Superstition and athletics go together like Saturday mornings and headaches.
The proverbial “curse” is happy hour. Everybody goes crazy during happy hour, and everybody goes crazy for a curse.
From the dawn of competitive sports, curses have plagued the minds of even the greatest athletes and strongest willed competitors across the globe. From the great Bambino cursing the Boston Red sox for 86 years starting in 1918, to the curse of the Billy Goat following everybody’s favorite loser in the Chicago Cubs (until Jason Heyward channeled his inner-Herb Brooks and willed the Cubbies to a title in 2016). Fan bases are always walking on egg shells, afraid to be the reason their teams would suffer through years of brown-bag fandom and extended off-seasons.
The curses in sporting pop culture don’t always live on the field. The NFL Madden Curse, referring to the dorm-room staple video game, is the label slapped to the fate that inevitably follows every athlete on the cover of the case. From 2000 to 2013, virtually every athlete on the cover had missed games due to injury or had a decline in production. Quarterbacks, running backs, receiver and linebackers. Nobody could avoid it. Ever since Megatron broke the curse in 2013, it has been a spotty on-and-off track record. Even Antonio Brown got himself traded last year, ending an era for the black and gold. Nonetheless, the Twitter-verse collectively holds its breath as the cover is announced every year. The ball, and ketchup bottle, is in your red zone Mr. Mahomes.
As the sporting ecosystem has continually integrated itself into pop culture and spread across the mainstream media, more and more industries and icons have connected themselves to it as a PR boost. One of the most prominent court-side celebrities (I wouldn’t say “icon”) who also happens to have a wildly well-versed curse attached to them is Drake.
The Drake Curse is when the greatest bandwagon fan, who often moonlights as a Billboard Top 100 stalwart, adorns your teams jersey, or shoots hoops during your college basketball teams warmup, or walks you to the weigh in.
I’m talking about the Alabama Crimson Tide, or the Kentucky Wildcats, or Conor McGregor. Incredibly, this isn’t even one third of the victims that this curse has plagued.
And now, his latest victim? The (formerly) undefeated British Bruiser in Anthony Joshua. In March, Joshua posted a photo of himself with the Canadian rapper with the caption “Bout to break the curse”. Take the 12-1 odds and this photo to the bank.
Don’t poke the bear, Mr. Joshua.
On June 1st, Andu Ruiz Jr. shocked the word with this 7th round TKO of Britain’s “Adonis” doppleganger. While pundits have cited a legitimate boxing history and competitive background, the most logical reason for this upset is the Drake Curse. Nothing else connects the dots.
As fun as it is to laugh at how many times one man can be attached to all the losses and upsets that Drake has, the never-ending presence of belief in superstitions and curses in sports speaks to something bigger in the psyche of athletes and competition as a whole. The seemingly-endless goal to control every aspect of the game, from training to the outcome, consistently proves futile: when all seems lost, or God’s Plan seems lost, sometimes its easiest to blame it all on Drake and move on.
But, just like Calvin “Megatron” Johnson staunched the Madden Curse, Kawhi “Fun Guy” Leonard and the team-centric basketball of the Raptors are poised to finally put an end to one of the most comical curses in sporting pop culture history.
I previously predicted the Warriors in 5. I’ll take the mulligan, cite the injuries, and state:
The Drake Curse ends in 6ix.