I always love when a team unveils new uniforms, because it means we get these adorable, quasi-gay photos of the players fondling each other in them, looking as if they’re about to break into song. This latest sartorial change to the Bobcats has the added bonuses of a) looking cool, b) taking one step further away from the original toxic orange color that made Brevin Knight look as though he had been dropped in a vat of radioactive Fanta (or just actual Fanta). Even better, they’ve stripped the “Bob” out of the “Bobcats,” so we’re less reminded of original owner Bob Johnson, a man who remains genuinely miffed that fans weren’t more excited about his 30-win teams that had no regional cable deal, and that he couldn’t get more support from the community (other 100% funding for a brand new $260 million arena).
The new unis also distract us from having to answer the disturbing question of who’s more inept at this point: the Bobcats management or the media who covers them? Just days after telling us that the Bobcats were going with either Brian Shaw or Quin Snyder, the media reported on Tuesday night that the Bobcats were going with Mike Dunlap. Context really is everything. If this were the Spurs, I’d be admiring how Gregg Popovich had outfoxed the media, but something tells me that’s not what happened here. What happened here is more reminiscent of Leslie Nielsen’s response in Airplane! when told that all of the passengers had a choice between steak and fish: “Yes, I remember. I had lasagna.” In other words, owner Michael Jordan blindly led the blind with an impulsive pick that left everyone scrambling for ways to spin it so that it didn’t look like a complete goat rodeo. Then, just when you thought the Charlotte media couldn’t look even more clueless, we got no inkling of the new uniforms until we’re looking at Bismack Biyombo frolicking around in them (other than a picture of a hat a few weeks ago with no follow-up). With all the work and collaboration that goes into creating new uniforms, how does this go completely unreported?
I don’t know, but here’s something you’ll never believe: we’ve gotten almost zero acknowledgment from the local media about how misguided they were with their coaching coverage. Instead, they plunged right ahead with data-dump portrayals of Dunlap as a kind of brilliant, behind-the-scenes coaching Keyser Soze, with shadowy assistant stops in Arizona, Oregon, and Saint John’s (the greatest trick Dunlap ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist). By the way, none of these schools has anything to do with Duke or UNC, which you might think would make it difficult to mention either in an article about the hiring. Fortunately, Dunlap also had a brief stop in Denver five years ago as an assistant for UNC alum George Karl, giving Tom Sorensen just enough to keep his streak of 3,550 unnecessarily wedged-in UNC/Duke references intact. If you want anything more insightful, though, you’re better off looking nationally, such as Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick, who has a great deconstruction of just what a circus this whole hiring process has been.
As for the hiring itself, I’m sure we’re all confident that it was just the latest in a long line of Jordan moves that ended up being brilliant masterstrokes. I picture Dunlap, apparently a hard-working disciplinarian, marching in and letting everyone know who’s in charge (I also picture this happening to the soundtrack of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three). However, I have a few questions about Dunlap that are still unanswered. For one, if he’s such a highly-recommended savant, how did he get turned down by the University of Wyoming? I know it’s a basketball hotbed and all, but I find that alarming. Second, does he believe that faith alone in Jesus Christ will get us into heaven, or do we also need to perform a large, indeterminate number of good deeds? I ask because he went to school and coached at Loyola Marymount, then went to Cal Lutheran, and then went to St. John’s. So he would have had to change his mind on this at least twice, right? Otherwise, it would mean that these deeply religious colleges are just selecting people for their secular basketball skills, and that would be scandalous! Maybe the media should look into it…