Is there a 'Taylor Swift curse' in the NBA playoffs?

ByJoe DeMartino ESPN logo
Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Taylor Swift is at the height of her powers -- and when you're a music demigoddess, sometimes mere mortals find it difficult to function in your presence.

This has never been more true than during the intersection of Swift's Eras Tour and the 2023 NBA playoffs. For Swifties in cities blessed by one or more concert dates, their cups runneth over with good fortune, as they were able to (if they were quick and had some cash to spare) see their favorite artist put on a show for the ages. For NBA fans in those cities, however, Swift's appearance was nothing more than a harbinger of doom.

Don't believe us? Just look at the evidence from the conference semifinal teams.

Phoenix Suns

Eras Tour stop: Yes (Glendale, Arizona, March 17-18)

This was supposed to be the Suns' year, with the addition of Kevin Durant giving Chris Paul and Devin Booker a ... wait, we're just hearing this. It looks like the Eras Tour started in Arizona. They never had a chance. The Suns made it out of the first round against the Los Angeles Clippers but lost to the Nuggets in the semis.

Philadelphia 76ers

Eras Tour stop: Yes (Philadelphia, May 12-14)

The Sixers put up a hard-fought effort against the Boston Celtics, but The Process was no match for the curse. Swift played her last show in Philly on the night of Game 7, where Jayson Tatum scored 51 points and led the Celtics to an easy win.

Of course, the Celtics themselves would not be immune to the curse ...

Boston Celtics

Eras Tour stop: Yes (Foxborough, Massachusetts, May 19-21)

... because Swift would be in Massachusetts during the Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics didn't win a game while she was in town ... but curiously, nearly engineered a 3-0 comeback after she left. The curse can be delayed, but not fully resisted, however, and they fell flat in Game 7. Better luck next time.

New York Knicks

Eras Tour stop: Yes (East Rutherford, New Jersey, May 26-28)

You think a force such as the Swift curse respects mere state boundaries? Boundaries established by mortals? Such hubris. East Rutherford is barely 6 miles away from New York. Brooklyn got swept by the Sixers in the first round, while the Knicks lost to the Heat 4-2 in the semis.

Golden State Warriors

Eras Tour stop: Yes (Santa Clara, California, July 28-29)

The Warriors have ruled the NBA for the past decade, but that is nothing next to the power of Tay. They merely delayed their doom, as they fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in the next round.

Speaking of the Lakers ...

Los Angeles Lakers

Eras tour stop: Yes (Los Angeles, Aug. 3-5, Aug. 9)

Not even the radiance of fellow demigod LeBron James could counteract the curse of the Eras Tour. LeBron tried his hardest, leading the Lakers past the Grizzlies and Warriors in the first two rounds, but the King and his court were rapidly dispatched by the Nuggets in the Western Conference finals. A regular Ragnarok, so to speak.

Denver Nuggets

Eras tour stop: Yes (Denver, July 14-15)

The Nuggets came into the NBA Finals as favorites, with a long rest and a lot of momentum on their side. All of the metrics say they should win. But the curse is powerful and insidious and strikes when one least expects it. And that's not even considering this:

Miami Heat

Eras tour stop: No

The closest she'll get is Tampa, Florida, and we won't be counting that. The Miami Heat may be spared. And that, in the end, could be all that matters.

h/t Reddit

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