As Atlanta Journal-Constitution sportswriter Sekou Smith put it today, “Let’s talk about some change that you can believe in.”
For those of you who allowed your campaign addictions to keep you from noticing the start of the 2008-2009 NBA season, allow me to fill you in on a little shocker…
My Atlanta Hawks are 3-0.
(I use the terms “my” and “we” when describing MY Hawks because I have been with this team since I was old enough to realize who 'Nique, Spud, ‘Cack, Kevin Willis and “The Plastic Man” were. I was there for the 22 straight home wins with Deke, just like I was there for the 13 win season. This is my team as much as it is JJ’s or Smoove’s or Big Al’s or Woody’s or The Duck’s. I’ve watched every game that I could (and studied the box scores for those that I couldn’t) for over 15 years.
Like I was saying, WE’VE started out 3-0. Two of those wins came on the road (we only won a dozen road games last season). All three of the wins were against teams that made the playoffs last year.
3-0… after sportswriters all across the land mocked us for finally making the playoffs and then turning around and notoriously losing our talented young sixth man to a team in Greece.
The two-time all-star who "captains" my Hawks, Joe Johnson, is leading the league in scoring. Last week, Sports Illustrated published an anonymous comment from an NBA scout stating that JJ was no better than the supporting third player on a decent team.
Ok. I don't know where that dude came from, but I do know why he refused to let them use his name...
Again: 3-0, folks.
No major basketball writer (other than my boy Sekou) predicted us to do anything this year besides regress. To listen to those professional nay-sayers, our seven game playoff series against the league champion Celtics this spring—which followed the NBA’s longest playoff drought—was nothing more than a flash in the pan. According to them, we’re not even supposed to sniff the playoffs this year.
But, in three games, JJ, J-Smoove, Marvin, Big Al, Bibby, ZaZa and the new bench veterans Mo Evans and Flip Murray have played like real contenders. We convincingly beat Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, Hedo the Amazing Turk and the Magic down in Orlando to kick off the season.
Then we overcame a 23 point deficit at home against a very good 76ers team that includes ballers like Andre Iguadola, Andre Miller and Elton Brandt.
AND, the day after Barack won, we traveled to New Orleans to hand Chris Paul, David West, Peja, Tyson Chandler and the Hornets their first loss of the season.
Many of those same hate-on-the-Hawks NBA writers predicted Paul and company to make it to the NBA finals this year.
I know it’s early, but we haven’t been 3-0 since ’97 and I need to relish this moment.
My Falcons are surprising people on the gridiron, but my real hopes fly with MY Hawks.
The NBA is here. Watch it.
It’s the best show on your t.v. sets.
(photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images)