Okay. So TT6 and I have been off and on tossing around this whole “Are the Hornets Falling Apart?” storyline since yesterday evening. I think I finally figured out what the problem is. Universally, the NOLA-bound response has been critical of Simmons and ESPN. Are we being overly defensivee? I don’t think so. This isn’t just the blind, rabid homerism endemic of Jazz fans. It’s something else. It’s about representation. Funny word. Representation. It implies a filter. An author is not simply “presenting” the facts to a reader, but “re-presenting” it through his or her ideological or moral view. That’s fine. We all do it. But what ticks me off, is that for the last several years, when it comes to New Orleans and the Hornets, the representation has been wrong.
The Hornets? You mean that team in Charlotte? No, sorry, they’re in New Orleans now. Oh, but Katrina hit, they’re staying in Oklahoma, right? No again. They’re coming back. But New Orleans was destroyed and it’s as safe as a civil war-torn African nation, right? No, that’s blown out of proportion. It’s fine. But Tracy McGrady said he wouldn’t feel safe going there for the All-Star game. That’s because he’d be scared to compete at that level. It didn’t stop the Arena Bowl or the Sugar Bowl or the New Orleans Bowl, or any of the hundreds of conventions and thousands of tourists that flock still to the city every week. It didn’t stop the French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest, or Mardi Gras. Okay, but basketball? This team is going to end up in Seattle right? No. They were dumb enough to sell their team to a guy from Oklahoma. But New Orleans is really a football town, right? There’s not enough people to keep the seats full for both the Saints and the Hornets, and those people aren’t giving up the Saints, right? Um, actually we’re among the League leaders in season ticket sales. Yeah, but people still don’t go to the games right? Hey, ass, were you listening to me? Yes, the lower bowl is about sold out and the upper bowl usually sells out or it’s close. Sure, sure, but it doesn’t matter since God ordained your city full of sin and will keep sending Hurricanes your way until it’s destroyed. Funny, I hear a lot less Iowans saying that now. Oh, but Louisiana is all corrupt, come on, some one’s gonna sell you out eventually or get caught in some gambling scandal. Leave the complaining about Harrah’s to Phil Jackson; it’s stupid. Oh. Hey, anyone sense the sarcasm?
Point is, the Hornets have had to deal with a lot more MISrepresentation than pretty much any other professional sport and the prayers Shinn sanctions before the games don’t seem to be helping. Sure, this city has been affected, but New Orleanians are hardy. At the same time, people think Katrina was just a storm. It destroyed this city, man, that doesn’t go away overnight. Homes that were just fine that day still stand wrecked and unlivable. Life is forever changed in this great American city. But that doesn’t mean we should abandon our lives or what we love. And one of those things has become the Hornets. New Orleans have a zest for life in all its facets, and basketball is now one of those things. So when it comes to the media, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for writers to have the common courtesy to get their facts straight before writing crap that they don’t know about.
Byron Scott, CP, and all the rest should be a model for the league. They’re not getting caught with drugs. They’re not beating their wives/girlfriends. They’re not talking bad about each other in the press. As Gerry V recently commented, as he traveled with the team, these guys are tight, they have fun together, they hang out on non-Hornets days; their families know each other. They’re a family. The media should love these guys. But then they wouldn’t be the Real World. They wouldn’t be The Hills. They wouldn’t be Survivor or the Rock of Love. So just like all of those “reality” shows use editing, plot prompts, and overacting to manufacture drama, the media is in on it at times. Here, it’s not even just Simmons, who apparently makes sweeping statements all the time, but ESPN, who was dumb enough to run this on their front page. But some people would rather a bunch of bullshit instead of honest work.
Look at NBATV. I mean I love their extensive coverage, but sometimes, it’s just a bunch of jackasses sitting around talking shit. Gary Payton and Chris Webber? Tip to J. E. Skeets over at Ball Don’t Lie: they’re horrible. How about some analysis? (P.S. Simmons liked these guys. Is he mental?)
Listen, the Hornets haven’t had the season they were hoping for. They have played some bad games. No problem. Let’s talk about that. Ryan at 247 wants to talk about free throw rates and turnovers. Fine. Rohan’s called out bad shooting and pace over at the Hive. Stellar. Let’s do it. But to just shoot your mouth and pretend it has any weight whatsoever just because it’s posted on ESPN.com is stupid. Of course, maybe we all need to accept some of the blame. We like talk shows and talk radio, and forget that in this country these people can say just about anything and it doesn’t make it true or right. Yet people accept these media-celebrities as sources. They’re no different than you or I, they just get paid to do it. So don’t assume something anyone says is true just because they say it.
So yes, the Hornets have been slightly disappointing this year. We all hoped they’d look like the Lakers do now. They don’t. But it’s November. I believe May will look different. Maybe not. But I hope that with a few more nationally televised games, at least the national media will present the facts about this team. Not just half-assed psycho-babble and creative ignorance.
Oh yeah, someone please tell Hubie Brown to stop saying “New Orleeeeens”. It’s an “i” sound. Like “New Orlins.” We say everything our own way down here. Get over it.