So When Did Warren Buffett Become The Weird Willy Wonka of Basketball?

Quicken Bracket Scratch

Perhaps you’ve heard: Detroit-based Quicken Loans has joined forces with Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway to offer a prize of One Billion Dollars (OBD) to any person who fills out a perfect bracket for March Madness.

My only dream in life is to win a preposterous amount of money in some insane contest. Well, alright, Warren, I hear you. I know this is your weird “Billy Madison” way of testing me to make sure I deserve the money. Calm down, I’ll take your billion dollars. You’re saying all I have to do is fill out some sports bracket about the hoppity ball? You know what, sorry to be so condescending. I know it’s called basketball. I didn’t need to exaggerate my ignorance.

Free registration for the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket is already underway and runs until Wednesday, March 19th. All participants registering prior to the tournament selection process will receive their brackets the evening of Selection Sunday, March 16, when entrants can begin filling out their bracket.

I’ve already done mine ahead of time.


Buffett is also donating a million dollars to nonprofits in Detroit and Cleveland, which is a nice way of demonstrating how easy it would be for money to flow to good causes instead of an impossible sports lottery.

So when did Warren Buffett become the weird Willy Wonka of basketball?

“While there is no simple path to success, it sure doesn’t get much easier than filling out a bracket online,” Buffett said in a statement. “To quote a commercial from one of my companies, I’d dare say it’s so easy to enter that even a caveman can do it.” (Way to always be cross-promoting, WB, we’re clearly two pea in a pod whose only difference is net wealth. Speaking of which, follow me on Twitter).

The chances of winning are 1 in 4,294,967,296, which kind of makes it feel like this eccentric billionaire is cruelly laughing at my struggle. Well, laugh all you want, Warren, but the odds were even worse against me when I applied for this blogging gig and look at me now, you old bag. So when I beat these odds with my perfect bracket, who will be laughing then? Hopefully it will be both of us because laughter is contagious and I hope the money will help me forget my petty grudge.

The real question though is what will I do once I have my billion dollars?

So obviously, first I would buy more wishes. Then I would make it illegal for more money to be printed. Then I’d go back in time and kill Hitler. And at that point what would prevent a man from marrying his dog? Sorry, I think I got lightheaded and confused when I imagined a billion dollars too vividly.

If I had a billion dollars, I’d do what any reasonable person would do and I would throw myself a giant parade, starting in Los Angeles, California where I reside, and ending in Washington, D.C. at the White House. I would ride atop an elegant paper elephant constructed from several thousand hundred dollar bills, and be preceded by marching bands and floats and other ordinary parade attractions. When I passed by the waving and adoring people, I would fire one of the several guns I had by my side into the air, as if to say, “I am just like you. I am an American who owns a gun and fires it into the air sometimes. I’m not like one of these wasteful Warren Buffetts of the world.” Then I would fire a machine gun in the air which has been known to be very scary to every human, so they would likely all duck for cover because at that point, maybe I’m not just a friendly American who likes firing guns, maybe I’m an unfriendly American who hates not firing guns. See the difference? But just when they trust me the least is when I’d reveal my true colors and pull out my final gun: a t-shirt gun. I would make sure every man, woman, child and puppy received a printed t-shirt from American Apparel that read THIS IS WHAT THIRTY DOLLARS LOOKS LIKE because the shirts with the printing costs would total about that much. On the back of each shirt would be a picture of Warren Buffett crying. I would do that in every town that I passed through in our great country, until I reached the White House. Then I would request to speak with the President and I would pledge that the rest of my fortune would be best spent toward paying down the national debt. Perhaps at that point, the President would smile and say “Grant, you really deserved that continent-long parade you threw yourself. What a grand gesture.” Then I would smile and say “I’ll show you a grand gesture, you son of a bitch” and I would take out my t-shirt gun and fire it in the air. But what would come out would not be a t-shirt; it would be the rest of the billion dollars, and now I’ve just shot it into the ocean. After that, I suppose I would probably just spend the rest of my days in a prison of some kind. Anyway, just your typical billionaire parade fantasy.

Who is going on your bracket? And what would you do with a billion dollars?

Grant Pardee is a comedian originally from Ohio living in Los Angeles. He has performed at Bridgetown and SF Sketchfest, the Improv, Upright Citizens Brigade, and many other places, too. He contributes articles to VICE, and in 2013 the webseries he created, wrote and produced “Happy Place” was a finalist for the Comedy Central Short Pilot Competition at the New York Television Festival. Follow him on twitter @grantpa


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