Bobcats need love, too

Published 1:54 pm Thursday, December 4, 2008

By Staff
Commentary By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
CHARLOTTE — The game had been circled on my calendar ever since the Charlotte Bobcats released their schedule. The Oklahoma City Thunder, previously known as the Seattle SuperSonics, were headed to Time Warner Cable Arena.
I was finally going to get a chance to see Damien Wilkins play in an NBA game. Sure, I saw Wilkins scorch the nets at Washington High School when nobody was guarding him. And he hit bucket after bucket inside the friendly confines of the Boys &Girls Club.
While Wilkins didn’t exactly light it up Wednesday evening, the fifth-year veteran stroked a couple 3-pointers and hammered home a dunk for the Thunder in a 103-97 loss.
It was neat to see Wilkins, who was as gracious as ever after the game, in action.
And it was great to see my second Bobcats game, the first being a 92-88 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2006. (That makes the Bobcats 2-0 when KT is in the building.)
If you get a chance, I highly recommend attending a game. The trip is about 275 miles from Washington to Time Warner Cable Arena. Tickets range anywhere from $10 to $300.
It’s a neat atmosphere that’s enjoyable for young and old.
Dancers get their groove on, the Bobcat mascot is on the prowl all game long and the music blares throughout much of the game. Fans can “show off” during various camera shots, and T-shirts are randomly blasted through the stadium air.
You may even see a “star” at a game. I saw actress Liv Tyler when I attended the game in 2006.
Sports writer Brian Haines, who covered the game, and I are pretty sure we saw another “star” sitting in the front row. We just couldn’t tell who it was, but from the way he was waving to fans, shaking hands, hugging anybody and everybody in sight, and with his funky hair, he had to have been a “somebody.”
But the real stars were the NBA players on the court. I know quite a bit about several of the Bobcats’ players, from Gerald Wallace, who is one of the more under-rated players in the NBA, to Jason Richardson, who reached a milestone Wednesday evening when he went over the 10,000-point mark in his career.
UNC fans know all about Sean May and Raymond Felton, while Emeka Okafor is one of the more well-known faces in Charlotte.
That’s part of the problem with the Bobcats these days. The faces are pretty much just known in Charlotte and the surrounding area.
Unlike the Carolina Panthers, the Bobcats aren’t on local TV. People don’t see their faces like they do with Jake Delhomme and his Bojangles commercials, Steve Smith and Julius Peppers.
Given the chance and some more exposure, the Bobcats could be a really big sports franchise.
I’d like to see it. The Bobcats need love, too.
Kevin Travis is the sports editor of the Washington Daily News. You may reach him at 940-4217, or by e-mail at