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Fans Say Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour Curses NBA Playoff Teams

A few weeks ago, 24-year-old Matt Moses noticed a trend: every time Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour came to an NBA team’s town during the playoffs, that team was bound to lose.

These three concerts in Atlanta at the end of April? Boom, the Hawks lost their series to the Celtics just before Swift arrived. When Swift played in Philadelphia in May? The 76ers lost the series, also to the Celtics, after a Game 7 loss on Swift’s final night at Lincoln Financial Field.

Moses posted his observation on Reddit, calling Swift “key to Eastern Conference games this year.” But when the pop star visited the Boston area for three nights last month, the Celtics fan desperately hoped his prediction wouldn’t stick, he told The Washington Post. Bad luck – the Miami Heat beat the Celtics in two games on the same weekend. Swift had her shows in Boston.

To add insult to injury, Moses had agreed to drive his sister to the May 21 show in Foxborough, about 30 miles from Boston. And as the Swifties sang their hearts out inside packed Gillette Stadium, he sat in his car outside, hearing about the Celtics’ Game 3 loss on the radio.

“It wasn’t a fun experience, but at least I got to hear him sing, and that kinda made up for it,” Moses said. “But everywhere Taylor Swift goes, there’s a curse.”

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This “curse” has exploded on social media as some conspiratorial sports fans link the stages of Swift’s tour to the wins and losses of their teams. Although Moses posits that this takes effect when concerts and games take place on the same weekend, some have noticed that teams from cities Swift has visited or will visit during her tour have also been wiped out. Take the Phoenix Suns. Swift opened their tour in nearby Glendale in March, and the team was knocked out of the semi-finals two months later. The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers both lost ahead of Swift’s California tour dates in July and August.

The theory now has implications for the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets in the Finals. Because Swift didn’t stop in Miami, some are betting the Florida team will win. But even if Swift goes to Denver in July, Moses says the Nuggets have a chance β€” after all, his show will be long after the NBA crowns its winner later this month.

“I think Taylor Swift barely spared them by saving the date until after the game,” Moses said. “So I think they’ll be saved from the curse, but I hope it doesn’t bring her bad luck.”

After the Heat beat the Nuggets on Sunday night, tying the series at one game apiece, the stakes are higher than ever.

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So should you bet on a Heat or Nuggets victory based on Swift? Better not to, said Don Saucier, professor of psychological sciences at Kansas State University.

“We always want to find patterns because we want to be able to predict behavior, decrease anxiety, and find some measure of control,” Saucier said. “And that’s what a superstition is – believing that a model has some impact even if it doesn’t. But it’s enough to make us feel better and be in control.

Superstitions abound in the sport – baseball players eating waffles before every game or Argentinian soccer fans claiming a celebrating grandmother as their lucky charm. Then there’s the kind of random animals turned oracles. And as for Swift, who follows some gig superstitions herself, the San Francisco Giants and a brazilian soccer team claimed that declines in his album lead to wins.

The combination of Swift being β€œsuch a cultural icon,” with her ability to overcome obstacles and β€œalmost make the impossible possible,” lends itself to superstition, Saucier said.

“It makes it plausible that she could have that kind of magical impact on the NBA Finals,” Saucier said. “It all comes down to how much autonomy and agency we give Taylor Swift. With that status, it suddenly becomes plausible that she could do that, whereas if it was another random group and less known, we’d probably say, “There’s no way there’s a connection”.

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Thousands of Taylor Swift fans who couldn’t get tickets to her sold-out Eras Tour in Philadelphia still partied and enjoyed her songs outside on May 13. (Video: Emily Yahr/The Washington Post, Photo: Rachel Wisniewski/The Washington Post)

One-day tickets went on sale for Swift’s Eras Tour, it led to a collapse of Ticketmaster – and, in a resulting congressional hearing, a group of senators expanded on their Swiftie knowledge. In the places she visited, local authorities honored her with temporary name changes, official state sandwiches, and even honorary mayors.

But Swift might now be a bit of an anti-hero β€” at least for NBA fans in those cities.

“I mean, for a minute it looked like the Celtics were going to win, but then [Jayson] Tatum got injured, and it was kind of over. But it wasn’t the hurt – it was had be Taylor Swift,” Moses said. β€œI’m not going to blame my team; I’d rather blame someone else.

For Moses, the Celtics’ Game 4 win two days after Swift left Boston cemented “indisputable proof” of a curse, he said.

He now has a message for the pop star: “Please don’t tour again during the playoffs.”


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