Brace yourselves, Lakers fans. Storms lie ahead.
The first week of the 2015-2016 NBA season has been full of horrors for the Los Angeles Lakers. Winless after three games, fans of the Purple and Gold have already begun to shift their attention and dreams to a later timeline. If you listen to Lakers fans sleep-talk, some say you’ll hear a steady stream of murmurs about things such as “youth,” “future” and “potential” in between quiet screams.
At approximately 1:45 p.m. ET on Monday afternoon, the other shoe dropped for those fans, when The Big Lead cited a report that Future Franchise Savior D’Angelo Russell may be dating -- wait for it -- a Kardashian. To be specific, Kendall Jenner; the 19-year-old model has reportedly been seen at both Laker home games this week.
We'll give LA devotees a moment here. This news is a lot to take in.
Back to business.
We’ve all heard rumors of The Kardashian Kurse -- an athlete’s sudden decline in skill level or statistical production once he has been linked to a Kardashian sister. Given the heavy load of expectations Los Angeles fans have already set on Russell’s shoulders, The Huffington Post decided to aggregate and analyze the statistics to see whether The Kurse is real and if these athletes really do falter once they’ve broken bread with the first family of reality TV.
Buckle up, Lakers fans. Your team’s future may hinge on this number crunch. Below you’ll find a handful of the athletes that have dated, proposed to or married one of the clan, and how their stats shape up before and after their breakups.
In just his first games back on the basketball court since his relationship -- and potential breakup -- with Khloe went public in the summer of 2015, Harden has seen his numbers plummet. The Houston Rockets shooting guard made a serious bid for MVP in 2014-2015, putting up 27.4 points per game on 44 percent shooting from the field, while shooting a cool 37.5 percent from three-point range.
Through three games this season, however, Harden’s been, uh, not as good. He’s shown a 34.3 percent decrease in his point production, tallying just 18 points per game; his field goal efficiency has been cut in half, connecting at only a 22.2 percent rate this year; and he’s made only three of 32 three-point attempts -- a brutal 9.4 percent.
Moreover, in 2014-2015, the Rockets boasted the second best record in the Western Conference at 56-26, a win percentage of .683. Now it’s November 2, and they’re still winless this year, setting NBA all-time records for losing in completely miserable fashion. And while Lamar Odom's recent spiral is tragic and by no means a joking matter -- which is why we don't discuss him at length in this list -- it's hard to ignore that Harden's post-Khloe statistical downfall has echoes of Odom's sudden drop in numbers a couple seasons back. In just a one-year span from 2010-2011 to 2011-2012, L.O.'s points per game fell from 14.4 to 6.6, as his and Khloe's marriage reportedly became increasingly turbulent.
Of course, it’s far too early in the season to tell whether The Kurse will truly affect The Beard, but as of right now … Houston, you have a problem.
Kurse level: 9/10
The running back dated Kim from 2007 to 2009, before a quick reconciliation-then-split in the following months. Unlike that of Harden, Bush’s relationship was long enough to give us plenty of data to see how his career twisted and turned when he bore the scarlet K.
Turns out that Bush’s statistical trajectory wasn’t so hot in those years. Amassing 48.8 rushing yards per game in 2007 -- with a total of 581 on the season -- he saw those numbers drop to 27.9 and 390, respectively, by the final year of their relationship. His receiving yards tell a similar story, showing a nearly 20-percentage-point drop in total yards and a 31 percent dip in yards per game in the same timespan.
Oh, by the way, two years after the couple’s split, Bush was back to form, close to tripling those mid-relationship numbers, totaling 1,086 rushing yards for the 2011 season.
Kurse level: 7/10
Linked with Kim throughout 2010, the then Dallas Cowboys wide receiver paired his reality TV dates with a notable drop in production. His total receiving yards swung from 1,320 in 2009 down to 1,041 in 2010, and his per-game receiving yards fell from 82.5 to 65.1. With Kim on the sidelines, his touchdown total went from 11 to seven, while his Cowboys team fell alongside their wide receiver, shifting from an NFC East-best 11-5 record to a third-place finish at 6-10.
Kurse level: 5/10
Alas, there is hope for young D’Angelo! Hope in the form of the 6-foot-9-inch Kris Humphries, whose play actually improved -- nay, blossomed! -- when he was dating and then divorcing Kim. In fact, the only two seasons in which he averaged either double-digit points or double-digit rebounds were those years of Kourting and Kutting ties.
Kurse Level: -1
Best of luck, Russell. The heart of one teenaged reality TV star and the hopes of millions of Lakers fans may rest on your 19-year-old shoulders.
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