I often write about the wonderful things Greenville has to offer children, families, cyclists, sports fans, locavores, internationals, history buffs etc. But there is something Greenville does not have – an NBA team. The closest teams are the Atlanta Hawks and the Charlotte Bobcats, but basketball doesn’t seem to have the following here down South that football and baseball do. However, this lack of a basketball team wasn’t a factor in the decision for our most recent guests to come visit, instead it was the proximity to Charlotte and a game against Da Bulls.
I grew up in Chicago playing basketball during the era of Michael Jordan and the Bulls’ three-peats. One of my most treasured basketball memories was attending a playoff game against the Jazz with Džako, the history teacher from Latvian Saturday school that somehow had secured press passes for about 6 of us. Nevermind that the standing-only tickets were in the nosebleeds, we had the chance to go down to the court before the game and watch them shoot around. Nevermind that the van got towed during the game, we got to watch all the players leave the stadium feet from us in their fancy sports cars. Nevermind that they won the game – it was history in the making!*
But I digress. The story is that part of the reason my cousins made the detour through Greenville on their way back to Chicago during their spring break was because they had been gifted tickets to the Bulls vs. Bobcats game for their respective birthdays. Roberts got lucky with an invite to join them and their dad, and so it was on a Wednesday afternoon that my aunt, cousin Annelī, Lauris, Mikus and I found ourselves on a girls afternoon out (well, as much of a girls outing as it can be with two boys along for the ride). That morning we had completed a tour of the West End, and after the boys took off for Charlotte we headed in a different direction, to the Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery. Which means that while Andis and Edgars were hanging out with the Bobcats mascot and cheerleaders, we were snacking on chocolate chip scones, drinking lattes and stocking up on local honey and other groceries.
While they watched a Bulls win slip away in overtime, we were exploring the Greenville Zoo, Lauris and Mikus showing Annelī all of their favorite animals.
I think it was a win/win situation, as my boys would never have survived the drive/game/crowds, and instead everyone had an excellent time. Of course if Chicago had managed to keep their lead… although watching a game go into overtime must have been exciting. Plus there is the link to the Bulls of decades ago when I got to go to that playoff game – Michael Jordan. With six NBA Championship titles from his time with the Bulls, Jordan bought the Charlotte Bobcats in March of 2010. Would you have guessed he would be at the game?
*My memory isn’t what it used to be, but according to another of the lucky kids that was at that game, it was game 2 of the 1997 playoffs against the Utah Jazz. “…Jordan missed a triple double by one assist because Pippen missed an easy layup in the last minute of the game. I believe it was 1997 because I was in drivers ed and so was turning 16 that October. How about that for a memory?” That’s impressive Art, thanks for the review! I remembered that they won, but wow – you’ve got a steel trap. And congrats to you and Kendra on the birth of your third son; one girl away from your own 4-2 team!