Moses posted his observation to Reddit, calling Swift “The key to the Eastern Conference Matchups 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 hold up, he told The Washington Post. No such luck — the Miami Heat beat the Celtics in two games on the same weekend Swift had her Boston shows.
To add insult to injury, Moses had agreed to drive his sister to the May 21 show in Foxborough, some 30 miles from Boston. And as Swifties sang their hearts out inside the jam-packed Gillette Stadium, he sat in his car outside, hearing about the Celtics’ Game 3 loss over the radio.
“It wasn’t a fun experience, but I at least got to hear her sing, and that made up for it a little,” Moses said. “But wherever Taylor Swift’s going, there’s a curse.”
That “curse” has blown up on social media as some conspiratorial sports fans connect the dots between Swift’s tour stops and their teams’ wins and losses. Though Moses posits it takes effect when the concerts and games are on the same weekend, some have noticed that teams in cities Swift has visited or will visit during her tour have also been wiped out. Take the Phoenix Suns. Swift opened her tour in nearby Glendale in March, and the team was knocked out of the semifinals two months later. The Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers both lost ahead of Swift’s tour dates in California in July and August.
Every city Taylor Swift plays in promptly has its NBA team get eliminated from the playoffs 😳
The theory now has implications for the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets in the Finals. Because Swift did not stop in Miami, some are betting the Florida team will win. But even though Swift is heading to Denver in July, Moses says the Nuggets have a shot — after all, her 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 this doesn’t jinx it.”
So, should you put your money on a Heat or Nuggets win based on Swift? Better not to, said Don Saucier, a psychological sciences professor 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 a pattern has some impact even though it doesn’t. But it’s enough to make us feel better and in control.”
The combination of Swift being “such a cultural icon,” along with her ability to overcome odds and “almost make the impossible possible,” lends itself to superstition, Saucier said.
“That makes it seem plausible that she somehow could have this kind of magical impact on the NBA Finals,” Saucier said. “It’s all about the amount of autonomy and agency that we grant Taylor Swift. With that status, it suddenly becomes plausible that she could do this, when if it were another random, less-known group, we’d probably say, ‘No way there’s a connection.’”
But Swift might now be a bit of an anti-hero — at least to the 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 injury — it had to be Taylor Swift,” Moses said. “I’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 the “indisputable evidence” of a curse, he said.
He now has one message for the pop star: “Please don’t tour during the playoffs anymore.”