One of the most infamous superstitions in sports is the Madden Curse, the belief that whichever player that graces the cover of the popular NFL video game will be stricken by a series of unfortunate events.
Now, conspiracy-minded NBA fans are wondering if the Association’s version of the Madden Curse might be coming to life before our very eyes this postseason thanks to Kobe Bryant.
In case you may have missed it, Bryant is partnering with the new ESPN+ streaming service and regularly releasing a show called “Detail” which breaks down film of a certain player performing in the postseason. It just so happens that the players Bryant studied had a quick and sudden downturn of momentum in their postseason aspirations. For instance, DeMar DeRozan saw his Raptors swept by the Cavaliers after being featured and Donovan Mitchell and Jrue Holliday’s teams also saw quick exits after taking their turn in the spotlight.
Is this coincidence… or are there some kind of dark arts at play?
Bryant spoke about the show with the New York Times and immediately disregarded any talk of a “Detail Curse” as nothing but “simple-minded answers” from “simple-minded people.”
No, I would ignore everything Michael Jordan has to say. (laughing) Of course I would watch it. I think simple-minded people tend to give simple-minded answers. The Detail Curse thing about getting into players’ heads too much is about simple-minded people who don’t understand what film study is. When you’re a player you watch film to find advantages, so you look for little areas in which you can take advantage of teams. Some of these fans that say that stuff are just idiots.
From a broader scale, it’s not just about looking at that next matchup. We don’t talk about how to win the game, that would be a three-hour “Detail” in order to break the game apart. We’re just looking at a small window of a few plays that a player could take advantage to help himself.
Of course Kobe’s not going to give credence to any visible trends that his show might be cursed, that would be just silly. But isn’t it just a liiiiiiiitle bit suspicious that almost every player Bryant studied has failed to step up after being studied on the show? Jayson Tatum basically admitted that he obsessed over Bryant’s analysis and watched it 25 times. Could other players be psyching themselves out or should we all just chalk this up to a happy accident and a statistical anomaly?
There’s really only one way to find out. Kobe should study Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood after tonight’s Game 3 to see that if he can reverse curse them back into relevance for the Cavaliers. Then we’ll really know if Detail actually has an impact on the on-court performances of any players.