The death yesterday of inspirational college basketball coach John Wooden at 99 is only the latest tragedy to befall stars of the documentary film Basketball Man, and has increased whispers that the acclaimed documentary film from our pals at Frozen Pictures is cursed.
Wooden's death at 99 follows the untimely demise of Chicago Bulls and broadcasting legend Norm Van Lier, who was found dead in his apartment on February 29, 2009 (fellow Bulls broadcaster and former Bulls head coach Johnny "Red" Kerr died later that same day), at 62.
Legendary Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach died on October 28, 2006, months before the film's DVD release in 2007. He was 89.
In December 2006, Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony was suspended for 15 games for sucker-punching an opponent at Madison Square Garden. He was arrested for drunk driving in April 2008, and is having his upcoming nuptials broadcast on VH1.
A week ago, Steve Nash lost out on his chance to appear in the NBA championships finals when his Phoenix Suns were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers, two games away from the fulfillment of his dream.
The film about the birth of the game of basketball and the incredible life of its inventor, Dr. James Naismith, was also cursed behind the scenes. A cameraman committed suicide. Star and producer Ian Naismith had a stroke. andReneé DiGiulio, president of the Naismith International Basketball Foundation, Ian Naismith's wife and a prime mover in the development of the film, died of cancer in February 2007, as wrangles among its executive producers led to promotion being ceased before its release and the project left to wither, despite acclaim from the Kansas City Star ("wonderful, great"), CBS Sportsline ("definitive"), Parade ("a slam dunk") and the New York Times ("remarkable").
The film also features Rick Barry, Jerry Colangelo, Bob Cousy, Kirk Hinrich, Michael Jordan, Sam Lacey, Steve Nash, Norm Nixon, Tayshaun Prince, Gator Rivers, Oscar Robertson, Bud Stallworth (who also lost his wife to cancer in 2007), David Stern and Pat Summitt, among others. (If you have information that any of them have been touched by the curse, please contact us here.)
Basketball Man is available in a deluxe, two-DVD set at Amazon.com.