AJ Daulerio's Cultural Oddsmaker runs every Friday. Email him to let him know what you think.
I've never been much of a superstitious person. A troop of black cats could march in front of me while I smash mirrors under a ladder, and I wouldn't feel the least bit doomed. Yet, I'm a huge karma person. Each week, I do a mental grocery list to make sure I'm on the right side of the universe and try to make up for some of my missteps. Granted, I don't donate enormous amounts of money to charity to counteract them, but I do what I can: The urine-seeping homeless guy may get a pocketful of change shoved in his hand. I'll dole out cigarettes to everyone who asks. I'll stop and patiently listen to the bespectacled young do-gooder with the clipboard as he tries to sell me on financially adopting a dirty child with flies in its eyes.
Finally, O.J. Simpson and his not-so tortured soul is getting absolutely thonked with a karmic boomerang right now. We're talking monkey kid from the Road Warrior-like velocity, here, as he's seemingly headed to the slammer for his Nordbergian Las Vegas robbery attempt of some of his own memorabilia. It's a fitting end to his whole disturbingly wacky life post-murder acquittal. Most of us remember back to that day during America's Trial when the jurors read aloud that mind-numbing verdict. Remember where you were. If you were in college, like me, you may have also had the uncomfortable circumstances of living next to some of the basketball team and listening to them yelp, bang the walls and throw an impromptu party to celebrate. Needless to say, even though I got along with those guys next door, I wasn't about to rush over to hang out on their couch that day to introduce them to my questionable musical tastes as I sometimes would. Rusted Root was not a welcome topic that day.
But it isn't just O.J. who's been shit-winded by karmic justice. In the last few months, there have been plenty of sports figures with shady circumstances surrounding them who've had their own come-uppance: Vick, Belichick, Floyd Landis, Serena Wiliams' ass...
So, this week I'm inserting my plastic Thom Yorke eye, walking my pet chameleon and placing odds on the next athlete to get what's coming to them.
This is what you get...
Kobe Bryant: 2/1
If this dude doesn't get his rectum invaded by a pack of water buffalo before his life is over, there is officially no God. Kobe's always come off as this friendless cocksucker, only concerned about his own self-interest and completely unaccountable for any of his transgressions both in his private and professional life. Well, if you think dragging your horrified wife up on stage during a press conference while you tell the world how you violently fucked the help during his Colorado weekend rehab, I guess that counts. That's contrition. However, his public image has still, for the most part, recovered. As long as he still dominates on the basketball court, all is forgiven. But don't be surprised in three years when he's stricken with a horrible case of dick rot. Actually, pray for it.
Ray Lewis: 1/1
It's so odd that seemingly everyone forgets that Ray Lewis was also maybe, possibly, assuredly somewhat responsible for stabbing a guy to death after a 2000 Super Bowl party. Even better, he took a plea bargain to rat on his two friends who were also arrested that evening. (They were also eventually acquitted.) But, come on, now, Ray — do you honestly think that your only punishment for your involvement in that murder would be undisclosed hush-hush settlements to the dead guy's family and being stripped of a chance to say you're going to Disney World after you won the Super Bowl? If Ray Lewis has successfully changed his image, great. Maybe he won't get sliced open by a random stranger one night while he's out clubbing. But he'll definitely be greeted by those screeching shadow demons from the movie Ghost, the minute his dancing ass bites the dust.
Roger Clemens: 2/1
Oh, steroids, you say? Not a chance. Roger does squats all year with beer kegs on his back when he's not playing baseball. He's always in great shape. Selfish? Nah. Come on, who wouldn't want to string organizations and fans along just long enough to broker yourself another ridiculous one-year contract. Evil? Hey, throwing at people's heads is part of the game. Even if is your own son. There's nothing wrong with a little competitive spirit in a person. Can't wait until the unauthorized biography on this guy comes out, revealing him to be the most diabolical player in history. After that, he'll be completely abandoned by those who once adored him. Except for Emmylou Harris.
Magic Johnson: 1/4
Sure, he got sprayed with AIDS as a result of his Herculean sport-fucking and infidelity, but unlike most of America who gets the disease, Magic Johnson didn't die or become ostracized by the league. No, he became a talk-show host. A basketball coach. He un-retired from basketball. A movie theater mogul. A national martyr. A world-wide hero. And, still, it's been almost 20 years since this guy's been HIV'd and yet, there's nary a atrophying muscle or even a raspy cough to be found. Other less notable, less wealthy people with the same disease have had to die at his expense because he keeps getting his name bumped up to the top of the list for all the good meds. Or? He completely made the whole thing up, just so he wouldn't look like such a pussy-poaching scumbag and lose all his endorsement deals.