Kevin Arnovitz has a great piece from a once local perspective on the Hawks attendance issues. This is far and away my favorite conversation to have outside of things that actually happen on the basketball court.
Talked about believing in the product.
Lamented the coaches sell job.
Looked into Al Horford and the Hispanic community.
Asked if the Atlanta Spirit are good owners.
I have largely avoided Alverez's approach of talking about Atlanta as a transplant city because I 1) don't want to admit defeat 2) don't want to wait for the Hawks to get a LeBron like player 3) can't ignore how well the NBA does with television ratings in Atlanta.
Still, he treats the subject with such skill it must be mentioned. My favorite paragraph.
If you've ever spent time in an older city outside the Sun Belt, you know how central sports teams are to the natives. Bostonians, New Yorkers and Chicagoans have passed down their loyalties from generation to generation. My late grandfather was born at Georgia Baptist hospital in 1916. He was a native Atlantan through and through. He loved his city and its institutions -- but none of those institutions were sports teams. By the time the Hawks arrived in Atlanta, my grandfather was in his early-50s. Few rabid sport fans cultivate visceral attachments to expansion teams as 50-something empty nesters. The serious middle-aged fans I know grew up listening to Red Barber, Jack Brickhouse and Marty Glickman. Those voices were the tour guides to young fandom. My grandfather didn't have that, and it wasn't something he could pass on to me.
What say you? Is the Hawks attendance issue a problem to be solved? A test in patience? Or a fact of life?