Aubrey McClendon, part-owner of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, died in a single-car crash Wednesday, just one day after he was charged with conspiring to rig bids for the purchase of oil and natural gas leases in Oklahoma.
The fiery crash occurred just two hours before McClendon was expected to turn himself in. The incident was not immediately ruled a suicide but Oklahoma City Police Capt. PacoBalderramatold ESPN/ABC that he believed McClendon had “plenty of opportunity to correct and get back on the roadway.”
“He pretty much drove straight into the wall,” Balderramasaid. “The information out there at the scene is that he went left of center, went through a grassy area right before colliding into the embankment.”
McClendonplayed a big role in getting the Seattle SuperSonicsfranchise to move to Oklahoma City. In 2007 – according to King5.com –he was fined $250,000 by the NBA for comments to an Oklahoma City newspaper in which he said, “We didn’t buy the team to keep it in Seattle.”
Conspiracy theorists and Sonics fans had a field day with the strange timing of McClendon’s death Wednesday night.
“Aubrey McClendon either faked his death or got murdered #Conspiracy” said @JoshAnswers
“Let the conspiracy theorizing begin!” said @0xcharlie
“THE CONSPIRACY THEORISTS ARE GOING TO GO NUTS OVER AUBREY MCCLENDON.” said @SconsetCapital
“Aubrey McClendon. WOW. this is like something out of a movie. Tuesday: charged with conspiracy by Feds. Wednesday: dies in a car crash.” said @readDanwrite
“Besides my hatred of him for helping steal the sonics, McClendon was an extremely unethical businessman. karma will get ya,” said @SK_sweezy.
Oklahoma City Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett released the following statement:
“I am overcome with grief. Aubrey McClendon was a visionary community leader, a trusted business partner and a passionate member of the Thunder family. But more than anything, he was a brother and a dear friend.”