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Michael Porter, One-time Husky Commit, Creates a Stir with Virus Theory

The Denver Nuggets player drew considerable public reaction for his unusual thoughts on the contagion sweeping the country and the globe.

Michael Porter Jr. was a University of Washington basketball player for all of five months.

Rated the nation's No. 1 high school player, he signed a national letter of intent with the school in November 2016 and asked out of his commitment the following March when the UW fired coach Lorenzo Romar.

Wherever he's gone, Porter has always been a headline-maker.

It was no different this week when the 6-foot-9 forward, now 22 and a member of the NBA's Denver Nuggets, offered a controversial theory on social media about the global novel coronavirus pandemic, which by Wednesday had claimed more than 150,000 American lives.

On Snapchat, Porter wrote, "Personally, I think the coronavirus is being used obviously for a bigger agenda. It's being used for population control in just terms of being able to control the masses of people. I mean, because of the virus the whole world is being controlled. You're required to wear masks. And who knows what will happen when this vaccine comes out? You have to have the vaccine in order to travel. Like, that would be crazy."

Porter relayed this message from Orlando, Florida, where he and his fellow NBA players have been sequestered and soon will resume their season, which was suspended four months ago by the health crisis. The Nuggets' first game in the restart comes against the Miami Heat on Saturday.

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The young basketball player, who led Seattle's Nathan Hale High School to a state championship in 2017 and played part of a college season at Missouri that was limited by injury before joining the NBA, has received considerable backlash for his coronavirus statement.

It prompted Tim Connelly, Nuggets president of basketball operations, to speak to Porter about his comments, though the team didn't reveal the gist of their conversation. No doubt, the Nuggets don't want the issue to become a distraction for them, yet club officials didn't say they would silence him. 

Denver coach Michael Malone took a fairly neutral stance when asked about Porter's comments by reporters during a Zoom interview session. 

"Obviously, I'm not the thought police," Malone said. "I'm not going to tell any of our players what they can and can't say. All I would say is just be sensitive to the current situation in our country and throughout the world in regards to coronavirus."

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