015
Cue blog posts:
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) June 28, 2015
Jahlil Okafor Sure Looks Thrilled To Be A Philadelphia 76er -- http://t.co/O7xpG8ekU2
— BroBible (@BroBible) June 29, 2015
People started speculating about what it meant. Was it a knowing drop, one meant to send a message to Sixers GM Sam Hinkie? Was it a sign he was upset he wasn’t picked second by the Los Angeles Lakers, or that he didn’t drop to the Knicks at four? Was it a political act? Could this tell us anything about the 2016 presidential election?
People are really reading into this Jahlil Okafor jersey-drop thing, huh?
— Jared Dubin (@JADubin5) June 28, 2015
To give you just a taste of how much people started dissecting the clip, some guy even decided to actually make this argument:
Some people drop the mic. Jahlil Okafor dropped his jersey. It's the sense of entitlement these kids have today. Shoe companies did all this
— Peter Yannopoulos (@PeteYannopoulos) June 29, 2015
When I saw the video on Sunday, I laughed, but I also wondered what it ~meant~! How could you not? It's not every day a player of Okafor's stature disrespects his new team like that. And besides, it was a near-perfect Internet moment: short, funny, clear and, like The Dress, divisive. Were you someone who believed The Drop revealed something, or someone who didn’t?
The only problem? Okafor didn’t disrespectfully drop his jersey to the floor. At worst, he disrespectfully dropped it to the table. We know this because some self-starter edited out the noise surrounding the scene and created a clear view of Okafor placing his jersey on the table, albeit a bit quicker and rougher than Philadelphia’s other draft picks. Reminder: NBA centers are really, really tall.
By the way, people, Jahlil Okafor didn't drop his jersey to the floor. He was laying it on a table. pic.twitter.com/XdcblaVN1H
— Josh Sánchez (@jnsanchez) June 28, 2015
The lesson, as always: If a story seems too good (or too well-packaged) to be true, it probably is, especially when it’s based around a delicious, bite-sized GIF.
Of all the ridiculous overreactions to wake up to on Twitter, #Shirtghazi is even more ridiculous than I thought possible.
— Max Rappaport (@MaxRappaport) June 28, 2015
Of course, like with everything on the Internet, not everyone agrees.
“Nah, this doesn't change it,” my colleague Lucy McCalmont, a Knicks fan, said to me. “It's not even the flicking-it-down thing. He's like the first to wrap it up, turn and go.”