Friday, June 29, 2007

Fun at the Bobcats draft party

If you didn't stop by Bobcats Arena in uptown Charlotte last night, you missed a fun draft party.

As I walked past ImaginOn on my way to the party Thursday evening, I saw a huge line of people snaking around one side of the arena. It was the line just to walk into the plaza - and to claim one of the T-shirts offered to the first 2,500 fans to arrive.

Once inside the free event, everyone walked around sampling live music, food (hot dogs were the main choice), putt-putt games, wall climbing and a chance to preview Charlotte's light-rail train, which will have a prime hub in front of the arena (if the upcoming transit referendum doesn't kill it). Giveaways were plentiful - "I got so much free stuff I had to make a trip to my car to drop some of it off," one friend told me.

I'm no sportswriter - I was there because many of the Bobcats management, staff and fans are newcomers. But it was a thrill to hang out with the sports journalists and watch the suspense as the draft proceeded and the trade of Brandan Wright for Jason Richardson unfolded. When Michael Jordan came out to talk with reporters, his eyes were reddened from the fatigue of tense negotiations but his manner was easygoing.

The event wasn't just for hardcore season ticket holders - I saw plenty of casual fans, and the all-ages crowd was well-behaved. Even if you're one of those who resents how the arena was built - following a referendum in which voters turned it down - it's there now, so you might as well enjoy it.

As a Charlotte native who remembers when that area was a wasteland where you'd want to clutch your pepper spray tightly if you found yourself walking in it, it was nice to see so much life and fun going on there, and to see so many diverse people united to root for the same team.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a fellow Charlotte native who voted against the arena, you're right, since it's here anyway I have gone and enjoyed it myself. The Bobcats games are fun to attend (I even scored some free club seats once!), but it will never, ever equal the excitement that was the first season of the Charlotte Hornets. Man, I miss going to see Muggsy play!

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hornets are gone. Quit living in the past. Realize how lucky Charlotte is to be one of 30 US cities that have an NBA team. The arena is the newest and best in the NBA. The draft party and game night are always great fun.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last post was right on. Charlotte is lucky to have the NBA.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God what a rude person you are. Charlotte would be even luckier if you left the area. The arena is no longer new, and with the way Charlotte respects its history, will be torn down in another five years.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too appreciate the vibrancy Uptown Charlotte now has compared to years past. If you haven't been down there lately, go check it out. I'll have to agree that the current Bobcats experience doesn't compare to the days of Mugsy, or Larry and Zo. Hopefully the cats begin really gelling this year and we can finally heal the old wounds of the Hornets' darker moments.


2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The coliseum was torn down because it was an obsolete facility that lacked luxury boxes, not because of Charlotte's lack of respect for its history.

11:43 PM  

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