Sometimes it’s hard being a sports fan. Especially when your heart and soul are tied to a municipality where there is a long history of underachievement or flat out losing. New York can count on the Giants and the Yankees holding them down. Detroit can count on the Red Wings for consistent success. Los Angeles can count on the Lakers for a sustained period of excellence and so on. But what about those places where the fans support the team and have nothing to show but heartache and pain?
There are places like Cleveland, that have come ever so close with the Lebron period of the Cavs and that mid 90s Indians run, but generally wake up in cold sweats seeing Air Jordan elevate on Craig Ehlo for the shot, or their football team. I just moved to Charlotte recently. Nice town. Cam Newton. Nice stadiums. No MLB but this is a basketball town anyway with college teams in the immediate vicinity. And then there’s the Bobcats.
After George Shin screwed up all the positive karma from the always sold out Charlotte Hornets with a shitload of sexual harassment cases and eventually having the team moved to New Orleans (more on that later), leaving a professional basketball-starved population. Enter Bob Johnson and the eponymous Bobcats; the equivalent of replacing your ex-professional, Jaguar-driving hot wife with around the way filet with flip flops, sweatpants and a bus pass. This year, the Bobcats actually found a way to be the Worst.Team.Ever. As fans we always bitch when we don’t win, but they are actually the worst team that ever laced up and played. Worse than the Cavs post Lebron. Worse than the Bulls with Air Pete starting at the 2 guard. EVER.
You would think that historical impotence would lead to a number one draft pick, but it seems fate (and quite possibly David Stern) have dealt the cruelest of blows to the Bobcats (maybe they should change their names to the Bobdamns). Who won the number one slot, you ask? The New Orleans (formerly Charlotte) Hornets. Yes, that’s right, the formerly league-owned team who recently found a buyer after an entire year of league driven foolishness (including shafting my beloved Lakers before the season even started, but I digress). It is very interesting how the team that used to be owned by the league finds a new owner AND gets the number one seed. As someone who went to a few Bobcat games, I look at that with a raised eye brow and there’s not really anything other than the Wrath of God on that asshole Michael Jordan and those awful Hanes commercials that can convince me otherwise.
Even so, I stood online yesterday, pre-draft lottery, for the Bobcats open house. I love hoops and the chance to get season tickets for 43 bucks couldn’t be passed up. Of course when I got there a line of thousands was already there and those seats (500 were available) were long gone, but I went anyway to see how much season tickets would cost. Half court seats were 10 stacks. Even a few rows back. Not for the Bad News Bears of Hoops, dawg. Basket obstructed baseline seats? 5 stacks. After going everywhere but the rafters, I took my happy arse to dinner and home, where I learned David Stern went all Skeletor on the hapless Charlotte fanbase. You can’t make this stuff up.
I don’t love the Bobcats; my heart will always belong to the Lakers. But The Bobcats are a very affordable way to see real NBA action, even if it means going for the other team. That said, every team deserves at least the illusion that it has a chance to win (Over 60 years Lakers & Celtics have 35 rings, Bulls 6 Spurs 4 Detroit 3. Your team probably doesn’t have a REAL chance). Even after the worst season in NBA history, the hometown faithful came out in support of the Bobcats. It would be a shame if David Stern and the league gave Charlotte the middle finger. Again.
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