Chris Andersen (the NBA player better known as “Birdman”) was one of those athletes who was known for his looks more than his play.
It would be a stretch to compare him to Dennis Rodman, and while Andersen could hold his own on the hardwood, I think most basketball fans remember him more for his “peacocking” on the floor; the spiked mohawk, the outrageous piercings. and a body covered in tattoos that helped Birdman quickly become an NBA player who was impossible to ignore.
He may have only averaged 5.4 points and 5 rebounds per game, but the fact that Birdman had an NBA career spanning 16 seasons and close to 700 games is a testament to what he brought to the floor.
He was a key contributor on many of the teams he played on, including the Miami Heat squad that won a championship in 2013. However, he was lucky he was even able to play that season thanks to a truly wild saga stemming from a woman who catfished him.
The time Chris “Birdman” Andersen was catfished is one of the strangest sagas in NBA history
Chris Andersen has more in common with Manti Te’o than just an arm sleeve full of tattoos. Birdman undoubtedly wishes that wasn’t true, but both men were also catfished before finding themselves embroiled in an embarrassing public debacle—although Andersen’s story might somehow be even crazier.
The tale revolves around three central characters: the first is (obviously) Andersen, the second is a woman named Paris Dunn (an aspiring model who went by the name “Paris Dylan”), and the third is Shelly Chartier, a young woman from a remote town in Canada.
Here’s how it all went down.
Chartier (who is the “catfisher” here) was essentially looking for a way to entertain herself while cooped up in the Canadian province of Manitoba. Her solution? Creating fake accounts for both Andersen and Dunn (who was 17 at the time) and using them to slide into the DMs of their real-life counterparts before engaging in some fairly promiscuous conversations.
Things eventually reached a point where she convinced both Andersen and Dunn to trade numbers and kept the ruse up while texting each of them. In time, she was able to convince the two real, actual people they were actually texting each other with the help of the pictures and selfies she obtained from each of them to make the hoax fairly plausible.
As the fake relationship continued to blossom, Chartier added a fourth character into the mix: an entirely fictitious person named Tom Taylor, who was allegedly Birdman’s best friend. “Taylor” emerged as an intermediary between the real Dunn and the fake Andersen and he eventually suggested she visit him in Colorado and watch him play for the Nuggets.
Chartier was simultaneously using the fake version of Dunn to coordinate with Andersen, but there was one problem: Dunn was 17 at the time, which isn’t exactly a good look for a 34-year-old NBA player.
While it seemed like things should’ve fallen apart the moment the two of them met in person, that wasn’t the case.
Details of what actually transpired when they met up are somewhat unclear, but Birdman apparently brushed aside mentions of Taylor (who, again, he didn’t know because he didn’t exist) after meeting her at the airport and spent a few days with Dunn before they went their separate ways but continued to remain in contact.
From that point, “Taylor” continued to blow up Dunn’s phone with texts, but things went south when she revealed she was planning to link up with Clippers star Blake Griffin. Chartier threatened to leak some of the photos Dunn had sent her, and the teenager got scared and told her mother about the situation, which led to the latter contacting the police.
Then, in February 2012, Birdman got a mysterious email Chartier sent while masquerading as Dunn’s mom threatening to extort Andersen for spending the weekend with her. He reached out to his lawyer along with evidence that showed the real Dunn had said she was actually 21, and it was only a matter of time until the house of cards Chartier constructed fell apart.
Hush money, a police raid, and a court case
Birdman’s lawyer decided it would be best to send Dunn’s fake mom $3,000 to settle the matter, but at that point, it was too late.
Law enforcement officials who were made aware of the situation ended up raiding Andersen’s home and members of the Douglas County “Internet Crimes Against Children Unit” seized his computers in search of the photos Dunn had sent to Chartier (who, in turn, had sent them to Birdman).
The Nuggets wasted no time waiving Andersen after the allegations came to light, and it seemed like his reputation was irreparably tarnished.
However, the investigators tasked with the case eventually realized all of the communications were fake and Andersen was cleared of any wrongdoing after tracing them back to Chartier. She was eventually arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (who discovered she’d been catfishing 11 other people at the time) and was sentenced to 18 months in prison after being found guilty of impersonation, issuing threats, and extortion.
Wow. I mean, that’s just a whirlwind of a story. I know it’s a bit hard to follow, but the fact that it got as far as it did is truly wild.
Andersen signed with the Heat the following season and spent five more years in the NBA until hanging up his sneakers in 2017, while it appears Chartier has resisted the urge to keep catfishing after serving her sentence.
Be careful who you talk with on the internet, folks!