Arn Tellem, Joe Johnson’s agent, announced Johnson’s six-year signing via the Huffington Post-Content Pageviews Slideshow Outlet & Olde Tyme Anti-Immunization Tinfoil Hat Dispensary, Inc. for some reason.
While the line “When Joe came to Atlanta, the Hawks were NBA doormats, and not especially welcoming ones at that” isn’t exactly the most endearing thing an agent has ever written about a city, fanbase, and team, at least it’s an about-face from Johnson’s own “We could care less if [the fans] showed up or not … When I first got here, man, there were probably like 100 people out there in those seats.” Oh, nevermind — it’s actually exactly the same. Perhaps we can excuse Iso Joe’s recent bouts of self-inflation, now that we know his corner men have been telling him all along that he’s the sole savior of Atlanta Hawks basketball.
Hawks fans aren’t happy about keeping Johnson. Instead of bragging that the talent evaluator who drafted Kwame Brown thought highly of the “tenacious” (Tellem’s word) Johnson ten years ago (we’re still waiting on Jordan’s thoughts on Johnson’s playoff performances), you should have written about how great this city has been to Iso Joe and how grateful he is to acquire a gigantic raise from a cash-strapped franchise.
Basketball always has been, and always will be, the fourth game in town here, at best — behind college football, baseball, and pro football. It’s not Johnson’s fault — not even the far greater Dominique Wilkins was able to shift that balance. Regardless, Tellem’s client has made over $50 million in Atlanta, and now stands to make a whole lot more. Let’s stop acting like Hawks fans should be thanking Johnson for his gracious acceptance of a max-length, max-money offer despite not being one of the league’s 20 best players while at or very near the peak of his career.
You’re right about one thing — Johnson’s contract has certainly brought national attention to Atlanta basketball. I’d love to see Johnson become a draw for another big-name free agent, a balanced team player, and an over-competitive monster. I’d love to have to eat my words. I, and most other Hawks fans, just don’t foresee that switch getting flipped.