It’s a common cliché, particularly at this time of year that it’s better to give than to receive. This selflessness has been on display with the Charlotte Bobcats, both on the court and off. For Thanksgiving the team served dinner to underprivileged children and their families. This week the team has been again active in the community, with Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley visiting children of all ages in Presbyterian Hospital and providing smiles along with presents and holiday cheer. Emeka Okafor took a more global approach, kicking off a new campaign for the One Million African Lives Initiative, with a goal of saving lives in Africa by cleaning up the sub-Sahara blood supply, to prevent the spread of diseases through tainted blood transfusions. With the amount of coverage each of these acts has gotten, their work borders on altruism.
On the court selflessness has been a positive for the team as well. During their two-game winning streak more than two-thirds of the team’s field goals have been assisted. While most of the coverage has been on the resurgence of Emeka or the return of Sean May, the team’s success has been driven by playing as a team. The Cats have won four of their last six, with each victory having a different leading scorer. During Wednesday night’s game, Jason Richardson scored his 10,000th NBA point and was acknowledged by the PA announcer and the crowd (the loudest cheer of the night), but J-Rich did not stop to bask in his accomplishment. He went to the huddle with the rest of his team to listen to Coach Larry Brown. There was still work to be done.
This team may not be a title contender, but one thing they are is a quality group of young men. They deserve more than this city gives them on a nightly basis. They deserve more than their owner has given them. Many Charlotteans lament the loss of the Hornets and are unwilling to give this team a shot, but unlike this city’s other team, there are no prima donnas, they are a group of hardworking, talented young men that give of themselves both to the team and to our city. They are the athletes we decry there aren’t enough of in sport, and yet there remains a disconnect between the team and the city. If the people of this city were made more aware of the persons in those uniforms and their actions in the community, they’d be hard pressed not to fall in love with this team. As this is the season of giving, I hope that the fine citizens of our city will see fit to give this team a chance, for if they do, they’ll be proud that these fine young men represent our city.
On a personal note, I would like to extend a thank you to the gentleman that provided me tickets to see our team play. For the first time, I walked down to my seats, a thrill I won’t soon forget.