A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
This Series May Not Set The World On Fire But It Won’t Be Dull Either
SAN ANTONIO – You have just got to love some of the national media types. Most of these guys only see glimpses of a few games, figure they can make a couple of assessments, do what I call the “Peter Vescey” storyline test (that’s when you take nonsense minutia, throw it up against the wall and hope that SOMETHING sticks), and then pray to whatever microphone that makes you sound good that the storyline is believable. So what’s the storyline that everyone is trying ram down the throats of basketball fans right now? That this series between the Detroit Pistons and the San Antonio Spurs will be a ratings killer for the NBA and its broadcasting partners. That as soon as this games goes to a halftime where the total points are 100 or so points, viewers are going to do the click dance to A&E, Lifetime or worse, the Soap Opera channel.
Far for me to tell any of you that this series is going to be a hellafied scorcher because it’s not going to be that. However it’s not going to be a ratings buster either. There are plenty of storylines for writers, commentators and broadcasters to pull from. For instance I am thinking about maybe doing a piece on the media barbecue that will take place this weekend. I’m wondering, just how many strawberry daiquiris can Hubie Brown consume before he calls Al Michaels a simpleton. Or how about how many times some of us see another colleague fall into the San Antonio river. Yes folks these are the storylines I want for this weekend. The game could be superficial if I get Mike Tirieco and others to ride with me over to the ‘ghost tracks’ and we feel the fingerprints of the little kids pushing us to safety. That my friend could be true journalism because what I am hearing now about a game that would be so slow that Dino would learn to ask Wilma for a bone is just ridiculous.
On a serious note this series is going to go deep and actually make the league money. The Pistons are a very good team and they remember how much they were the under dog then and how they are right now. On paper I see the starting five of both teams just canceling each other out but then again I could also see one or both of these teams going to areas of their game that they have not had to do in quite some time. The Spurs can play grind to a halt ball that Detroit is very capable of playing as well yet if the Pistons want to, they can run with the Spurs and be just as versatile in the up tempo style that is favored by the Western teams. In other words folks what you will be watching is an exciting game with so many varying styles that a casual fan would be hard pressed say that this series would be boring as watching paint dry in the winter time.
FANS OF BOTH TEAMS SHOWING THEIR SPIRIT So this isn’t Miami and Los Angeles playing but don’t tell that to any of the fans from Detroit or San Antonio. Check the message boards of both teams from various fan sites. Tune into the local talk show stations in both cities. Just have a casual conversation with someone from the Motor City or who is from San Antonio and you will be hard pressed to say that there isn’t support for either team during this time. For Spurs fans many are in a ‘fiesta’ atmosphere because this franchise is now in it’s third NBA Finals in eight years and it is just like it was the first time. For Pistons’ fans that are down here, the Alamo city isn’t a better place to get your party on. Where else can fans of the opposing team walk from their hotel room, down to a legendary landmark, enjoy great food and interact in a civil manner with the ‘opponent’? Not too many cities have this “laissez-faire” attitude about hospitality but San Antonio just revels in it. Now that’s not to say that Detroiters aren’t going to make Spurs fans welcome up north. In all fairness, despite what so many negative reports may have said in recent months, the Motor City is a great destination for an event like this. Detroit loves its sports as much as any northern city and it is just coming into its own as a proud member of the sports club these days.
So what can fans of both of these teams look forward too as their spirit rains down onto the earth? If you are sitting on the fence about who to root for you might want to stay home. Both of these fan bases are ready to rock and roll and both of these great cities are ready to showcase the pride that makes these two franchises the great spectacles that they are.
A MOMENT OF THANKS TO THE MIKAN FAMILY I want to close this column with my sincere thanks to a member of the George Mikan family who went out of her way to send me an e-mail thanking me for a recent story on her family member. Let me say that I have never met Mikan but I have heard wonderful stories about him in his heyday (amazing what you can hear in a men’s stall these days). So these few words go publicly out to Ms. Sherry E and the rest of the Mikan family; my condolences on the loss of your loved one.
I want to implore everyone who thinks that the Pre65ers need to be taken care of by both the NBPA and the retired players association to write both of these organizations and help pressure them to remember the past of this league so that the future can be preserved. Maybe a little public sentiment will get some much-needed relief to these players. The addresses are below: National Basketball Players Association Attn: Billy Hunter, Executive Director Two Penn Plaza, Ste. #2430 New York, NY 10121 National Basketball Association Retired Players Association Attn: Mel Davis, Executive Director 475 Park Avenue South, Sixth Floor New York, NY 10016