The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Possible Death or 500Gs... Possible Death or 500Gs...

That's the question former Bulls, now Knicks center Eddy Curry had to answer over the past couple of weeks:

The Bulls dealt center Eddy Curry to the New York Knicks on Monday, ending a contentious negotiation in which Chicago insisted the restricted free agent take a DNA test over a heart problem.

...

The Bulls had insisted that Curry take a DNA test to determine whether he's susceptible to a potentially fatal heart problem. Curry, who missed the final 13 games of the regular season and the playoffs after experiencing an irregular heartbeat, balked, saying it violated his privacy.

"I would never put a player on the floor in a Chicago Bulls uniform if I didn't do everything in my power to find out all the information that was available," Paxson said. "You can debate genetic testing 'til you're blue in the face. But from what I know, from what I've learned over the last six months, that test could have helped us determine the best course of action."

Of course there are crazy mad legal ramifications in allowing your employers to test your DNA. But I've gotta say, this is an exceptional case. I mean, Eddy Curry has the exact same heart condition that Reggie Lewis and Hank Gathers had. For those of you who don't know those two names, both were star basketball players- Lewis in college and the NBA, and Gathers in college (keep reading for the reason why it was only college)- who collapsed on the basketball court and died due to their heart conditions.

Now several doctors have cleared Curry to play, and one was kinda iffy, but if you're an NBA GM- save Isiah Thomas apparently. But really should we be surprised?- it doesn't matter if every doctor in the world clears Curry to play, all you need to say is Reggie Lewis and Hank Gathers.

I feel for both sides. Curry has known almost nothing but basketball for his 22 years on this planet. Taking that away from him is like taking politics away from a 30 year old Bill Clinton. But you also gotta feel for the Bulls, it's not as if they were trying to screw with Curry. If he had failed the test, they were going to pay him $500,000 every year for the next forty years. That's a whole lotta free money. But their insurers weren't gonna insure Curry. And whenever that happens in a sport, it normally means your career is over for health reasons.

Just a sad situation all around. I hope to God nothing happens to Curry, but if it does, then Thomas just gambled with a player's life to try and help save his almost hopeless GM career.