Braves & Birds surmises the miserable standing of the Atlanta Hawks, wondering whether all Hawks fans are equally discouraged about the team*. B&B also brings up a piece by SB Nation's Christopher Clark, in which it's argued that the Lakers' many fairweather fans are good for the Staples Center's on-court product, because they force the franchise to field a competitive and entertaining team.
To reward a bad team by showing up: is it loyalty, or it is being a sucker? It's a distinction that the good people of L.A. have mastered, Clark argues. So maybe Hawks fans should just boycott the team until it acts as if it ever wants to win more than one playoff series per year.
The problem in Atlanta, of course, is that it's impossible for Hawks fans to demonstrate disapproval by purposefully not going to Philips Arena. I've long argued that Atlanta's best claim to being a great pro sports town -- because we really don't even need to convince you of our excellence as a college sports town, do we? -- is that we have fans of every team here. You could argue that makes us a bad Hawks town, but it doesn't make us a bad NBA town. See what I'm saying? But when it's time for an Atlanta fanbase to put its foot down, having so many out-of-towners really takes its toll.
Especially when the Bulls, Celtics, or superteam du jour (Heat) are in town. An arena that isn't empty, even if it's full of opposing fans, looks the same to ownership, and an arena in a transient town can never be empty enough to count as a sign of dissent.
It's like if you organized a strike and a bunch of scabs immediately filled in. It's like if you threw a flash mob and everybody went to the wrong place. Do you really think the [City Name] Spirit Group cares whether the paying crowd is chanting for Derrick Rose or Josh Smith?
So how can Hawks fans encourage the team's management to make changes? Stand outside the gym and convince Knicks fans to go next door to Taco Mac instead? Show up for Magic-Hawks just to root for the Bucks, thereby confusing everybody? Just keep bloggin'? Any ideas?
* SPOILER ALERT: Yes.
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