Arizona State’s famed Curtain of Distraction has produced more than its share of zany moments through the years -- more often than not involving some type of shirtless gyrating -- while opposing teams are attempting foul shots at the Wells Fargo Center.
For the Sun Devils’ game against Oregon State on Thursday night, the ASU student section took the distraction, and the shirtless gyrating, to a new level.
This time it featured the star power and six-pack abs of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.
The 30-year-old Phelps has been training at ASU this year. He and the masterminds behind the Curtain of Distraction teased his appearance earlier in the day on Twitter.
Phelps said during the TV broadcast late in the game, “we were just standing back there hoping to get a foul so we could get out there.”
With 13:47 left in the second half and the Beavers’ Stephen Thompson Jr. at the free-throw line, the curtain was pulled open to reveal Phelps standing between two male Arizona State students. All three were shirtless, naturally, and dressed as strippers, wearing bow ties and black pants. Phelps also had a yellow swim cap on his head and numerous gold medals around his neck.
Of course, lots of gyrating took place. And Thompson missed the shot.
The curtain closed and then reopened in time for the second shot. This time Phelps pulled away his pants and did his gyrating while wearing a tiny swimsuit.
Thompson missed again.
“It was funny because I looked at one of the Oregon State players and he 100% looked right at us,” Phelps said. “Then they missed the free throw. It couldn’t have been better.”
The most decorated Olympian of all time “made a major contribution to the game,” Arizona State Coach Bobby Hurley said after his team’s 86-68 victory.