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How Danny Granger has inspired me to be a better Hawks fan

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This post has nothing to do with Danny Granger. I like Granger, would love to have him on the Hawks, think he will be an all-star sooner rather than later. This is a Hawks post. It just happens to come out of a Danny Granger article.

Speaking about how the offensive system and the Pacer record cast a cloud of suspicion on Granger's stats, Chris Broussard begins to chip away at why, if he is not already, Granger will soon be an elite player. And he starts with this:

It's not like there are many other guys on Indy who can do damage. Granger has been double-teamed, denied the ball and keyed on in ways that other prominent wings, like Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson and Carmelo Anthony, never are. "He's scoring volumes of points with the best defenses in the league focused on him,'' coach Jim O'Brien says.

Don't get me wrong. I am ecstatic Joe is in this company. Later in the article Broussard compares his stats along side Kobe's. Our own Mr. Johnson is thrown into an elite group, deserved or not, all for the sake of a random Danny Granger argument.

The problem I have is not the name drop but simply that this main point is so obviously wrong. It bothers me to the point where I need to articulate it here. Even if my rebuttal will be seen by 1/10,000th fewer people. (and in said rebuttal, I realized there may be an even larger issue involved.)

Of course, Joe Johnson's style of play, his methodical, slow paced weaving to the basket and the fact that Mike Woodson runs an offense of isolation and one on one play pushes opposing teams to focus on Joe, but the point remains, defenses scheme most for Joe Johnson. Anyone that has watched a Hawks game knows the kind of attention Joe receives. It is an inordinate amount. The article is wrong.

ESPN does a good job. It's nice to have an article of this scope on a smaller star like Danny Granger, but something is lacking in the nature of a network that desires to cover every team in the detail of things like player profiles of Granger. They admirably try to reach a multitude of teams and stories, but unless you are Kobe or LeBron or CP3, you are going to be misconstrued or marginalized or misrepresented. They just cannot/do not watch every game, and at some point, thoughtful analysis will be generalized the further it strays from the stars that make ESPN money.

From the game yesterday, it is clear that many of those Laker fans were simply Kobe fans. Some probably have never stepped foot in California. Don't know that who Radmanovic is let alone that he was traded recently. Yet, ESPN has shown Kobe; his story have infiltrated our lives at the highest of levels. Of course this has to do with being a top three player in the league. It has to do with having a highlight game. And it has to do most of all with money. ESPN has bought into all of these factors and rightfully so.

But because the network has such influence, an eleven year old who has lived in Atlanta his or her whole life could more easily be a Kobe fan than a supporter of any Hawk player.

This brings in a very long way around to saying that the Atlanta is an NBA town right now. Good basketball always sells tickets. But for it to become a Hawks town, the transformation will be grass roots led. The Hawks do not have the star or the fan base to impose their will on ESPN. They are not a boring team, but they have not earned airtime by drafting a superstar or winning games. A seven game series with Boston earned us one national game against that same (highly profitable) team the next season.

Until the Hawks win, they are going to be generalized in ESPN articles. Picked to lose to the Miamis of the world in the playoffs. They are going to stereotyped and on occasionally mocked. ESPN is going to cover the Hawks, but the way they do it is not going to convert the people of this city. No, the Hawks full resuscitation will arise both out of winning and fans like the ones on this and other Hawks blogs spreading the word. It is going to be inviting friends to games and talking about the team at bars and being willing to be called crazy as you gush about your love for Zaza Pachulia.

ESPN is not going to make the Hawks cool. National media attention is going to be isolated to Josh Smith dunks and incorrect player comparisons. Which is fine by me. ESPN didn't make Sacramento cool to start the decade. Or Golden State in the middle. Or Portland now. Those fans fell in love with a team and ESPN found them. We are part of the Hawks march toward prominence. John Hollinger, Bill Simmons, and Tony Kornheiser are not.

We are the campaigners. We are the evangelizers. Let the conversion begin.

Go Hawks!