Benjamin Alterman Fandom Fanpost

Published: June 29, 2018

Benjamin Alterman is long-time follower of the site and wrote this piece about Fandom. We hope you enjoy it. His twitter is protected, but maybe if you read this, you’ll get permission to follow @ben_alterman. — 42

I want Lebron James to play for the Pelicans. I also want Paul George to play for the Pelicans. Hell, I want any player that will make the Pelicans better to play for the Pelicans. I want fans to be able to put out crazy trade proposals and free agency wish lists. I want these things because I think sports are supposed to be fun. Talking about my favorite basketball team should be fun. Spending hours on Spotrac looking at contracts to see how a trade could work should be fun. I don’t need people on Twitter to then tell me that those trades will not happen because they are impossible or even unlikely and be extremely condescending in the process. Let people have fun.

I am aware that it is exceedingly unlikely that either Lebron or Paul George or both will choose to go to the Pelicans this summer. And I believe that most people that have tweeted about Lebron or insert star player here understand that he probably will not be taking his talents to Bourbon Street. What I don’t need is several notable bloggers on Twitter being rude and demeaning to fans that tweet about their desire for those players. Anthony Davis sure wants Lebron on his team based on his Instagram likes and follows. Dell Demps and Alvin Gentry and Gayle Benson sure as hell want Lebron to come to the Big Easy to create a super team and will try their best to make it a reality. They will likely fail and Lebron will probably go to LA or Philly or Houston or insert big market city here. That doesn’t mean that the attempt or the fan desire wasn’t worthwhile.

The Pelicans/Hornets have never signed a major star free agent in their history (ok maybe Peja counts but whatever). They have never even really been invited to the table to interview a star. While Lebron probably will not be taking his talents to the Crescent City, simply getting Dell and AD in a room with him as a finalist could be hugely important to the future of the franchise. Lebron’s influence in the NBA is that great. When the NBA was deciding how to handle the protests against police brutality and racial injustice during national anthem, they waited for Lebron to make a decision. Being one of the 5-10 teams that Lebron meets with would show that the Pelicans as a franchise are viewed as a destination by players around the league. That would allow the Pelicans to potentially acquire better free agents in the future or good veterans for the minimum such as David West, who went to the Spurs and then the Warriors chasing rings. Lebron James should be the goal. He is maybe the best basketball player ever and would make any team that he chooses to go to, outside of maybe the Nets, Magic or Kings (I’m not doubting him so who knows), an instant championship contender.

The front office making an attempt to get Lebron and the fan base clamoring for Lebron is a sign that the Pels are no longer the sorry franchise that lost Chris Paul due, in part, to actually not having an owner at the time and when they did have an owner, he was extremely cheap. This front office has said that they will pay the tax in order to contend for a championship. Acquiring a second superstar to pair with AD is the move that accomplishes that. This summer could transform the Pelicans into a truly elite team, but perhaps more importantly this summer could also prove that the Pelicans are a franchise that NBA players desire to play for and one that will have sustained success going into the future.

I want this fanbase to have the confidence displayed by fans of teams such as the Warriors, Celtics, and Lakers. Those fans believe that their favorite team will attract top end talent to help contend for championships. I am tired of seeing Boston fans putting out crazy AD trade proposals and even more exhausted of the national media members that talked about AD trades to the Lakers, Celtics, or even the Warriors, for example, around Monday June 11 (The Athletic, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, wherever Chris Mannix is currently employed). This fan base and the media that covers it (tv, radio, podcasts, and yes, the blogs) need to treat this team as a contender for stars. For that to happen, the condescension from several notable members of the community needs to end. We understand that Lebron James is probably not coming here. Don’t be rude. Allow fans to be fans, as irrational or as crazy as they might seem. Enjoy the excitement surrounding the team. I sure will.

42 Sense: Ben has a good point here. Discussion about trades, etc. from fans or even media members focused on these matters should not be responded to the same way as cap experts making the same claim. When I was having lunch at High Hat with my good friend Oleh Kosel, maybe you’ve heard of him, I said it’s like a professor treating an error in student homework like one in an academic paper. The correction, education, and encouragement goes to the enthusiastic student, and the person setting themselves up as a current expert gets treated with some professional courtesy but without the kid gloves probably. Experts need to let the amateurs or prospective experts have their kind of talk, and the experts need to be left along when they are having their boring, discouraging, nerdfest. No permanent barriers, but you have to be careful which mode of discourse you are in, especially if you are both a true fan and an expert. That said, let’s have some fun. We earned it.

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