Have you ever told a joke so bad you had to pay $75,000? Roy Hibbert, a basketball player you've never heard of because it isn't LeBron James, did. It was after a gritty game 6 win over the defending blah blah blah sports. The NBA levied that fine, though it isn't clear how many dollars were for the anti-gay sentiment and how many were for saying "Motherfuckers" earlier in the same press conference, and how many dollars were a threat that the Pacers better not beat the Heat because it would ruin the league's ratings for the Finals. The joke touched off one of the smallest firestorms in recent memory about gay slurs and the NBA (small because again, this was Roy Hibbert, not, for example, someone anyone has heard of). But setting aside the controversy, The Serum will determine whether or not the joke was funny.
First of all, and I think this is important, Hibbert used "no homo" improperly. After being asked some question about sports, Hibbert said: "I really felt I let [some guy] down in terms of having his back when LeBron was scoring in the post or getting to the paint because they stretched me out so much, no homo." Then he briefly giggled or snickered or nose-laughed or whatever you wanna call it, and continued answering. But it's well-known by middle school era me that "No homo" is supposed to be said before the potentially gay-sounding statement. This is to absolve the following sentence of any sexual ambiguity and allow it's true meaning to be understood and appreciated. For example: "No homo, your pecs look great." Now the person receiving the compliment knows that it's just one man appreciating another man's chest muscles for what they are: symbols of brute strength. Saying "no homo" after confuses this. "Your pecs look great. No homo." It's too late. The ambiguity is already there. The post-gay "no homo" sounds like a cheap cover at this point. It could even be argued that saying "no homo" after the statement makes the initial statement that much gayer, because it means that during this supposedly innocuous comment about playing basketball defense, at least a small part of Hibbert's brain was thinking about gay sex.
This is beside the point, though, because ultimately the misplacement of "no homo" isn't the only reason the joke fails. It's clear that the entire joke hinges on the fact that sports terms often sound like euphemisms of homosexual activities. This is, of course, the most fucking obvious thing about sports. Seriously. I'm pretty sure the cough button was invented in broadcasting so Vin Scully could say "no homo" after every play call. Gay-sounding sports terms have been a running "joke" for so long it's not even a joke anymore. So if you wanna elicit a laugh by equating your post-game analysis to something gay (or, equ-gay-ting), you'll have to at least put some effort into it. "No homo" is the laziest possible joke under these circumstances. It's like saying, "I would tell a joke but I can't think of one, so just insert your own here [editor's note: no homo]."
So the verdict. Was Roy Hibbert's "no homo" funny? No, it was not, and that it apparently got into his head so much that his team got destroyed in Game 7. Hibbert should work on his comedy and defense of the off-season. And maybe some sensitivity training.