For more than a year now, Chris Andersen has been on the bad end of an investigation involving a relationship with an underaged girl from California after authorities in Colorado raised his home. The situation put a stain on his reputation and almost knocked him out of the NBA for good, even though nothing was proven against him.
The Denver Nuggets waived Andersen, who was picked up later by the Miami Heat. He won a title with the Heat earlier this year, but not all was peachy in the world of the Birdman.
Now, he can breath.
ESPN.com reported that Andersen was found not guilty, as well as the victim of a Manti Te’o-like crime.
It came to light Wednesday that not only was Andersen not guilty of a crime, but he was the victim of an “extremely complex” Internet scheme. Police in both Colorado and Canada believe it was the work of a woman living in rural Manitoba.
Andersen has been told that prosecutors will not file charges against him, clearing him after a 15-month ordeal that nearly cost him his NBA career.
I suggest reading the entire ESPN.com report, but the basics are that a woman pretended to be both Andersen and another woman on the Internet. She posed as the girl when dealing with Andersen, and as Andersen when dealing with the girl. The woman in the middle successfully arranged a meeting in which the girl, the legal age at the time, met with Andersen in Colorado. Police were able to rule out Andersen after the I.P. address they were searching for did not match any computer Andersen owned.
The story has a relatively happy ending, but imagine if the Heat didn’t need a center? Imagine if Eddy Curry or Joel Anthony had panned out, or that Udonis Haslem had not started noticeably declining last season. Would the Heat have signed Andersen to a 10-day contract in January? I doubt it. And then where would the Birdman be? Not in the NBA, I reckon. The Internet can be an awful place. Thankfully for Andersen, the Heat locker room saved him and his NBA career, and he saved the Heat’s season — and I know we are all thankful.