Fellas, we've been through a lot of downs as Bobcats fans. We've seen a lot of sucktitude over the years. We've made horrible trades. We've been a league laughing stock. We are everything the Clippers strived to be and more pre-Elton Brand and pre-Griffin eras. We are a joke.
Well, another comedian decided to get some laughs at our expense last night. His name? David Stern.
Seriously guys... For those of you that know me from my years of posting in this forum, you know I love the game and I love this team. I fell in love with the game as a pre-teen after getting my ass handed to me on a daily basis by my next door neighbor and best friend in 1 on 1. I was horrible. I sucked in every way possible that you can suck at basketball.
When my friend wasn't home and wasn't able to play, I practiced on my own. I shot obsessively. Compulsively. I dribbled the same. I did everything I could so that the next game we played, I could finally win. That's all I wanted to do.
Days turned to weeks. Weeks into months. Soon enough, I not only won, but I turned it into a heated rivalry. This was my best friend and we would get into fist fights and shouting matches everyday. And when we weren't playing against each other, we were practicing passes and drills together. We just loved the game.
Throughout it all, we would watch our favorite players and go outside and emulate what we would see on TV. Michael was of course our favorite. We took turns pretending to be Byron Russell while the other was MJ, pushing off, stepping back and drilling the game winner. When Space Jam came out, as lame as it was, we'd pretend we were shooting free throws like MJ as a kid at the beginning of the movie, with one of us encouraging the other. We would play games where we would shoot shots and if we made it, we would get what we wished for before shooting it, if we missed, we wouldn't... I am still waiting to make sweet love to Tyra Banks.
We would watch all the great players, all the great series... Everything and anything we could watch and study, we would.
I went on to play in junior college and still get excited when I think about going out to play pick-up... I just love the game.
I've always supported our hometeams unwaveringly. I always will.
That being said... Gentlemen, after last night, a long held suspicion I've had about the NBA was confirmed. The NBA is fixed in every form and fashion.
You ever wonder why they have a lottery and don't just award the top pick to the worst team? Don't tell me it's to prevent a team who needs help from purposely tanking to get the #1 pick. It's not. As you saw this year, it takes a lot of horrible basketball and a lot of bad players playing it to be the worst team in the NBA. It's not something you can will yourself to alone... You have to legitimately be bad to be the worst team, whether you are trying to be or not.
They have a lottery so Stern and his goons can fix it accordingly in order to get the #1 pick to the team he deems most in need of it. The worst team only has a 25% chance of getting the #1 pick so that it can be easily explained as to why they didn't get it when Stern pays off the firm undertaking the lottery to give the #1 pick to whom he wants it to go to. This year, it was the Hornets. Sorry, Bobcats and all of their fans, but take this final "f*ck you" to go with your historically bad season you just witnessed and experienced.
There couldn't be a bigger slap in the face as a fan.
Think back... What are the odds that we miss out on the #1 pick as bad as we were, yet fittingly, hometown hero and high school phenom LeBron James is drafted by his hometown team who acquires the #1 pick the year he is coming out.
Fast forward a few years later... Post-The Decision, post-Dan Gilbert Rage Mode... The Cavs amazingly find themselves drafting #1 yet again the season immediately following Lebron's departure, just in time to save a fracturing fanbase.
We aren't Cleveland. We aren't New Orleans. Stern may talk a good game when it comes to Charlotte, our basketball team, and our market... But, it's just lip service. He's pumping us up just enough to keep us hanging on and watching his well acted version of WWE Basketball. The only mystery is who he has already pre-selected to win it all and win the lottery.
It's becoming pointless. He doesn't give a fuck about us, our team, our cities (in NC), our state, or our fans worldwide. We are just a toy for him. A social experiment he's performing to see how bad he can fuck with a collective fanbase.
From Shinn's mismanagement of the Hornets, to letting Shinn take that team away from a basketball hotbed and strong basketball market to put them in a supposedly bigger and more attractive market in New Orleans, to giving us a new team just a few years later in an almost fantasy fashion, to picking Bob Johnson to be the owner over other viable candidates, to Bob Johnson's failures, to selling the team to MJ... It's all rigged. It's all been heartache after heartache and he's never intervened for the betterment of our teams, our community, or our fanbase. He's always done just enough to make us feel like we were apart of it all, but we're not.
Aside from the lottery issues I've discussed above, I always reflect back to a glorious time in pro basketball in regards to competition... People always cite the 80s as pro basketball at its best - The Lakers/Celtics, Pistons, Cavs, Bulls, etc. The competitve fires were constantly on display and games meant something. Players appeared to play for the wins and not the money or fame.
I was too young to see any of that. But, the first great rivalry and intensely played series with no clear dominant force on either side at the time was the Kings-Lakers series of the early 2000s. I was a teen. I hated the Lakers and I hated Kobe for not wanting to play in Charlotte, so I naturally pulled for the Kings, CWebb, JWill, Divac and then later Bibby.
I watched every one of those games intently, believing that each team had fair footing and opportunity to win. This is when I first became suspicious of the league. The Kings were clearly the better team, at least by 2002, when I happened into a bet with a friend of $25 that the Kings would win. I watched cheap call after cheap call and refs turning their heads to obvious fouls and game changing plays in the Lakers favor. I'll never forget watching Bibby come up to guard Kobe on an inbounds play from the baseline in a key moment of one game. Kobe cocked his arm in front of his chest and delivered an elbow to Bibby's face standing behind him. The ball was inbounded as Bibby laid on the floor and the refs never missed a beat.
It was disgusting. And I obviously lost $25.
I say all this fellow Bobcats fans to tell you that I may remain a fan of the team, but I don't know that I can any longer put money into the pockets of Stern. I will not buying league pass next year (even though I probably wouldn't anyway because they don't show our games). I'm contemplating not attending any games. And I won't be buying any merchandise, as I know it goes into a pool for the entire league.
It comes down to this - any time money gets involved, the entity it is involved in can no longer remain pure. It becomes a business. Backroom deals are made. It is corrupted. This has long been the case with the NBA, and last night was the final straw. I'm a fan of the Charlotte franchise, of the Bobcats... But, I am not a fan of the NBA anymore. I hate David Stern and I hate this monster that he has created and controls.