Happy Today

Published: June 16, 2012

It’s a special morning, because we are not special.

Shortly after the sun hauls itself out of the Pearl River, some of the last patrons of bars and restaurants emerge from their reverie. As it rises, Cake, a place to eat, not a thing to eat, is feeding people as Okra drives around town . . . “I got to-maaa-toes.”

New Orleans is not normal.

And something else odd just happened: we celebrated something unique becoming something generic. The land of a thousand bread puddings is smiling to have another “just another franchise.”

With Tom Benson’s purchase of the Hornets, the franchise went from being so many things that were anomalous to just one thing that is pretty common. Sure, each franchise has its own strengths and weakness. There is some distinctiveness and individuation for each team, but overall, they share far more than they do not.

After years of re-relocation talk after the relocation that preceded the re-relocation that came before the re-re-relocation, then the constant re-re-re-relocation talk . . . ceaseless talk of attendance, support, brand, ownership, sponsorship . . . still haven’t said basketball . . . superstars, collective bargaining, television, R.C., visiting fans, HD, League Pass, concessions, patches, “two weeks,” ticket sales, politics, bills, bonds . . . still no basketball . . . arenas, sports districts, passion, relocation, contraction, stewardship, vetoes, finances, toasts, contracts, and smiles, we can finally just talk about basketball.

We can talk about the draft and not wonder if we’re allowed to make a trade at all. We can just ask ourselves if our GM is as smart as we are, and if he’ll do exactly as each of us wants. We can be sure we can sign any free agent, then take the GM or owner or coach to task if we don’t get our guy. We can talk about our team’s play three years from now and not add an enclitic, said or unsaid, to the effect of “if the team is still here” or “if the franchise still exists.” We can achieve and not be accused of being fed with silver spoons (or Stern hands, as the case may be). We can be recognized for both good and bad performance as a team, not as a business.

We have a normal team. Perhaps for the first time since the franchise has been in New Orleans, we have a normal team.

And that is wonderful.

They are special because they are “our” team, certainly, but they are also normal, which is a thing that will take some getting used to.

Enjoy this. Enjoy this denouement of being special. It won’t happen again.


Tomorrow, we emerge from our reverie.

“I got broc-cooooo-li . . .”


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