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NBA BASKETBALL Oct. 14, 2002
Beware the Mummy's Curse!

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I can't stop thinking about it. A broken patella. Grrrrrrrr. I tell myself over and over, "just quit worrying about this, it's not like it was someone from your family (or even someone you know personally), it was a millionaire athlete on a team that probably wouldn't have done well even if he was healthy." But the news just kept playing in my head this morning, as I tossed and turned in my sheets, wondering about what the back page headline in the New York Post would read--"NO DICE"? "WORST-CASE SCENARIO"? "DICE CRAPS OUT"?

Now I'm mad. Things like this don't just happen. This isn't just bad karma, this is TERRIBLE karma, worse than terrible karma. Something is horribly amiss. And I'm wondering who to blame. There are plenty of suspects. Let's run them down Hercule Poirot-style, shall we? I think if we do, we might find the real culprit behind this karmic catastrophe.

1) Scott Layden.
A really nice guy with INCREDIBLY bad luck, right? Or perhaps is he as incompetent as we fear he is? I mean, why did he not make that deal for Glenn Robinson and Earvin Johnson? I just don't know, and it's too late now. But I digress. People are going to be second-guessing his desire to pick up a 26 million dollar two-year contract for a guy who had "problem knees" long after Layden eventually departs New York, I guess, but last Friday I gotta admit it looked like a pretty darn good decision to me. I can't say I wouldn't have made the same choice. Besides McDyess, Layden is the person who benefits the least from this injury, so it's hard to put the blame on him. It must be someone else.

2) The Denver Nuggets.
Did the Nuggets know something the Knicks didn't about McDyess' knee? What, like it was broken? Everyone knew that. And it's not like they didn't get their own injury-prone forward out of the deal. The Nuggets now look like they got the best of this deal and are in a much better shape rebuilding-wise, if for no other reason than having Nene Hilario, but that's unquestionably more from Kiki Vandeweighe's smarts more than any sort of unnaturally good karma. No, it wasn't the Nuggets' fault.

3) Antonio McDyess.
Is this Antonio's bad karma coming to haunt him? I doubt it, he seems like a nice enough guy, and this is an unbelievably painful and debilitating event for him. For this to be personal karmic backlash, he'd have to be secretly kicking puppy dogs or commanding an elite force of saboteurs and criminals against GI Joe. I just don't buy it. I think Antonio McDyess got caught up in a web of bad karma bigger than him, and now he's paying the price. However, he did make some comments to the press recently, which brings us to...

4) The Media.
Check out what Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote the day before this all happened, in an article titled HEALTHY MAC TWEAKS NUGGETS: "Antonio McDyess has a right to gloat. Marcus Camby, who underwent hip surgery Thursday night, won't be back until January. Meanwhile, the outcry about McDyess' knees on Draft Night has proven an overreaction..." (full story available at http://www.nypost.com/seven/10122002/sports/knicks/23319.htm) And I read similar stories in the New York Times and the Daily News. It makes me want to shake these guys and ask them if they haven't ever heard of a jinx. Journalists and aspiring journalists of the world, heed my warning: DO NOT MESS AROUND WITH IRONY. Please. I know it was a slow news day and you were desperate to fill up column space, but reporting on someone's lack of injuries is not real news and is just setting someone up for some industrial strength irony. But my instincts tell me this goes deeper than just a jinx--a jinx would be Antonio being out for six weeks, but out for a whole season, perhaps forever? No my friend, that's not a jinx. That is a curse.

5) Patrick Ewing.
Maybe he didn't do it directly, but it does kind of feel like ever since letting Patrick go, the Knicks' luck has completely dried out. Could it be that they have been cursed for not letting Patrick finish out his career in a Knicks uniform? There's something about that which makes sense on some deep level. But I think if anyone knows about the pain Antonio is going through right now, it's Patrick Ewing. Patrick was no stranger to jinxes himself--remember all those guarantees?--and he sure knows how much it sucks to be injured. I sincerely doubt he would wish a curse like an injury upon anyone else. It wasn't Patrick's fault. But maybe it was...

6) The New Jersey Nets.
Think about it: This team used to be synonymous with bad karma. Season-ending injuries? Up until last year they had tons of 'em--Kerry Kittles, Kenyon Martin, and let's not forget the horrific career-ending injury to Jayson Williams. Now THAT was cursed. But then suddenly last year they make it to the finals... as if the curse were lifted. My theory is that their curse wasn't lifted -- it was SHIFTED! (dun dun dun!) I think Rod Thorn got in there, and first thing he did was hire some voodoo master or something to move their curse over the river. Have the Nets gained a lot out of this? I don't think they were too worried about the Antonio McDyess-fueled Knicks, but that's not who they were trying to avoid. They were trying to avoid their old curse, and the Knicks just happened to get in the way. So in that their old curse has stricken someone else, they have gained a lot.

So what are the Knicks to do? Obviously they need to follow New Jersey's lead, get themselves some sort of houngan, mystic, or holy man, and get them to shift their curse to some other team (Eastern Conference, preferably, but I'd love to see it hit someone in the West). How much could that possibly cost? Piddling crumbs next to player's salaries, I'd wager. All I know is that they better do it quick, or else Allan Houston is gonna have his brains eaten by a mummy. Mark my words.

ROB SOSIN is a freelance writer operating out of New York City. You can contact him at rob.sosin@mindspring.com if you're looking for some comedy writing with S-O-U-L power.


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