Yep, when the three stars traveled to Fox News to promote this year's NBA 2K11, this happened.
Because why promote a video game when you can talk about Barack Obama's tax policies?
Sure, none of these young NBA stars expected to be met with an interrogation of their attitudes toward government spending, but... that's what makes it fun!
For the record, this evil-sounding English fella definitely thought this idea was super clever. "These young black men... Obviously Obama supporters. But ALSO millionaires, so probably bitter about taxation. A little hypocrisy, no? (deep, evil belly laugh)."
A friend of mine was in the studio for this, and called it an "unreal, awkward experience."
To the players' credit, though, each of them handled the questions pretty nimbly. As the hosts fired away, the players mostly deflected things. Andre Iguodala was the most impressive. When Creepy British Dude asked, "How do you feel about losing half your money in taxes?" they had this exchange...
Iguodala: "My pockets are really hurtin' right now." (laughs)
Creepy British Dude: (misses the joke) "So you'd be in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts?"
Iguodala: (serious) "No, I think President Obama came in with a plan, and he came into a situation where--
Creepy British Dude: (cuts off Iguodala, raises voice) HOW do you feel about losing half your income in taxes?
Iguodala: I think it hurts... But in order for us to make--
Creepy British Dude: Thank you. It hurts.
It continued on like that with the others. But the entire exchange is best encapsulated by Josh Smith's answer.
Creepy British Dude: You're making millions, and you're losing half your money to the tax guy. You can't be happy about that.
Josh Smith: Ah, nobody's ever happy losing money.
Creepy British Dude: So you'd be in favor of extending the tax cuts?
This is like saying... "Josh, you clearly didn't enjoy college. That's why you skipped it altogether. I take it you're in favor of eliminating higher education?" Or, "Josh, you've agreed that practice is your least favorite part of the day, and napping is your favorite. So I take you're in favor of replacing practice with napping?"
That, my friends, is how you conduct a leading interview with someone completely unprepared for those sort of questions. And the NBA players did fine, mostly laughing it off.
But just for the record, it would have been spectacular if the players had turned to the co-host on this program, former senator Rick Santorum. They could have said the following:
: "Rick, remember when you chastised victims of Hurricane Katrina?"
Santorum: (caught off guard) (nervous laughter)
Josh Smith: "Yeah, you said 'people who don't heed those warnings ... put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings [...] There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving.'"
Santorum: "Well, I later clarified--"
Andre Iguodala: "Oh, no. We remember. You later blamed the National Weather Service, saying, 'the weather service gave no warning, or not sufficient warning in my opinion, as to the effects.'
Creepy British Dude: "Exactly."
Westbrook: "Don't get too excited, Jeeves. Six months earlier, Rick argued that the National Weather Service should be prohibited from publishing weather data to the public. So, Rick, one minute, we don't need the weather service at all, the next, we're blaming the weather service for not getting the message out to New Orleans?
Santorum: (nervous laughter, sweating)
Iguodala: "Funny... Because that service depends on taxpayers' money to operate. And first you said we should privatize weather data, but then when something bad happened, you said we needed it to reach as many people as possible. But it can only do that with taxpayers' money. Weird how that works, right?
Santorum: "Well, to clarify..."
Westbrook: "No, no. We understand. AccuWeather is the biggest provider of private weather data, and they're in your home state. A big donor. We understand, bro. Did you get taxed on all of their campaign contributions?
Iguodala: "It's too bad your untaxed campaign contributions from AccuWeather couldn't have gone to the Weather Service. Then maybe you could have helped some of those selfish people who stayed in New Orleans during Katrina."
Smith: [hands Santorum an iPhone] "All this stuff is on Wikipedia, fam. How are you on TV?
[Screen goes black]
Yeah, that would have been awesome. Then again, why would the players have prepared to ambush Santorum? They were just there to promote a video game...