Despite being more than a century old, it’s the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City that is perhaps the most-effective defensive weapon the Thunder have at their disposal to mitigate the efforts of visiting talent from throughout the National Basketball Association. For years, the infamous “haunted” hotel has been keeping players like Kyrie Irving, Tim Hardaway Jr., Metta World Peace, and many more awake late-at-night because of eerie, spooky paranormal experiences.
It gives you the chills just thinking about it…After all, aren’t these grown men too old to still be believing in ghost stories?
Not so fast. There are plenty of reports from players league-wide who’ve stayed at the hotel that suggest things aren’t quite right within the halls of the legendary Skirvin. Many in recent years have opted to make their own lodging arrangements when visiting the city, including Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams who doesn’t want to risk any chance of dealing with things considered paranormal. The guard reportedly checked himself out of the hotel a few years back because of his fear tied to the situation.
Can you really blame the guy?
After all, why would anyone want to stay in a hotel where it’s alleged that visitors hear babies crying, weird screeching late at night, loud voices and footsteps in the hallways of deserted floors, and bathtubs filling on their own, all while doors slam shut regularly without any form of human aide. Did I forget to mention that the structure has a bug problem?
“The ghosts were all over me. I just accepted it. They touched me all over the place. I’m taking one of the ghosts to court for touching me in the wrong places.”2016 – Metta World Peace via Orange County Register on being touched innapropriately
The legend of the Hotel Skirvin goes a little something like this…
William B. Skirvin was the original owner of the hotel during the prohibition era. Historic tales of the Skirvin suggest he had an extra-marital affair with a chambermaid employed at the hotel, named Elfie, and eventually imprisoned her when learning that she became pregnant with their child.
Fearing that the development would be bad for social appearances, the womanizing Skirvin hid the mother and child from the rest of the world. Eventually, the circumstances of the arrangement would drive the mistress to the brink of insanity. The legend suggests that she would eventually escape from her captivity and jump from the window of the tenth-floor, thus killing herself and their baby.
Some versions of the legend suggest that the maid was also a woman of loose morals. At times, visiting men have recounted being propositioned by a female voice while alone in their rooms. Also, some claim to have seen a figure of a naked woman with them while taking showers.
One individual has even gone as far as to say that he was sexually assaulted by an invisible entity during his stay. Over the years, even the hotel’s staff has cited claims with stories of objects moving by themselves at night and strange noises that can be heard throughout the building.
“I’ve heard it’s haunted and some not so pleasant things happen there. So, I don’t stay there when we go to OKC. I provide my own place to stay.”L.A. Clippers Guard Lou Williams via Open Gym @ Toronto Raptors Youtube Channel
Many players throughout the league have experienced less-than-stellar circumstances during their stay at the Hotel Skirvin. Some lay wide-awake late at night, unable to sleep because of fear that directly relates to the ever-growing urban legend of Elfie.
Eddy Curry, a seven-foot Center formerly of the New York Knicks, expressed his fear of the hotel all the way back in 2010. After traveling to Oklahoma City from New York, he spent the majority of his time in teammate Nate Robinson’s room. The New York Daily News reported Curry offering his take on the floor where the alleged incident occurred. “They said it happened on the 10th floor, and I’m the only one staying on the 10th floor.”
Curry also went on to say, “That’s why I spent most of my time in [Nate Robinson’s] room. I definitely believe there are ghosts in that hotel.”
He’s not the only player to openly suggest there are problems within the walls of the haunted structure either. Back in 2016, USA Today reported that All-Star Point Guard Kyrie Irving suffered an incident during his stay at the hotel while visiting OKC as a member of the 2014 Cleveland Cavaliers.
He went on to play only nine minutes of a Sunday game against the Thunder before leaving due to “flu-like symptoms”. However, the ailing Irving went on to suggest that he was actually dealing with the fallout of an encounter with bed bugs at the hotel the previous night. “Just imagine how freaked out you’d be if you saw friggin’ five, big bed bugs just sitting on your pillow. I woke up itching, and I’m just looking around and I’m like, ‘are you serious right now?’ It was 3 a.m. and I was so tired at that point.”
Miami Heat forward Justice Winslow shares his misfortune. In 2016, he told the Miami Herald he found bugs in his room and a roach in the shower curtain.
“I’m just trying to get through this trip as quickly as possible. I try and spend the least amount of time in my room. I go down, sit at the bar, get me something good to eat, watch TV, watch football, but I don’t spend a lot of time in that room.”2016 – Miam Heat Forward Justice Winslow via Miami Herald
Former New York Knicks and current Dallas Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. offered the most detailed account of his exposure to the paranormal allegations at the Skirvin Hilton, during a self-written contribution to The Players’ Tribune.
His experience recounts himself initially not taking the claims or “ghost stories” offered by other veterans seriously when first arriving in the NBA. However, the University of Michigan draftee has since changed his tune after a brush with fear one night while staying at the hotel.
When settling into his room, the cautious Hardaway always practices the same routine before leaving a hotel to go to the arena or grabbing a bite to eat.
One night during a stay at the Skirvin, he left his room for 30-minutes and returned to notice his toothbrush had been moved from the specific place he placed it, all the way to the other side of the sink. Maybe, the maid service had done it?
Nope, nothing else in the room had been moved at all. It was extremely odd to the youngster.
Later that same evening, he lay awake in bed with the television off. Suddenly, he was startled when hearing a loud screeching coming from the hallway. Then, he began hearing whispers and footsteps. Jumping up from his bed frightened, he ran to the bathroom and flipped on the lights.
Then, he proceeded to move throughout the room towards the window and shut the curtains. Finally, he turned towards the door of his room exiting to the hallway…
While slowly moving towards the door, those same whispers began getting louder.
Those same footsteps began running, and also grew louder with each step before he grabbed the handle and opened the door.
Sticking his head into the hallway, he was relieved to find nothing…
Many NBA superstars now refuse to stay in the Hotel Skirvin these days when visiting Oklahoma City. The recounts of the horror stories while staying in the building continue to grow, and it’s not surprising that the Thunder have one of the best home records in the league over the past decade.
Player’s simply cannot sleep due to sheer fear, which ultimately affects their mental state and ability to think and make decisions during games.
Irving, who has since recovered from the bug controversy has now penned a movie deal with Imagine Entertainment to produce and star in a horror movie, themed with the oral history and events that have occurred in the Oklahoma City hotel. The film is set to be released sometime during 2020.
It would be absolutely bizarre if the film was actually filmed in the same hotel. Who knows what exactly might happen at that point if Elfie feels disturbed?