Cavs’ Tristan Thompson’s Kardashian saga: two perspectives

There is perhaps nothing more heart-wrenching than witnessing the decline of one’s favorite athlete: to watch a once vibrant and promising star become a mere shell of what he or she once was. Fortunately, this decay is typically a gradual process that occurs expectedly in the twilight years of a player’s career. Kobe Bryant fans, for example, had ample time to mourn the end of the then-37-year-old’s 20-year stint in the NBA, in an arguably drawn-out one-year farewell tour.

Sometimes, however, the career of even the most talented young star can be tragically cut short, due to injuries, scandals or even a seemingly inexplicable mental block. In the case of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ now reserve center Tristan Thompson, none of these were the cause. The culprit seems to be something even more ominous and controversial, yet still easily identifiable: the “Kardashian Curse.”

Tristan Thompson, who was drafted fourth overall in the 2011 NBA draft, was considered one of the league’s most durable and consistent players before he and Khloe Kardashian went public as a couple in the fall 2016. In the season before that year, Thompson held the record for most consecutive games played and was fourth in the league in offensive rebounding. In 2015, shortly before the center’s upcoming free agency, LeBron James expressed great praise for Thompson, saying, “Tristan should probably be a Cavalier for his whole career.” Thompson then signed an immense five-year, $82 million contract.

There is a stark difference between then and now. In April of 2017, Thompson sprained his thumb, missing his first game after playing 447 straight. Then, this past November, he suffered a calf injury and missed a total of 29 games, the most of his career. He is also averaging career lows in points, blocks, steals and offensive rebounds this season, while recording his fewest minutes played. To make matters worse, his relationship with LeBron appears to have declined as well: the two had obvious on-court beef in a game last April.

But is Thompson’s career doomed? Will his relationship with Khloe bring him the same tragic downfall as it brought Lamar Odom?

Maybe not.

Last week, headlines revealed that Thompson was caught cheating on Khloe, who had his daughter True Thompson last week, with a woman named Tania. This affair had supposedly been ongoing since November. Thompson was actually booed in his first game back after the news leaked, and some fans brought signs to support Khloe. Many may cautiously conclude that this relationship is now over.

One must keep in mind that since the Houston Rockets’ superstar James Harden dumped Khloe back in early 2016, his career has reached new heights. In fact, he is now a virtual lock to become this year’s MVP. Perhaps Tristan’s career will now follow a similar upward trajectory.

So considering all of this, was Tristan Thompson right to cheat on Khloe Kardashian? From a moral standpoint, the answer is undoubtedly a hard no. From a career perspective, though, only time will tell. If T.T.’s actions allow him to break the curse and restore him to his former self, then Cavs fans may have to let the transgression slide.

Thompson played a laughable two minutes in the Cavs’ first game of the playoffs last Sunday, which marked Lebron James’ first first-round loss since 2011. If the Cavaliers are to have any chance at replicating their former postseason success, which is looking increasingly unlikely, they may need to try something new. That means giving Tristan Thompson more minutes, regardless of what he did to Khloe and regardless of whether or not he will be booed. Perhaps the only way to conquer the infamous “Kardashian Curse” is to face it head on. At least, that may be the Cavaliers’ only hope.

-Bella Baff

Tudor. Ming. Romanov. Human history is peppered with dynasties. Our newest dynasties, however, are those of a different kind. They grace our television screens, our tabloids and our Instagram feeds. The most prominent of these dynasties, the one that inspires the most love and vitriol of all, is the Kardashians. Their personal lives are considered public consumption, as their most prominent presence is on their reality television show, and their lives often inspire conversation and even conspiracy theories. Perhaps the most common of these is the Kardashian curse.

The story goes that a curse follows the men that attach themselves to the various Kardashian and Jenner women. Believers cite Scott Disick (though if becoming a multi-millionaire and getting paid thousands of dollars for a club appearance after being pretty much a nobody is a curse, count me in), Kanye West, Caitlyn Jenner, Tyga and most recently, Tristan Thompson.

Scott Disick, though plagued by substance abuse problems that began before his relationship with Kourtney, has clearly not suffered immensely from his association with the Kardashians. Let’s be honest, he would never be dating Sofia Richie without them. Kanye West has obviously suffered from some emotional issues since marrying Kim Kardashian in 2013, but he admitted to suicidal thoughts in 2010 and has had various outbursts over the years (VMAs anyone? I’m not even talking about a specific year anymore). Also, his net worth is $160 million and he has a new album dropping in June, so it doesn’t seem like he’s doing that badly right now. Caitlyn Jenner coming out as a transgender woman is something to respect and commend her on, not to use as evidence of a family “turning men crazy”. Tyga, I got nothing, but I will say that blaming the Kardashian curse for his troubles after he went after underage Kylie Jenner is heading into troubled waters. Also, plenty of men who were attached to the Kardashians seem to be doing fine. Harry Styles, who briefly dated Kendall Jenner, is still incredibly successful, with his debut solo single hitting #1 in 95 countries and a sold out tour he’s still on. Reggie Bush, who dated Kim, is seemingly happily married with children with a net worth of $14 million. Corey Gamble, Kris’s boyfriend, has always been a little under the radar, but no scandals have rocked him in their four-year relationship. The Kardashian Curse just doesn’t hold up.

After Tristan Thompson started dating Khloe, his stats suffered. This was also, however, after he had a child with another women and subsequently left her. It can hardly be argued that Khloe was the only major change in his life. Thompson has shown questionable judgement in regards to his personal life; partying hard and being in compromising positions with various women while his pregnant girlfriend stays at home, especially during the last few weeks leading up to the birth of Khloe’s and his child. For Kardashian fans, this parallels all too well the various drug and sex related exploits of Khloe’s first husband Lamar Odom, who repeatedly cheated on her as she struggled to have a child and save their marriage. It seems that if anyone is cursed, it may be Khloe. Odom has also repeatedly expressed wishes to remarry her. He, at least, doesn’t seem to see her as the problem in her tumultuous relationships.

Khloe Kardashian is no saint. She has often been accused of insensitive behavior, both on the show and off, especially through her twitter. When a Cavs fan tweeted her blaming her for their poor play, she tweeted back “They are #1 in their conference but thanks for sucking my **** hard enough 2 think I have that much power. Lick my ***** while you’re at it.” However, to blame her for the behavior of the men in her life is ridiculous, even if we’re taking curses as a hundred percent real thing that can happen (which we are). Thompson should get his act together on the court if he wants to keep that $82 million contract, but most importantly he should stand by his (ex?)girlfriend and their daughter, two people that he made an enormous commitment to. The curse, real or fake, seems to have caused Khloe as much and probably even more pain than any of her partners.

And if people boo Tristan Thompson at Cavs games, I won’t say I disapprove.

-Cullen Fagan

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