At one point in time, Chris “Birdman” Anderson was one of the most popular Denver Nuggets of the last decade. His free spirit, flashy persona, and high-energy game made him a fan favorite, and the seven seasons he spent in a Nuggets uniform hopefully will be enough to qualify him as one of the franchise’s most beloved players when everything is said and done.
But an unfortunate incident led to his release and tainted Birdman’s time with the Nuggets. Anderson was part of an investigation focusing on child pornography, and with a cloud of suspicion hanging over his head, he was let go by the Nuggets in the summer of 2012. After several months out of the league, Anderson finally found a new home in the NBA with the Miami Heat. And he’s thrived ever since arriving in South Beach.
Now, Newsweek‘s Flinder Boyd has an outstanding article that chronicles the ordeal which nearly cost Anderson his career in the NBA. After an extensive investigation, Anderson was cleared of any wrongdoing, as he was reportedly a victim of one of the scariest cases of “catfishing” ever documented. He was in the midst of Miami’s championship run when he first received news about important breaks in the case, and his reaction speaks volumes about the kind of teammate Anderson is. From Newsweek, here’s how he reacted when the investigator contacted him about the discovery of a potential suspect:
“This was the moment Andersen had been praying for over eight agonizing months. But he also knew that any public revelations, even one that exonerated him, would distract his team on their quest for a title, so he did something almost unthinkable: He ignored Cronce.
His play in the playoffs was remarkable. At one point he played six straight games without missing a shot and set an NBA playoff record for field goal percentage. In late June, when the Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7, they had their title. Andersen, a pariah a few short months before, stood at half-court with LeBron James as confetti rained down on him. He was a champion.
While his teammates went out to celebrate that night, Andersen immediately returned home with his fiancée. He sat down in his living room in a subdued state, according to Bryant, silently sipping a cup of sweet tea.
He would have to wait another three months for the investigation to conclude; in September 2013, Cronce and Olson began a tour of the United States to talk to many of Chartier’s victims. They sat down first with Andersen and Bryant in Colorado. Andersen listened intently, several times shaking his head in disbelief. The Birdman was finally free.”
The entire article is equal parts terrifying and amazing. Every Nuggets fan who loved Birdman and the energy he gave the franchise while he was in Denver should give it a read.