What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
I’m sorry, Indiana. I killed your NBA franchise. Honestly, I didn’t mean to do it; I’m just a jinx for an NBA team if I happen to live in the market. Let’s look at the three applicable cities.
It’s really hard to say this about the greater Los Angeles area, because a) the jinx isn’t powerful enough to destroy two franchises and b) the Clippers arrived in SoCal pre-destroyed; jinxing the Clippers is like shooting out all your light bulbs to make the sun go down.
Then there’s Minnesota. The Timberwolves are almost Clipper-esque in their futility, but they had a run of being a play-off contender that I also destroyed. In the Kevin Garnett/Stephon Marbury/Tom Gugliotta era, the Timberwolves were a perennial first-round playoff loser; later they made it to the conference final before losing to the Lakers. We haven’t found out how yet, but I know I’m somehow responsible for the Joe Smith signing that cost the Wolvies their first-round picks for three seasons and got general manager Kevin McHale suspended for a year. Then there was the whole Latrell Sprewell fiasco. Then there was the ultimate give-up move; the “Garnett for Al Jefferson and a couple cases of urinal cakes” trade. It was all on me for living in Minnesota.
So, then I move Indiana and yesterday the Indiana Pacers fired coach Jim O’Brien. It isn’t like we saw this coming; about a week ago there were rumblings that changes were coming at Conseco Fieldhouse. Rumors were in the air that O’Brien and general manager David Morway would be replaced at the end of the season; even Indiana basketball legend Larry Bird ‘s future as Pacers’ President is rumored to be uncertain as well. However, the end of the season came sooner for O’Brien; the Indianapolis Star reports that Pacers’ assistant Frank Vogel is “expected to coach the team for the remainder of the season.”
The saddest part of all is that I’ve discovered a pattern to all of this; if you start to notice these things happening in your city, I may have moved there.
1) A Noticeable Downturn in On-Court Personnel or Performance
In Minnesota, the problem was obvious. Anyone can see the warning signs when your roster goes from the likes of Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury to that of Michael Doleac and Darko Milicic. Its insane to expect top performance from lesser talent. Kevin Love may spell a new beginning, but there’s no coincidence that his emergence came after my exit from the 612.
The problem with Indiana isn’t talent; the Pacers got off to a 9-7 start and have notched victories over the Heat, Lakers, and Celtics; they have enough talent on the roster to be a low-level playoff team. But forward Danny Granger has seen his numbers regress from last year, center Roy Hibbert started strong but then faded, point guard Darren Collison has struggled with his efficiency, and none of the other “role players” have developed. This leaves the Pacers at 17-37 on the season, good for 10th in the Eastern Conference.
2) A Local Hoops Legend Turned ex-Celtic Turned Front Office Type
At roughly the same time in the late 70’s, legends were being born on the hardcourts of the Iron Range of Minnesota and in French Lick, Kentuckiana. Kevin McHale and Larry Bird converge on Boston from those divergent backgrounds to form the Celtics’ dynasty of the 80’s, after which they return to their home states to help incapacitate their hometown NBA franchises. McHale went from local hoop hero to zero during his tenure at the head Timberwolf; he was not-so-lovingly referred to as “McFail.” Meanwhile, Bird put success on the wing out of Indiana.
So, if your hometown boasts a Boston Celtic of the 80’s, and he comes home to run your team, you might want to make sure your local phone book doesn’t also have a listing for Dubsism.
3) Getting Followed by a Coach From the Previous City
There’s an old saying in basketball about “following your shot.” While this one hasn’t happened yet, all signs point to it being a solid reality. What the hell am I blathering about, you ask? It’s rather simple. I leave California for Minnesota, and by the time I leave, ex-Laker Kurt Rambis follows me as coach of the Timberwolves. With Jim O’Brien’s departure from Indiana, rumors are circulating the leading candidate to be his replacement is current Utah Jazz assistant coach and former Minnesota Timberwolf Tyrone Corbin. If that happens, the Pacers are officially doomed.
Consider yourselves warned, NBA fans. If you would like to know where to send the checks to keep me from moving to your city, just email us at email@example.com.