THE NBA -- WANNA GO?

The large crowd at last week's exhibition game stuffs the ball in the face of naysayers who claim St. Louis can't support a pro-basketball team

No doubt the miscreant who called the South Side Journal a couple of weeks ago wasn't among the announced crowd of 17,930 on Friday watching this year's NBA exhibition game at Kiel Center. "Town Talk" is the Journal's crude barometer of local opinion in which the frightfully verbatim transcripts of readers' voice-mail deposits are printed. Under the headline "The St. Louis Grizzlies?" was this: "There's no way St. Louis can support a basketball team ... basketball is for the black people and the poor population. There is no way they can pay $75 a ticket, so I see no reason why a basketball team should be here." Well, the crowd who showed up for the 76ers-Nets game, and the return of Larry Hughes, was comparable to the makeup of the players in the NBA: about 80 percent African-American. Does Friday's crowd guarantee that all these folks will pay to watch Bryant Reeves instead of Hughes? No. Did some of them get freebies or reduced-price tickets? As if everyone pays full fare from their own pocket for a Blues game. All it means is, quit whining about black folks' not supporting professional sports -- it depends on the sport and the product on the floor.

 
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