by Tim Wendel
So, another NBA season is upon us and I find myself in a familiar situation. What team do I root for? Tough question to answer since the Braves blew out of town three decades ago.
In recent years, it’s been easy to ignore this dilemma. You get caught up in the baseball playoffs and by the time the World Series is over, the NFL has gotten downright serious. But this time around, it’s more difficult to shrug off pro hoops. For one, the Olympics kept the NBA front and center over the summer. The U.S.-Spain showdown was a great championship game, perhaps one of the best ever played. Too bad we had to stay up until the crack of dawn to see it.
Of course, another difference-maker is “Buffalo, Home of the Braves” — the book my brother and I have been working on for several years now. The commemorative edition is in the final edits and even though this has dragged like Dean Smith’s four-corners offense, I’ve been reassured that we’ll have copies soon after the holidays. So, what team do I root for? If I play along with the sports regionalization playbook, it’s the Toronto Raptors. They promise to be better with Jermaine O’Neal on board. But when somebody says Toronto to me guys like Wendel Clark and Neil Young come to mind.
In recent seasons, I’ve taken a liking to the Phoenix Suns. Steve Nash is as good a point guard as it gets and he’s another Canadian to boot. Still, I cannot help thinking the door may be closing on the Suns. While I cheered for Los Angeles Lakers when Magic Johnson was running the show, I’ve never been a big Kobe Bryant fan. May be it has something to do with that court case in Colorado. Down in Miami, the Heat haven’t been much since Shaq’s game began to deteriorate and Dwayne Wade started spending more time calling Sir Charles than being on the court. New Orleans has a lot going for it, but the only way I’m see many of those games is to purchase NBA Season Pass.
The last time I parted the curtains and really looked out on the world, the recession was becoming a full-fledged depression. I could root for guys from my alma mater, Syracuse University. Gerry McNamara may make the Utah Jazz and Hakim Warrick will probably see more playing time in Memphis. Still, when you come right down to it, that’s a fantasy way of following the game. So, help me out. I need a bona fide team. A cast of characters I can follow in the box scores every morning.
Any suggestions Braves Nation?