I will be the first to say, I thought the Indiana Pacers were going to sweep the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. Man, was I wrong.
What’s funny is that a colleague of mine, a fellow Lakers’ fan, and local Atlanta bartender, told me that he wanted the Hawks to win the series, if not, be very competitive. My entrepreneurial mind didn’t immediately kick in, so I asked him why, as I had no interest in the playoffs because the Lakers had positioned themselves to be a lottery team.
His reasoning was that if the Hawks could win the series, or at least be competitive in the series, that would mean more money for local Atlanta bars and restaurants. Therefore, more money in our pockets. Fucking genius.
It seemed as if aeons ago when the last Atlanta bandwagon died, as Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers ousted the Atlanta Falcons from the 2012 NFC Championship game in January of last year. And when I tell you everyone with TV’s in the city were making money, that’s an understatement.
Lets face it, Atlanta is not a city of overwhelming die hard fans that ride or die for their sports franchises like, for instance, New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, The Bay Area or Los Angeles. I guess that’s why they call this place Hotlanta, because if its not hot, they ain’t supporting it.
Just ask the 2013 Falcons team that went a dismal 4-12, killing sure fire Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez’s return to the team in search of that elusive championship ring. Or ask UGA, whose early season woes took them out of the national championship hunt before the midway point of the season. And the impact could be felt among Atlanta’s bar scene on Saturdays and Sundays throughout football season.
I know for a fact, at least at the bars I worked at, numbers were down between 2012, when both the Falcons and UGA were competitive, and 2013, when neither were. Which brings us to the 2014 NBA Playoffs and the Hawks.
With a 2-1 series lead over the Pacers, game four at Philips and a 80 degree forecast, Saturday’s game should bring out a nice crowd to local bars and restaurants. Even considering the worst case scenario, the Pacers sweep the next three games, that’s three games residents of Atlanta have to ride the Hawks bandwagon, and support their local bars and restaurants while doing so.