Curse is the cure: Fans buy voodoo dolls to help Heat beat Mavs

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

I hold this truth to be self-evident: that it is a fan's job to do whatever is in one's power to propel one's favorite team or player to victory, especially in rivalry- or championship-deciding situations. Even if doing so requires breaching the laws of science, crossing over the boundaries of sanity and hurtling headlong into ... THE OCCULT.

/thunder claps, lightning crashes

As such, I applaud you, Miami Heat partisans, for flocking to Florida's purveyors of religious, spiritual and mystic items for the express purpose of "buying up voodoo dolls by the HUNDREDS ... to curse the [Dallas Mavericks] during the NBA finals."

From TMZ (obviously):

[The voodoo dolls are] selling out like hot cakes ... but the owner of El Viejo Lazaro Botanica [...] tells TMZ he has no idea which Mavs are being targeted by the hexes.

If they're not buying voodoo dolls, we're told Miami fans are turning to herbal remedies — buying what are called "Paraiso" herbs to use in a bath.

According to the owner, you put the herbs in a bath, get in, then visualize what you want to happen — in this case, a Miami Heat victory.

Yep. A Miami Heat victory. That's definitely what they're visualizing in the bath.

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In reality, behind the myths and scary stories and Papa Shangos lies a much more mundane truth — that, for all its bad P.R., voodoo is actually just a real, honest-to-Whomever religion that predates Johnny-come-lately faiths like Christianity. It's still observed by millions of people, including, as shown in this BBC News feature, many South Floridians, especially in the Haitian community.

Given that, there's at least a scintilla of a possibility that there's some basis in belief behind this basketball-sparked run on voodoo-related paraphernalia, and that it isn't entirely goofball nonsense. Strip away the dark associations, and what makes it different from lighting a candle, saying a Hail Mary or rubbing a rabbit's foot? Whatever helps you pass the hours before tipoff and gets you through the cold sweat of a late-game free throw — any port in the spiritual storm of a ridiculously close NBA Finals series, right?

Then again, I'm guessing those practitioners aren't the ones scooping up voodoo dolls in the hopes of giving DeShawn Stevenson sharp abdominal pains, striking Shawn Marion with a mixture of vertigo and night terrors, and making all of Dirk Nowitzki's hair fall out like that one girl in "The Craft." It's way more likely that the ones forking over scratch to try to swing this series by inflicting mystic damage on Dallas are the type of Heat fans who thought this video "really nailed it" and whose previous closest tie to voodoo was a Godsmack track on a scratched CD they still occasionally bump on their cars' tinny speakers.

As such, I'd be very surprised if the Mavericks suddenly start suffering seemingly inexplicable injuries, become Bambino-style bamboozled and drop the next two games in short, macabre order. Then again, if Ian Mahinmi starts speaking in tongues and Peja Stojakovic transforms into a freakish 6-foot-10 beetleman, at least we'll have an idea why. Appreciate the head's up, TMZ. As always.