The underdog card is a glorious thing. It happened naturally with the Boston/Atlanta series. That "me against the world" attitude. It galvanizes fans more than anything. And that really is something. That really does transform an atmosphere, a game, even a season. Stan Van Gundy would play this card every hour on the hour if he could, but it does not work quite as well coming top down (even though some power rankings and league previews on the Magic are shockingly non-complementary). No, underdog needs to be an upwelling of emotion, from the bottom against the top.
The Hawks are the underdog again. Go read around the old internets. The upwelling will begin. It is less people claiming bold failures and more their refusing the benefit of the doubt. When you watch person after person talk about the Wizards "what ifs" in the best possible light, you start to wonder why that lamp never shines on our team. No one expects Atlanta to challenge the "big three" and no one will go out and predict them for the fourth seed. Not that those words, written or spoken, matter. They do not add wins or force losses.
But you want your team to be applauded. You want others to believe in them too. You want to feel affirmed in your fandom. It is weird but true and the Hawks just don't get any of that. And that means it is just you, me, and our team. And there is some solidarity in that. A whole nothing to lose, lets go full bore this season.
I read articles like the latest GM survey that barley mentions the Hawks in any category and I know there is a lot of truth behind these surveys and other team rankings, but damn, if you want to say, screw 'em. I look forward to your apology in June. Personally, I want the nationwide support. I want people to believe, but going into another season with my team where the only people who actually believe in beating the expectations are the people next to you in the stands and the guys in the home jersey is a little exciting. At least my blood is pumping.