Friday, October 10, 2008

What team do you root for?

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?


greenmtngirl said...

There's always the WNBA, Chris! Oh yeah, except they don't play in the winter, do they? That always confuses me--basketball in the summer just doesn't seem right.
Have you considered switching to hockey? Who's your team there? In the women's NCAAs, Minnesota or Wisconsin are both good bets for the championship this year...and then there are perennial East-Coast lookers-on like Harvard and UNH. (Did you know the NCAA women's hockey title has never been won by a team outside the midwestern WCHA?)
I suppose none of this helps with your basketball woes, though... Look forward to hearing which team you choose.

CW said...

I'm a hockey fan from way back and still follow the Sabres. Living in Michigan the Wings fans generally don't know much beyond their own team.

Deric said...

Simple and easy. Cleveland Cavaliers. Geographically, the are the closest UNITED STATES team. As you know, the Cavaliers were the Buffalo Braves partners when the Braves became an expansion team in 1970. The Cavaliers also have a D-league team partner in the Erie Bayhawks(only 1-1/2 hours away from Buffalo). I myself am a Cavalier fan and I urge buffalo residents to be Cavs fans too. Toronto makes sense also, but I can't see myself rooting for a Canadian team. Anyways, The relationship the Cavs had with the
Braves and the city of Buffalo was my reason to become a fan. Did I mention they are title contenders too? Anyways, good luck.