Did Karma Just Insert Its Way Into Jonathan Issac’s Life?

Jonathan Issac doesn’t believe in karma I’m guessing. Karma is a Buddhist and Hindu belief and Issac is a Christian. Karma is also a theory and doesn’t necessarily have membership in any particular religious experience, belief, or ritual. It is a universal meaning for mankind. A person’s actions in one state of existence will decide his fate in another existence. Simplistically, karma is the path to your destiny. It is cause and effect. What you reap is what you sow. Love others and you’ll receive love. Diss others and you’ll get played.

Years ago, Mike Tyson admitted to karma after a rape conviction. Though he emphatically denied raping Desiree Washington, Tyson said that other things he had done in his troubled past had gone unchecked and so he was paying the price. That’s karma.

Jonathan Issac wasn’t born when Mike Tyson went to jail for rape. But karma isn’t exclusive to one decade or another. It responds to positive and negative energy in the universe.

Issac ripped his ACL in an NBA game which in and of itself isn’t noteworthy. Issac has had a history of knee issues. Because of his previous history, and the seriousness of a ripped ACL, it was a particularly sad moment on a bubble court with Issac crumpled on the ground. He’s just starting his career and the repetition of knee injuries is troubling. NBA history is filled with talented players with bad knees. They were never who they could have been.

But the melodrama of Issac’s knee injury took on another texture because it was the knee that was damaged a day after it was the knee that Issac refused to bend on behalf of his black brethren who are getting killed by the police. Social media felt a certain kind of way.

@TheClimbBack wrote: Jonathan Issac wouldn’t take a knee so God took it for him. @MAKAVELIBLU wrote: Issac didn’t want to kneel so the ancestors took his knee wow.

The flashpoint of anger about Jonathan Issac not taking a knee was its aggressive submission, or what is known as slave theology. Just pray and you’ll find your freedom in the liturgy. It was the slave’s way of surviving atrocity and rape and murder. But 150 years after slavery, black folk coping mechanism has evolved to include prayer but more. John Lewis good trouble more. Rosa Parks be disobedient more. Colin Kapernick take a knee more.

Whether you believe in karma or not is a personal decision. I’m the daughter of an Episcopal priest and was raised to understand and know that behavior matters to God and it has nothing to do with Jonathan Issac’s lonely stand in an NBA game. I’ve seen karma have its way. Good acts have been rewarded and despicable people have suffered. In the church, we have a saying: God doesn’t come when you want him to but he’s always on time.

Did God punish Issac for his betrayal? Or to put it another way, if Issac had knelt for Black Lives Matter, would he still be walking around?

Divine work is a mystery that Twitter or Instgram cannot solve. There is an argument to be made for coincidence but so far in the bubble Jonathan Issac is the only one with a severe injury, and in the bubble Jonathan Issac is the only player who didn’t kneel for Black Lives Matter. Those who believe God inserts himself and cleans up mess agree. HE had the last word.

The NBA is not off the karma hook either though. Specifically, the bubble.  It was risky to restart the league and frankly, NBA owners did it because of greed, of what they had lost during the pandemic. All things being equal, the players would have skipped the season if they could have maintained their financial capital within the league. But the owners were threatening to take money away so players were forced to restart.

Players worried that what happened to Jonathan Issac on a Sunday night, particularly for players not going to the playoffs, would happen to them. Now it has. Is that bubble karma? The NBA dismissed the risk for a financial payoff. Someone was going to pay. Karma always has the last word.

What goes around doesn’t always come back around. But when it does, like when a homeless man gave a woman a diamond ring in exchange for food and that diamond ring was the ring she had lost a week earlier, karma is saying some things.

Like, Jonathan Issac. I see you. The NBA. I see you.