Monday, January 26, 2009

Horrific. Awful. Tragedy.

Eddy Curry's high-school sweetheart and the mother of one of his four children was murdered over the weekend in Chicago. She was shot to death along with an infant daughter (not by Eddy). And, Curry's 3-year-old son witnessed the whole thing. He was found by his maternal grandmother covered in blood but unharmed. He was covered in his mother's blood from attempts to wake her up after she had been shot to death and the killer had fled the scene.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, police have a suspect in custody. Allegedly, the gunman was an "acquaintance" of Curry's ex who had formerly been romantically involved with her. Of late, he had threatened her enough that friends and family members were concerned.

Eddy found out about the murders while in Philadelphia with the Knicks for a game against the 76ers. The Knicks lost and Curry, again, was in street clothes on the sideline. At this point, I don't know if there is a player whose experiences could be better used as a cautionary tale for youngsters looking to leap from high school to the NBA. He shows that even if you "make it" that everything can go horribly wrong. Curry declared for the 2001 NBA draft directly out of Thornwood High School. He was selected by Chicago Bulls with the No. 4 pick. And, little has worked out since then. He's been rich and famous. But, has it been worth it? On the court, he's been handicapped by a blatant lack of understanding for how to play the game. If you get him the ball on the block then he can score over most anyone. But he has never understood how to pass out of the double team or how to play team defense. He never learned how to play basketball, having not needed to know in high school and having eschewed college where he would have learned the game. Of the court, he's been a seeming constant target for trouble. In 2007, he was duct-taped in his own home in Chicago and robbed by a group armed men who had planned the attack on his home. Just a few weeks ago, he was accused by a former employee of all sorts of bad things. Except, it turns out the employee has a criminal record and had been trying to extort money from Curry for some time before going public with a lawsuit.

Eddy Curry is 26 years old. His former girlfriend, Nova Henry, was just 24 when she was murdered. Her daughter was 9 months old. Eddy and Nova's son is 3. This is just about the worst thing I could imagine for a child. The worst. And, for Eddy it's the latest turn on his carousel of public pain.

And, I don't meant to randomly imply that this all would have been avoided had Curry opted to spend two years at the University of Illinois. Not at all. It's just that when looking at the decisions that Curry has made in his life in relation to the sorrow that has been disproportionately heaped upon him I look for reasons and explanations wherever I can find them. A nice guy by all accounts and a too-gentle giant on the court, Eddy's life is not punctuated with trouble-making incidents like Plaxico Burress or hard-living like Josh Hamilton. He doesn't seem to have brought this upon himself. Aside from the fact that I think he should have dipped his toe into the collegiate waters there really isn't anything I can say that he did wrong. His crime seems to be being a very young public figure who seems nice enough that you can take advantage of him and get away with it. In that regard, it makes no difference that Eddy jumped from high school to the NBA. Not at all. In that regard, his life is a cautionary tale for all professional athletes. Or anyone at all. I guess.

Either way it's gut-punchingly sad. And, if writing the last three paragraphs has taught me anything it is that there is no takeway here. There is no sense to what happened. There is no explanation. None at all. Try as I might, this post has illuminated nothing. If anything, trying to make sense of what happens only leads to talking about things that are totally unrelated. Talking about draft position and passing out of the double team has only muddled the issue and been insensitive. Perhaps it's been my own way of mitigating the awfulness of the reality. But it certainly hasn't been my way of cogently explaining anything. These murders were senseless, brutal, without meaning and all the more tragic for that.

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