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Atlanta Spirit show true colors

Posted By John Morgo On Jan 26 2011 @ 9:55 pm In Atlanta Hawks | No Comments

As I write this, the Hawks hold a 56-54 lead over the Bucks halfway through the third quarter. The good news is Al and Marvin Williams are back in the lineup after their respective injuries. Al has 8 points and Marvin has only three, while Milwaukee’s Corey Maggette leads all scorers with 21. Josh Smith has 12. The big rumor is the Hawks have asked Denver about Carmelo Anthony. It won’t happen. First off, it’s not to NYC, (why be a short-termer here when he can be one in Denver and then come down), and second the owners, the Atlanta Spirit, will not shell out extra money for him and take a bigger hit on the luxury tax.

Speaking of the Spirit, they made the news last week. They own the Hawks, Thrashers, and Philips Arena. There are a lot of owners, and Steve Belkin fought with the others about getting Joe Johnson (who wanted him, I don’t remember – not important). Anyway, things got so bad that Belkin wanted me to bought out. They couldn’t agree on a price and the whole thing lasted FIVE YEARS. Last week, the Spirit sued the firm that was in charge of mediating the price of Belkin’s shares. That firm, King & Spalding, is one of the most respected in the Atlanta area. (The footbal field at my high school alma mater, Marist, is named for that Spalding). The lawsuit is written in the most unintelligible of American dialects, legalese, but I’ll try to pare it down. The Spirit is charging malpractice, saying the mediators caused the stalemate, which dragged on the legislation, which caused the franchise values to plummet, which (emphasis added) prevented them from SELLING THE THRASHERS. The emphasis is added because the Spirit have said many times that they were committed to hockey, and it will stay in Atlanta. Guess what, THEY LIED. What they meant to say is that anyone with $200 million lying around the couch can buy this team, and move it to Portland, Winnipeg, Moose Jaw, Timbuktu, we don’t care, just get this turkey off our hands as we really are in it for the basketball and the chance to meet Jay-Z.

The Spirit are heartbreakers to every Atlanta hockey fan. They are some. They are mostly northern ex-pats, but some remember the Flames from the late-70′s. I think the Thrashers have stayed here longer. But the trust between the owners and the fans has been broken, and it has been for some time, like the administation of James Garfield. Say what you will about George Steinbrenner, but he wanted to win as much as the fans, and sometimes more. If the owners don’t care about the team, why should I? That’s the question on the mind of every hockey fan in this city. It’s like Minor League, only on skates. I think this was the plot of Slap Shot. Are the Hanson Brothers stll around? I remember the AJC published a story about a couple that got married the very first game. The groom rode the Zamboni in his tuxedo. What does he have to say about being abandoned? Will the Thrashers leave eventually, despite what Gary Bettman wants? Since the illusion is gone, I’ve tended to follow the old saw about always being prepared for the worst, as that way you’re never disappointed. I just hope they get an ownership group that actually cares. There is a good reason why the Thrashers keep feeling like they’re the red-headed stepchild of Atlanta sports.

Okay, that’s it for the vent. The Hawks (you know, the favorite son), have extended their lead over Milwaukee to over 11 at the end of the third. They play the Knicks at home on Friday before heading to Dallas on Saturday. A back-to-back with two tough teams.

TV notes: On Saturday, SyFy (new motto: Very Shlocky) is showing Mega-Python vs. Gatoroid, starring Deborah (nee Debbie) Gibson and Tiffany and a couple of CGI creatures ripping up a swamp. It needs Robin Sparkles from How I met Your Mother and should be set in a mall for it to be perfect.

Also, on Sunday, CBS is airing The Lost Valentine. It’s a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. I’m only mentioning it as it was filmed in the Atlanta area, and features a cameo by yours truly. Okay, fine, I walk across the camera as an extra, but I’m still in it. I share screen time with Jennifer Love Hewitt (about a half-second), so that’s got to make a lot of men out there jealous. (Didn’t talk to her – Better to let someone think you’re stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. – Besides didn’t want to mess with her bodyguard. It’s probably not enough to merit an IMDB page, but it was still cool. Not sure when my scene is, but it’s when they are at the TV network where Jennifer’s character works (really the Georgia Public Broadcasting building).That’s it for the braging. Hawks now up by 6. I’ll check in sometime down the road this weekend.

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