Monday, June 4, 2007

Win Butler needs to give my basketball back

I had the misfortune of coming in contact with Win Butler at the Cal Berkeley gym this past Saturday (June 2).

I play pickup basketball at the RSF (Recreational Sports Facility) and on this particular evening there was a girl's basketball tournament going on so only two of the seven courts were available.

This made for a congested couple courts for the evening run.

Win Butler was shooting around on one of the courts. I asked Mr. Butler if he wanted to play. He declined so I asked him if he could move off the court because we were starting a full court game. He angrily refused. He told me, and this a quote:

"I paid too much damn money to get in here and I'm playing on this court."

Apparently his friends were showing up later and he wanted to reserve the half court for himself and his friends. It costs $10 to get into the RSF. That is the amount that I paid to enter the gym and the amount that everyone pays who is not student, staff or faculty at Cal.

There were probably 30 people in the gym at the time wanting to play full court basketball.

I couldn't reason with Mr. Butler so I gave up. Two RSF supervisors tried to explain to Mr. Butler the court rules. Finally, a security guard arrived to talk him down. Mr. Butler was extremely agitated and animated during this entire episode. One of the other players claims Mr. Butler pushed him but I did not witness this. The security guard was so fed up with him she told us to just run him over.

The standoff lasted about 45 minutes before Mr. Butler finally left.

After I finished playing I realized my basketball was missing. I remembered last seeing it on the court where Mr. Butler was shooting around with a few other guys.

I went downstairs to the front desk to ask if anyone had turned in a ball. I described my ball to the young woman working the desk. I told her that I had drawn stars on the ball so nobody would take it by mistake.

She said: "The lead singer of Arcade Fire took your basketball."

She recognized my ball because he was holding it as he was yelling at her. Mr. Butler dressed down the RSF desk staff on his way out of the building.


Tchockolicous said...

In Canadian dollars, 10 is a lot of money :-)

Chris H. said...

My ball cost $40 U.S. when I bought it two weeks ago. So I'd say he made out well in the exchange.

S said...


I'm one of the people that was playing basketball with the Arcade Fire that day. I wasn't actually in the gym with Win Butler at the time, because I was buying my day pass and filling it out and getting a locker and futzing around with the combination lock. By the time I entered the gym, Win was already being shown out by the security lady. But I assure you he didn't have a basketball.

We all left the gym, and then Win realized he'd left the basketball inside. He was the one who had left it upstairs, but since he'd just been thrown out by security, he very well couldn't just walk back in and grab the basketball. So we sent our friend Aaron in, and he came out a couple minutes later with the basketball--a Wilson NCAA type ball. We then went and found an outdoor court in the neighborhood and played with the ball.

So, if you owned a Wilson NCAA type ball, it's possible that Aaron grabbed yours by mistake. But in that case, there should have been a spare Wilson floating around.

I'm sorry someone stole your ball.

p.s. Win's account of what happened in the gym differs, understandably, from yours. The only error I know for sure is that the "standoff" did not last for 45 minutes. It lasted the amount of time it took the rest of the group to buy day passes and get our lockers, which was maybe 20 minutes?

Chris H. said...


I understand if your friend took the ball by mistake but he clearly walked off with the wrong ball ( ie. my ball). You don't leave a gym with a ball that doesn't belong to you. If the guys were mad at the gym you should have stolen one of the balls that has RSF clearly written across the front.

William War III said...

William War III said...

Hey Chris H--

I think when "S" said "it's possible that Aaron grabbed yours by mistake" she was trying to be polite. She's a very polite person, and hence bad at getting rebounds, because she doesn't box out properly. But that's beside the point.

Your bit of evidence is that the lady at the front desk says that Win took your ball--she recognized it as he was cursing her out as he left. S's evidence, and I'll back her up on this, because I was there, is that Win forgot the basketball upstairs.

Hell, I'll go beyond that--since I was upstairs with Win when he was escorted out of the building. He didn't have the damn basketball with him.

Besides that--if you're willing to grant S's story that Aaron was the one who took your ball by accident--then you're implicitly rejecting the one bit of evidence on your side; the testimony of the front desk lady. It's very difficult to confuse an angry Win Butler (very tall, angry, being escorted by police officers) with a not angry my friend Aaron (bearded, smaller, wearing a hat).

So either stick to your guns that the front desk lady was right or not. Not to be all "12 Angry Men" or nothin'.

Also, and this perhaps doesn't have any bearing on the situation, it's really fucking creepy that some anonymous dude can say shit like this. Not that it's that big an issue. It's just creepy. Apologies for cursing.

In closing, Win Butler didn't steal your fucking ball.

Also, beyond closing, was your ball a Wilson NCAA ball? Because if it's not, then the whole "confusion of balls" idea is really a moot point. Sorry I'm so angry, asshole.

Aaron said...

That's odd, I didn't know you could slit your wrists with a basketball. Apparently you can.

William War III said...

Not to continue this, but it's a rainy day. I couldn't help but notice that you wrote on the message boards the following:

"I'm still down one new basketball and the worst Win Butler got out of the exchange is a blog that 20 people will read.

Let's call it even."

There are a couple problems with your math. The first is that the Arcade Fire didn't steal your basketball. Which I've gone over before. So we're left with the following part of the equation:

"the worst Win Butler got out of the exchange is a blog that 20 people will read."

The line should read (and apologies for the bad grammar): "the LEAST worst Win Butler got out of the exchange is a blog that 20 people will read."

Now, I don't mean to lecture about the powers of cyberspace and the marvels of the Internet age. But here are two scenarios:

1) my fiancee's parents are reading the forums. They see that apparently my brother Win has stolen a basketball. I now have to explain to them that my brother Win is not, in fact, THAT big an asshole. I also have to explain to them why I'm cursing on the internet.

2) The NME (a British music publication) is cruisin' the web, looking for hot tips on Arcade Fire news, since we're playin' some hot UK shows. They come accross your blog, read the title, don't do any fact checking, and put a little blurb about it up on "Butler Nicks Chap's Football Squib" (they also confuse a basketball with a football (which is what they call a soccerball in England) and insert the word squib). Suddenly every interview we do for the next six months we have to talk about how we didn't steal some dude's basketball.

But then here's the rub: even if we succeed in convincing people that we did not steal some dude's ball, people still have stuck in their heads that we're the type of dudes to steal dude's balls. Ok, so I still come off clean. People think that Win's the type of dude to steal some dude's ball, and he just didn't get away with it. This is actually sort of how people's minds work.

So over the course of six months in the UK, people think that the Arcade Fire are total assholes all of the time, instead of the trtuh: which is that the Arcade Fire are sort of assholes some of the time.

This is probably the direst outcome. It's not that dire. But it's sort of annoying. Maybe even more annoying than having your ball stolen. Which, by the way, we didn't do.

Dude, with great power comes great responsibility. Didn't you learn anything from the first Spiderman movie?

bill said...

and then there's this, which is a pretty sweet WinBron James photoshop:

adam said...

you'll probably also have to explain to your fiancee's parents why you're such a weiner.

Pixel said...

You're totally right. AF should start training to dodge basketball chucking at their shows. That's how this all works.

Mike said...
This post has been removed by the author.
Mesh said...

Greatest Blog of All Time

Dagbert said...

This has been a very entertaining 5 minutes of what would have otherwise been a very uneventful day.
If this had been perpetrated by some other random person at the gym, would we have
"somerandomdouchestolemybasketball.blogspot"? I guess I kind of doubt it. Way to cash in on an otherwise common occurance at the gym.

Emily said...

Yeah, I hate to break it to you, but actually, in creating an entire blog over the loss of your basketball, which may or may not have been accidentally or purposefully taken by some member of the Arcade Fire crew, you actually look like the bigger douche than any of them do. Bitching and whining just isn't hot, dude. I'm sorry to say. It's just creepy. And pathetic.

DJ Marmot said...

I think we are losing site of the real story.

Which is of course, the revelation that Arcade Fire can play basketball?

Sure, they put on perhaps the most athletic show ever, but who would have thought that realization of music and theatre geeks everywhere also brings their game to the hoop court?

This has got "charity event" written all over it. Perhaps a wager?

This could all be cleared up with a few key pieces of evidence:
1. Video tape. The avg. American is filmed like, 30 times a day. It would be a miracle if there were NOT surveillance tapes of Win leaving the facility.
2. The Desk Woman coming forward and giving her account.
3. The ball itself. It's somewhere out there.

So, if the above pieces of evidence support Chris H., then Arcade Fire could send him a new ball with an apology written on it and signed by the band. It could/should be then auctioned off to for charity on behalf of Chris H.'s choice.

If the above evidence support Arcade Fire and WW III, then Chirs H. needs to start a new Blog, expressing and apology, and present Arcade Fire with a basketball with an apology written on it, which the band would then sign because nobody wants Chris H's stinkin' autograph, followed by an auction for a charity of AF's choice.

Regardless, this will probably become part of the band's enduring mythology. Expect the basketball to become a symbol of AF haters. Not unlike Man U fans heckling Ian MacCulloch during the tender refrains of "Ocean Rain". Man that pisses him off.

DJ Marmot

Billy & Dennis said...

I can't believe people are giving you a hard time about this and the thing I find really amusing is what a whiny bitch Will Butler is being.

Waaaaa, what will NME say about me??
Is he kidding?

I wonder if the above poster Emily thinks that's sexy.

Reed said...

DJ Marmot is right. Someone needs to ask the basketball for comment.

Chris, I've got four basketballs here. I'll send you two of them if you like. They bounce and everything.

William War III said...

dag nab it, now I'm being called "a whiny bitch" by "billy & dennis".

Billy & Dennis said...

Just by Billy really. Dennis has nothing to do with this.

Kyle said...

I think this is all just a big scheme to get your name out there.

So what if Win did steal your ball, its a basketball. Im pretty sure you can pick one up a decent one at a local thrift store for like what 5 dollars? and im sure a thrift store basketball would be alot cooler to play with then some $40 basketball you bought at Target or some American retail outlit.

Quit whining Chris. If if i were in your situation I would have given the damn ball to him. It's Win Butler, you say you know who the Arcade Fire are and everything else, you think you'd actually be like oh fucking sweet, Win Butler is over there playing basketball. How awesome.

It seems pretty clear to me that you are blowing some situation way out of purportion, in hopes of getting your name out there.

Will, totally is right in the fact that they are going to be asked about this over and over and over again about this stupid basketball story just because some whiny dude such as yourself is all sad because you lost your basketball.


My dog got hit by a train when I was 12, Do I need to post it all over the web that CN Rail killed my dog and CN Rail needs to give me a new dog?

My point excatly.

I think its safe to say as well that Pitchfork would pick up on this too, like are you trying to run the Arcade Fire's name through mud?

It's shameful really what your doing with this blog, even if I wasn't a fan of the arcade fire, nor liked any of their music, I would think what you are doing is shameful, and pointless really.

And as to your asking for their Management or the Arcade Fire to applogize.. last I checked they were still people.. pretty sure they are still people.

What Win does on his off time, he does on his off time. There's no reason why you should post all over the internet ARCADE FIRE STOLE MY BASKETBALL...

One person, is not the Arcade Fire..

So please quit trying to run the bands name through mud.

Kyle said...

oh ps.

after reading your story, I am not even close to convinced that Win stole your ball.

In fact your story sounds 80% fabricated.


yours truly,
a lovely small town canadian

Bryan said...

This is a good short story. You should submit it to Noo Journal.

William War III said...

oy kyle--

Thanks for your defense. To be fair to Chris H., though, a nice basketball is a nice basketball. A good leather basketball is loads more fun to play with than some $5 rubber number.

William War III said...

Well, then, Dennis, I'm sorry to have implicated you in this whole ordeal.

Justin said...

A nice ball is a nice ball, however, it's a ball.

I've had my basketball stolen before, I don't remember starting a blog over it. I think I just saved up some money for a new one.
Plus I don't think Chris H's ball was even stolen.

Jamie said...

Look.. I stole your ball, alright?

I was wearing my Win Butler halloween costume and it was much more effective than I first anticipated..

After trying (unsuccessfully) to get some free food at the gym canteen, I decided to take out my frustation by shooting some hoops.. that was, until this whole mess happened.

Look, i'm not going to return your ball.

If you want to focus this campaign of hate onto MY band, well then bring it:

..and anyone who says all this whole comment was made up to get people to visit our Myspace page is a disgusting liar.


Steve B said...

This is great..Chis H, get me at

Suzanne said...

I *wish* Win Butler or anyone from Arcade Fire would steal my basketball.

Let it go, dude. Regardless of whether or not this happened, it's a fucking basketball. It's not like he stole your soul or your V-card.

Ryan said...

fuck i love you, arcade fire.

win butler, you are a genius. arcade fire, your music is genius. if you stole my basketball, i would start a blog, but the blog would be called '' and everyone would read it. and then, while i'm travelling around europe over july and august (from australia, no less!) i would get to meet win butler, or see him play somewhere, and that would be awesome.

so, if you dear publications are looking for a quote, use this. 'arcade fire are fucking awesome. neon bible is fucking awesome. win butler is also fucking awesome. and basketballs are people too.'

and win butler, if you're reading this, wanna hang out and grab a drink between july and august? it'll be awesome.

Steve said...

that's fucking punk rock. he stole your basketball and got walked out of the gym by security. fucking punk rock canuck. makes me want to go buy another album even though i already have it.

doppelgangers said...

I'm a "baller" who's had my "rock" "jacked" a few times in the past, and it's no fun, but to dwell on the bad will not improve your game! Concentrate on making your next shot.

selvig said...


$10 US is $10.60 Canadian. Jackass.

Ben said...

You people don't understand. AF is an awesome band. The laws of the universe dictate that all awesome bands must have a tortured douchebag in their center. This basketball incident? Child's play. Frankly, I expect more from Win. The man should be chewing out interviewers left and right. He should be overturning tables when he isn't comped at restaurants. He should be misquote Kant on Letterman and get arrested in New Mexico for beating an unappreciative audience member with an antique mandolin. A stolen basketball? Please. Win should knock of this polite, happily married, socially conscious bullshit and get in touch with his inner Lou Reed more often.

ALT - [f r a m e s] said...

internet drama + b-ball playin' masterful musicians = my postlunch doldrums are nowhere to be seen.

Clyde the Glide said...

Great blog. True or untrue, this is hilarious.

If the Arcade Fire reputation (basketball thiefs! ohh, the scandal!!) and/or Will Butler's fiancee's parents needs to suffer so that I can be entertained during my work day, so be it!

Lighten up and have a laugh. You especially, Miss Emily. You too Will.

Robosauce said...


Jake said...

i don't know why i feel so compelled to comment on this, but i do. because it's hilarious. i don't even care whether or not the details of this supposed arcade fire basketball theft are accurate or not (though, admittedly, if dude from arcade fire actually did steal dude's b-ball in a fit of canadian rage, that's also hilarious). what's hilarious is how extremely involved people's responses to this relatively banal blog are, and now the comment post to "Arcade Fire Stole My Basketball" is suddenly a microcosm of random people examining much larger issues, such as fame, authenticity in music, privacy and the internet, private property, and the falible nature of memory. but mostly, who the fuck (on either side of this thing) really care? if it will help, i'll sell my copy of that new craptacular arcade fire album, and send chris h. the proceeds. somebody needs to profit from my poor record purchases.
however, the fire should really take advantage of this and give a bunch of basketballs to disadvantaged children, or whatever. just to ease the inevitable sting when pfork gets their pale hands on this. but anyway, i know that posting a comment takes the sting away from my last point, but for real, errbody needs to get a life. including me and will butler. but mostly him. keep it on the courts, yo.

kingofbash said...

I used to steal basketballs and volleyballs all the time, have a closet full of them. The art hasn't lost any luster yet.

Phil said...

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you're like 13 years old. And that your mom put you up to this. She probably said something like "honey you're never going to get anywhere in life if you let a bully get you down." So you made a blog to show people that you won't be bullied. The problem is that you've turned into a bit of a bully yourself. Not a very successful one, but instead a damn awful shitty one.

I also think that you're going to lose interest is terrible endeavor in about a week. You also probably didn't think you'd get this kind of response. Or maybe you did? Now you're the infamous jack ass with the "Arcade Fire stole my basketball" blog. You'll be a pop culture icon and important people with suites will ask you for your opinion on the next My Chemical Romance record. Which is all you ever wanted in this life. Besides maybe a your basketball back. Someday 20 years from now and realize that you have no friends and still haven't been laid.

So why am I defending people I don't know? Maybe because I like their music? Maybe I think they put on a hell of a show? Maybe it's because you're such a douche that you would make a blog about a band stealing your basketball (that may or may not have happened). So thats why.

And I will also speculate that your mother is still breast feeding you.

cold4thestreets said...
This post has been removed by the author.
cold4thestreets said...

What's the big deal? I stole Win Butler's album off the internet.

Clyde the Glide said...
This post has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

"What's the big deal? I stole Win Butler's album off the internet."


miss kris said...

You are one lucky dude, having Arcade Fire steal your basketball! I wish Arcade Fire had stolen my bike! Instead it was some asshole I don't even know or know how to get ahold of. Fuck.

Salad Days Music said...

Beth Ditto stole my sandwich!

miss kris said...


Marc said...

I wonder if Arcade Fire is any good at basketball. You think they could beat Prince and the Revolution?

Aaron Stewart Ahn said...

The Arcade Fire stole my heart with their amazing live shows and incredible albums!

Also, my dignity.

I brought my ex girlfriend to one of the Judson Memorial shows and she walked out of it two songs.

Three days later she dumped me.

I didn't write no blog about it!

MJ said...

Wow. I don't know if ANY of this is real...Are there any credible sources? Does anyone care?

I think Chris H is a lot of things. I dont think creepy is the right word. Creepy is telling your sister she was adopted so you can talk her into sleeping with you. Chris H is most likely just a liar.

I like what Jake said above, about discussing larger issues. A lot of people (OK, almost anyone who doesnt attend music festivals or listen to KEXP) has no idea who Win Butler is (other than that big guy from Arcade Fire). I think the story might actually attract more to the band than it would repel. That said, negative press sucks. I hope NME doesn't beat up on AF too much...I love those guys!

And I would really like to get my hands on a basketball signed by Arcade Fire...

D said...

Why dont you just download their album for free. Otherwise it would cost about 10 bucks.

John Randolph's Left Leg said...

Let's take a moment to reflect on this very serious moment.

Gene said...

Hey KYLE, you're an idiot. you bag on some dude for blowing shit out of proportion and you're writing a freakin' essay in reply to some blog. new basketballs cost about $20-40. good ones cost about $40. who the hell wants to play with a $5 piece of crap? and arcade fire isn't close to that great of a band, they got like 3-4 good songs. and apparently win butler has a brother who defends him by showing what a douchebag brother he has. and the fact that win butler had to be escorted out of the cal gym by a security guard shows that he's a douchebag as well. canadians are pansies.