The sports editor's first NBA game

Jan. 19, 2013 @ 02:38 AM

I'm not sure why it took so long, but after 25 years, I finally made my way to an NBA game. At least I think the Charlotte Bobcats still qualify as an NBA team. After what I witnessed in Tuesday's 103-76 loss to the Pacers, I'm not so sure.

10 observations...

10. The Bobcats' dance team, the LadyCats, was worth every bit of the $8 price of my ticket. At least someone in the organization has an eye for talent.

9. Music should not be played while the game is in progess. At times, it was hard to take the game seriously and it felt more like a minor league baseball game than basketball at its highest level.

8. Brendan Haywood is well past his prime. He's never been the best offensive player. He has made a career on powerful finishes inside, eating space and defense. But the 33-year-old is no longer the (relatively) productive player he was with the Wizards or his first season with the Mavericks.

7. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was a non-factor for the Bobcats. The second overall pick in last year's draft finished with four points, about six points below his season average.

6. Tyler Hansbrough will never be more than an average NBA player — not that that should come as a geat surprise. He doesn't possess the athleticism or the range to be an elite player.

5. The level of play in this game was underwhelming. I've seen much better displays of athleticism in college and even select high school games. That's less of a knock on the NBA as a league and speaks more about the players and atmosphere in this matchup — a regular season matchup between the Pacers and the lowly Bobcats on a Tuesday night. The Pacers, when healthy, are one of the best teams in the East, but aren't going to wow anyone with athleticism - with the exception of maybe Gerald Green. Maybe.

4. The Pacers are good - even without injured Danny Granger. The 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert had the most imposing presence on the court. A true NBA center, he has more than just size. The skill he developed around the basket at Georgetown has translated to the NBA. Point guard George Hill and forward Paul George were also impressive.

3. The Bobcats simply aren't talented enough. Kemba Walker and Ben Gordon are good enough players. And so is Gerald Henderson. But Henderson should be a compliment, not a co-captain. The team was playing its fourth game in five days after returning from a three-game road swing. So Tuesday's performance certainly wasn't the Bobcats (9-29) at their best. They were also without center Byron Mullens.

2. Michael Jordan looked miserable. Seated alone at the end of the Bobcats bench, I couldn't take my eyes off of him. He sat there with a blank stare, often looking down or with his head in his hands. I may have spent as much time watching Jordan as I did the game. He's the greatest player of all time. He's a Tar Heel. As a North Carolinian and basketball fan in general, I can't help but want to see him turn things around.

1. As hard as the Bobcats were to watch Tuesday, this was still an enjoyable experience. Time Warner Cable Arena is a great place to watch a game. For now, tickets are affordable and easy to come by, especially for midweek games. The team's new color scheme is great. So are the uniforms and so is the design of the court. But I couldn't help but wonder how much more fun it would have been if I had come to see the Hornets franchise I grew up watching on TV. Maybe I'll get that opportunity one day...

“The name will bring fans back,” Shinn says.

Read more here: