Charlotte's big run to the postseason has been great for the team, but how much would being swept by the Magic hurt?The Bobcat's are only one loss away from being swept in their first ever playoff series against the defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic. With the Heat's win over the Boston Celtics yesterday, Charlotte remains as the only team in danger of being swept. Although my view on Charlotte being the best of the lower seeds in the East and being a team capable of improving with more time together, I am afraid for the views of the new fans who have began following the Bobcats throughout the playoffs. The Hornets were always a pretty good team, even finishing in the top half of the conference for a few years. However, they never could put enough together to get past the Bulls. Not ever really being a championship contender made it all too easy for the fans of Charlotte to turn on George Shinn and the Hornets. I mean, don't get me wrong, Shinn was a total prick and deserved all the hate he received from Charlotte fans (as well as me), but I do see why some people wouldn't want to be bothered with dealing with our fan base.
We have some of the most pessimistic, impatient, and disloyal fans in all of sports. Part of the problem is that with Charlotte being a melting pot, a lot of people come here already loyal to their own home teams and don't bother checking into the NBA or NFL team located right down the road. Another part of it is the Panthers and Bobcats are two of the youngest franchises in professional sports. They haven't had time to develop the tradition that the Cowboys or Lakers have. So, for me, it's like for every one Bobcat fan I know, I know about 50 fans of other teams around the league. Another thing is for some reason, the people of Charlotte have always had that championship or bust mentality. I understand that totally, I completely do. Expectations should be high. However, as I was watching the Bulls game against the Cavs yesterday, they were saying the Bulls were still leading the league in sell-outs. I thought to myself, "wow, a team with no championship aspirations coming into and throughout the year leading the league in sellouts? Must be nice."
It really must be nice to have fans who really care. I mean, we see them now, we seen the towels waving in the arena, all white, but where will they be if the Bobcats lose today? Part of me wants to believe that the M.J. movement will continue on, and the team will upgrade, and the fans will continue to move towards actually making the team a profit. But then, the other part of me says these people won't be here next year if they fill like this is the team's full potential. Even a playoff run next year wouldn't be enough to keep the new comer fans halfway interesting. It's going to probably take around 55 wins, a top 3 seed in the East, or a trade for a big time player to keep them around. The only thing the general sports fans in Charlotte will take is a championship to be ready to embrace our teams. Even a Super Bowl run for the Panthers wasn't enough to convert Steelers, Redskins, or hell, even Rams fans into at least half-way supportive fans of our own, so I'm not sure if everything we see now is a mirage or not. What wasn't a mirage was the sight of thousands of fans being let down in a game the Bobcats could have stolen and needed. Not only did they lose, but with the average NBA fan saying "why did we shoot the 3 with 30 seconds left down 1, are we really that dumb", it only helps with taking the life out of the fan. With the Bobcats still on slate to lose money this year through it all, I'm wondering, can they really afford it?
P.S. Miami won in an elimination game and so will we. As a matter of fact, as long as we "PLAY THE RIGHT WAY (attack the basket EVERY possession"), we still give ourselves a chance to win this series. I mean, win two straight and it's a whole different series. I'll be at the game tonight, so I won't be able to participate in the game day threads, but I'll have some pictures for you guys.