The Hawks are trying to build their fan support after making the playoffs last season for the first time in nine years. Despite taking eventual NBA champion Boston to a deciding seventh game in the first round of the postseason, Atlanta seemingly has yet to convince many fickle fans that the Hawks are as much worth the price of admission as seeing a superstar such as James.
Bullshit. I was there. Were more people in attendance to see James than the other six games I have been to this season? Yeah, probably...but so what? You think the Bulls, Wizards, Magic, Pacers, etc. etc. don't draw bigger crowds when LeBron comes to town? Of course they do. Hell, even for elite teams like the Lakers, Pistons, Spurs and soforth, the ticket gets a lil harder to grab when King James is in the building. This isn't an Atlanta thing.
Sitting in section 214, I was right behind a bevy of journalists "covering" the game on their laptops in the media row located between the 100s and 200s. One of those "journalists" was on Facebook for, no joke, half the fucking game. I'm fully convinced that was the AP writer that penned that junk.
The crowd was at least 80-20 in support of the Hawks. This wasn't Jordan coming to Atlanta in the mid-90s. The Hawks have folks excited and there was legitimate enthusiasm from the crowd as the game hung in the balance in the 4th quarter. I admit, I was wowed by watching LeBron, shouted "UUUUUUNNNNNNNNNGHHHHHHH" at his thunderous dunk, and thouroughly enjoyed watching him slice through the Hawks defense like a hot knife through butter. He's a great player. Great players awe you. There's no shame in that and wanting to watch them in person. Don't blame the Hawks fans for not showing up in droves and pumped out of their mind to watch one of our 17 games against the Bobcats this year.
Leaving Philips Arena, the crowd was chanting "A-T-L! A-T-L!," folks were commenting on Woodson's curious non-use of Acie Law and yelling "HOW BOUT THEM MOTHERFUCKIN' HAWKS!!!"...ok that last one was me, but whatever, it elicited an energized cheer. The Hawks have fans; and, they were there last night to cheer on their team, not LeBron's. To fall back on the "weak Atlanta fans" meme is lazy journalism, and whoever wrote that crap should be ashamed. Hopefully, though, he was able to catch all his friends most recent status updates and uploaded pictures on Facebook.
I'm excited as hell for Wednesday's game, and I will be there. I won't be at Monday's Bobcats game, but will be listening on the radio. Sue me.